“For me. . . spirituality and the work for justice are entirely inseparable. If either one is authentic, it leads to the other.”
I’m not Catholic, but I stand in awe of those who serve as Sister Pat Farrell has through her life. Her grace and courage have placed her at the head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Read about the crossroads this organization is approaching with the Vatican.
Are the 57,000 sisters in the United States insufficiently or incorrectly spiritual? Is their primary mission to run hospitals, work with the poor and keep their mouths shut? Actually, listening to the interviews that Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air has conducted with Sister Farrell and with Bishop Leonard Blair (the Vatican-appointed guy charged with bringing the sisters into line), the main complaint is that the sisters have been silent on issues relating to birth control, abortion and same sex marriage. Seems most of them have been doing their jobs and keeping their mouths shut, but if Sister Pat is any example, they’ve been praying hard and letting Love lead the way in each situation.
I’ve written a lot, though not lately, in this blog about “virgin qualities.” The genius of Guadalupe, the relevance of virgin qualities however they appear on the human scene, is that there is no preaching, doctrine or diatribe involved. It is the virgin presence that speaks for itself, and no words are able to express it. But, oh, how powerful it is. Sister Pat knows. That’s why she can stand at this crossroads and speak of her “deep knowing that pain and oppression do not have the last word.” Many of us will be standing with her in spirit.