Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care
One of our Felician Values is Justice and Peace. As we face all the difficulties in our world, holding these values close to our hearts is so important. Our Mission and Heritage Week emphasized Reverencing the Other: Fostering a Culture of Encounter. The image used on our posters shows Sisters offering aid to a soldier, representing the work of the Felicians during battles between Poland and Russia. These women offered care and support to men from both sides of the battle, knowing that all of humanity is precious to God. The image is a reminder to us that each life is important and each person is made in the image of God. It’s especially important as we learn about all the awful things happening in the Holy Land, a place sacred to people of various faith traditions.
How we respond to others each day, how we present ourselves to the world through our presence, our comments, and our usage of social media, makes a difference in our own contribution to justice and peace. Just offering a kind greeting to those we meet and those we work with each day can bring some brightness in the world. I sometimes worry that we forgot some of these things during the height of the pandemic. Schools talk about kids having to relearn social skills. Maybe we need to also!
Each September I work with Franciscan Friars in Santa Barbara, giving a preaching workshop to the novices. There is a woman who worked at the Mission in housekeeping. She and I have gotten to know each other over the years. We always would chat about updates in our lives. She was moving on to another role, returning to her home in Mexico, when we spoke last. She told me that she appreciated that I talked to her each time I visited and that others didn’t do that. I tell you this story not to sing my own praises, but to point out that little things that we do to recognize the importance of other people in our world can make such a difference. St. Francis greeted all the people he met with “pace e bene,” Italian for “peace and good.” What a wonderful world it would be if we all could truly wish peace and good for others.