September 24, 2011
By Sister Patti
Twenty-five years ago I celebrated Mercy Day as a candidate with the Sisters of Mercy. I was teaching at St. Joseph’s School and living in the convent with one other candidate and eight professed sisters. As I celebrate my years as a Sister of Mercy, I am reflecting on those sisters who have touched my life and have shown me the face of Mercy. I hope to continue to post about the different sisters – each unique – and what their particular manifestation of Mercy said to me.
Today I want to share about Sister Benigna and Sister Athanasius. Sister Benigna was the oldest sister in St. Joe’s when I lived there with her. She was very proper, always standing straight and tall. I really came to know her by taking her to visit a woman and her daughter who lived in town. The daughter had many physical difficulties and I could see how much of a difference a short visit meant to both mother and daughter.
Sister Benigna showed me the Mercy that cares deeply for others and brings people to prayer and prayerful presence to people. I could not speak about Sister Benigna without sharing the time when I was away for the weekend at a program and arrived home to find that she had cleaned my charge – the bathroom. I was so touched by that and the other little kindnesses and try to emulate them in my life today.
We called Sister Athanasius Athie. She volunteered as the school nurse and took care of the finances in the convent. She was the perfect school nurse who gave out love with every band-aid. She knew who were hurting and was always ready with a smile, kind word and heart filled with love. There was always joy in her actions. I will never forget my last encounter with her just weeks before she died. I was visiting and shared with her how much she had influenced my life and she said, “You know I love you.” Her manifestation of Mercy was loving with a full heart.