The Universal Language of Kindness


By Sister Mary Jane Wallace, OSB

One of my favorites quotes is by George Elliston, an accomplished poet born in 1883, but little known today. She wrote, How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.

Long before Elliston wrote that, of course, Jesus encouraged us to be kind all through the Gospel messages.

Kindness is one of the virtues and one that parents teach to their children.

Early childhood books celebrate kindness. In the story of Bambi, Mother deer tells Bambi , “If you can’t say something nice about someone – don’t say anything.”

In a favorite song at Christmastime we listen to how Rudolph is bullied by others, but Santa practices kindness by coming to his rescue.

St. Benedict encourages kindness, too. He tells us to always prefer the other person to ourselves. To put others first, and to let our actions be humble out of respect for Christ in the other person. So many of his word can be translated into the virtue of kindness!

One day, I was overwhelmed with anxiety about a project and needed help. Out of the blue another Sister came along and offered to help me, without my asking her. I was so very appreciative of her kindness to me.

How did it make me feel? I experienced a sense of relief, joy, peace, gratitude, happiness and a feeling that God heard my prayer for help and sent her to answer my prayer with her act of kindness.

Mark Twain said, Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Kindness makes a difference in your life and others’.

We know that a warm smile is the universal language of kindness, and that kindness with no expectation is such a gift. We love those people who share that gift with us!

Every kind act ripples out, inspiring the receiver to give back.

Kindness makes you happy and raises your self-esteem, because you feel like you matter when someone notices or helps you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

When my time comes to meet God I will be so happy if I hear God say, Mary Jane, come into my Kingdom, for you are known as a kind person!


6 thoughts on “The Universal Language of Kindness

  1. Teresa Victoria Gerdes

    Thank you, Sister Mary Jane, for this delightful blog on kindness! I was so fortunate to have received your kindness, patience and constant encouragement as your student of piano. Our entire community was blessed to have you as our piano teacher and director of superb recitals. You made us all feel special, unique and loved. May God bless you for your hard work and dedication that you gave to the community of Nauvoo. I am absolutely positive that wherever you have taught, you have always radiated happiness, love, warmth and kindness with a capital K!

    Much love to you dearest Sister Mary Jane, and please extend my warmest regards to all the Sisters of St. Benedict!

    Teresa Gerdes
    Madrid, Spain


    • Sr. Mary Jane, I am 200% positive that you will be welcomed into the Kingdom when your time comes! You have always radiated kindness!
      I so enjoyed reading your blog! As an English teacher, I loved reading your quotes from famous authors. You chose good ones!
      Love and peace to you! Happy Valentine’s Day!

      Kathy Florek Boyan
      Munster, Indiana


    • Teresa, it has been many years since you were in 5th and 6th grade and I was teaching you piano at the Villa Marie in Nauvoo. I loved teaching you and Jan Michael.  We did have a few battles with doing it “my” way but I usually won out and you performed beautifully. Now, I know your daughters are musical and doing well also.  Where have the years gone?  I am happy to have you in my file of memories. 

      I know S. Marlene keeps in touch with your Mother. The Gerdes family will always be loved by the Sisters. Please stay in touch. My e mail is

      I am still teaching but am winding down and this April 30th is my last BIG recital.  I have 3 seniors and will graduate with them. One of my boys is playing the Rachmanioff in g minor that I played my Senior year and that touches my heart in a special way. God Bless each of you and so glad you found another Prince.  Stay happy! 

      Hugs forever and a day.


      Sister Mary Jane


  2. You are a kind soul. Many blessings to you. May the kindness that you show to others come back to you a hundredfold!


  3. Sister Mary Jane. I have a friend in Las Cruces who would like to talk with you. He is an old friend of yours.


    • Hi Susan, We are happy to connect an old friend of Sr. Mary Jane with her. Please send his name and contact information and we’ll go from there. Thanks!


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