Wisdom Story#4: Listen to Your Elders


Sister Marilyn Ring enjoys spending time with her young pen pal.

Ask a Catholic Benedictine Sister for her wisdom, and she’s likely to tell you a story. Why?  Because wisdom comes through listening and being. This is the 4th story in our Wisdom Series.

Sister Marilyn Ring credits her elders with teaching her hospitality, compassion, a spirituality of life and love.

“The elders taught me that it wasn’t all about me. For example, the work wasn’t done until everyone was finished. If there were dishes to be washed, they were our responsibility. I learned to focus on the ‘we,’ not the ‘me.’”

Reminiscing about the loving guidance of specific Sisters, Sr. Marilyn says their lessons form the nexus of her wisdom today.

“Sister Modesta ran the laundry. Without obviously instructing me, she taught me the value of working together, of caring for the Sisters’ sheets and towels and clothes.

“Sister Claire Louise took such loving care of the little children at our school. She would put a raincoat on over her habit to give them a shower. Nothing was too much to ask of her. She loved and cared for those children as if they were her own.

“Sister Bernarda, our nurse, showed loving care and respect for us when we were in pain. Nothing was ever too inconvenient or difficult to take to her. She was both a physical and psychological healer.

“Sister Martha – so aptly named! Anyone who went to her was nourished and cared for, anytime of the day or night. Guests, Sisters, students: anyone could come into her kitchen for a cup of coffee.

“These women taught me generously and lovingly. I’m so grateful.”

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