Saturday, December 16, 2006

Little Sisters of the Poor: the richest ladies in town!

I have just time near Heaven! I went with my 13 year old Gaby to volunteer at the nursing home run by Little Sisters of the Poor in Queens Village, NY. I felt the peace emanating from the site when we first pulled into the parking lot, and couldn't wait to get inside.
We were greeted at the door by a smiling Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit, in her crisp white habit and veil, and walked down ivory corridors were bedecked with the sight of twinkling Christmas trees, and stunning nativity scenes at every turn. Five hours later, I wondered where the time had gone, having spent such a peaceful day, serving the sisters, and their sweet elderly patients (one dear soul is just 102 years young!)
We had attended a quiet, yet full chapel for Mass with sunlight pouring on our backs, where we were exhorted by a holy priest to remember to keep Our Lord as the center of Christmas, and listened to Christmas carols while packing loaves of pumpkin bread the Sisters give to community benefactors, fed the elderly infirm, set cozy tables for a Christmas party, and ate a leisurely lunch enjoying the Sisters company. It's so gratifying to see religious who embrace their work among the poor so fully and with such genuine joy, you can tell they see Christ in their patients, and that the patients sense Christ in the Sisters. We felt as loved as the patients do, and can't wait to come back!
Contrasted to this spiritual beauty are the Christmas-shopping-frenzied faces of the box-store shoppers we encountered as we stopped on the way home. They had plenty of Christmas goodies piled in the carts, yet there were NO smiles. They need some time with the Sisters!
They are certainly the richest ladies in town!

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