By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB talks about passion in her excellent book, “Following the Path.”
She says the right kind of passion – real passion – “is what I care about enough to spend my life doing … so that someone else’s life can be better.”
(Sister Joan says the wrong kind of passion is an addiction that becomes so consuming of our very souls that it takes us away from others. We know it when we experience it.)
Real passion opens our souls. It captures our imagination and our creativity. It enlivens us. It keeps coming back, pushing us to be ourselves. Growing and stretching us. Urging us to become. It drives us to do more, not for ourselves, but in the service of others.
I was blessed to discover – right out of college – a ministry about which I am passionate. Teaching little ones grows me at least as much as it grows them. I have a hard time imaging doing anything else!
I love to discover new lessons and ways of reaching every student in my classroom. I love finding the perfect back-to-school theme and writing that first letter of the year. I also love how my students have brought me closer to God. I hope I have helped them discover their own relationship with God.
I found another passion a few years later, when I met the Benedictine Sisters. Why do I love them? Because they are seeking God. Like me.
To be clear, fewer women are doing so in religious community. Our numbers are in decline. But our passion – and the determination of the few – is as strong as ever.
So when someone asks me why I am a Sister, I share that while this might be a time of change, it is also exciting.
To be able – with my Sisters – to help imagine and create new religious life for future generations is amazing.
When the day comes that one of my students enters religious life, it will be even better and more life-giving than it is today.
Like Sister Joan, I am happy to spend my life doing “something so that someone else’s life can be better.”
How about you?