Column: ‘Women of courage’

Archbishop Naumann recognizes the Sisters, Servants as tremendous gifts to the archdiocese 


by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of celebrating Mass at the chapel of the Servants of Mary Ministers to the Sick (Sisters, Servants of Mary) on the occasion of the profession of perpetual vows by Sister Lucero Garcia. Today’s Leaven spot-lights this remarkable community whose provincial motherhouse for the United States and Mexico is located on 18th Street, next to Bishop Ward High School, in Kansas City, Kan.

Since coming to the Archdiocese four years ago, I have met many individuals who are profoundly grateful to the Sisters, Servants of Mary for the assistance provided to them at a very challenging and difficult moment in the life of their family. The Sisters, Servants of Mary are women of remarkable courage. They devote their lives to sharing the suffering of those with a family member who is seriously ill.

There is a natural fear of suffering and of those who are suffering. Most of us feel uncomfortable around someone who is seriously ill and approaching death. We feel awkward because we do not know what to say to a person in such a circumstance. We feel frightened because the condition of the sick person reminds us of our own vulnerability and the inevitability that some day we, too, must face death.

The Sisters, Servants of Mary overcome the natural instinct to avoid exposing our selves to the suffering of others. They enter in where others fear to tread. The presence of these remarkable women of faith and mercy helps to transform what are, humanly speaking, times of great sadness for a family into an experience of deepened faith,renewed hope and amazing grace.

In the Gospel, all of the apostles, except St. John, deserted Jesus at the time of his passion and death. It was only the women — Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Clopas (Jn 19:25), as well as other women who were disciples (Mk 15:40) — who remained with Jesus during his suffering, seeking by their presence to do everything they could to comfort and encourage him.

This is precisely what the Sisters, Servants of Mary do today. They refuse to allow the sick and their families to endure their suffering alone. These heroic women choose also to be near Jesus on the cross who is uniquely present in the person who is seriously ill. The Sisters, Servants of Mary allow the risen Lord to use them to bring his love, his peace, his hope and his joy to those who are sharing in the cross.

The Sisters, Servants of Mary are a tremendous blessing to the people of the Archdiocese. They deserve the support of our prayers, as well as our financial donations.

The church needs more Sisters, Servants of Mary who are willing to be heralds of the Gospel of Life and angels of God’s mercy to individuals and families at moments of trial and difficulty. I encourage young women in the Archdiocese, who desire the abundant life Jesus promised to those who are willing to follow him, even to Calvary, and who want to make a real difference in the lives of others, to explore the possibility of becoming a Sister Servant of Mary.

Jesus desires to have more heroic women who have the courage to be with him on Calvary and to allow him to use them to be instruments of his grace, changing our world one life and one family at a time.

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