How Many Doors Have You Opened?

July 29, 2016

By Sister Diane Guerin

Sister Diane Guerin recently celebrated her 50th year as a Sister of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The following is a reflection she shared at her celebration.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Sister Diane (front, right) protesting against violence.

Doors can be closed to isolate or exclude, or doors can be opened to invite and include.

In your lifetime, how many doors have been opened to you—bidding you to cross the threshold to find a new space, a better opportunity, a healing presence?

How many doors have you opened for another?

Doors of mercy are myriad.

Venturing forth one finds joy, compassion, laughter, presence, pain and suffering.

It may take courage to take the first step toward that door. Hesitation may cause you to stop and consider the cost of knocking lightly, and trepidation may mark your initial steps. But once inside mercy, like a mantle, covers you.

This is what Pope Francis in his Proclamation of the Jubilee Year of Mercy is calling and challenging us to do. Each of us can give mercy, because we have been the recipients of God’s abundant, unconditional and extravagant mercy in our own lives.

Sister Diane (left) on the day she was received into the Sisters of Mercy, pictured with her sponsor, Sister Patricia Joseph Corkery.

Sister Diane (left) on the day she was received into the Sisters of Mercy, pictured with her sponsor, Sister Patricia Joseph Corkery.

I am so grateful to each person who has touched my own life with mercy in so many ways. I have had 50 years of being privileged to live the charism of mercy supported by the love and friendship of so many.

The greatest gift we can give to each other and to our world is to open doors:

  • …to open doors of mercy for each other;
  • …to open doors of mercy for those who may be on the fringes of society and have no one to open doors for them;
  • …to open doors of mercy in our homes and places of employment, beckoning all we meet to cross that threshold.

When someone opens a door of mercy and invites you to enter, do so with graciousness and gratitude, because mercy is a gift not just freely given but also graciously received. This is our gift to one another and to our world. And I am so grateful to all those who have shared that gift with me.

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  1. Denise Dever Gilmore

    Thanks for this beautiful reflection and for your service! I have been reflecting on a writing that describes Mercy as your deepest way of seeing, a generosity that draws from your identity, your deepest dignity….
    Which is Love!
    Happy Jubilee and celebrate Mercy!

  2. Sister Rose Marie Tresp

    Diane, great article – and nice to see your photo as a novice since I did not know you then.
    I am celebrating my golden in 2017.

  3. Mary Alice Synkewecz

    Happy Jubilee Diane! Thank you for this meaningful reflection and for opening so many doors of mercy! Thank you for sharing your gifts with so many over the years.
    Blessings during this your Jubilee Year!

  4. Marianne Comfort

    What a beautiful reflection! You packed into just a few short paragraphs so much to ponder and pray with. You are a blessing to Mercy and the world.

  5. Elizabeth Hegedus

    Dear Sister Diane,
    Congratulations on your jubilee and what a beautiful gift to have it fall during this Jubilee Year of Mercy! I am an associate of the Sisters of Mercy and I wanted to share with you that I will be reading your reflection, attributing it to you, as part of our department’s staff meeting at Mercy Hospital in the Cincinnati Region. Thank you for this simple, yet lovely idea of the open door.

  6. Mary stanton

    Happy Jubilee Year, Diane. I so enjoyed your opening doors message.
    50 years and vitality abounds in you. Be well and much love!!