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A nudge to see the people around me

Much about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious National Assembly in early August was memorable. Much has been written about it and its outcome; but much of what happened will never be deemed newsworthy.

I refer to so many tender moments shared between sisters attending the meetings and staff people working at the Millennium Hotel, site of the assembly. Let me mention my chance (or Providential) meetings with a gentleman named Richard.

Richard was an extremely efficient and friendly waiter. The first time we met, I was the guest at a luncheon hosted by Great Lakes Advisors, an investment manager the SPs employ.

The luncheon was lovely, and Richard enjoyed the sisters he served — just as we enjoyed his humor and attentiveness. Our table loved the dessert served and made much of it!

The evening of that same day, I attended our annual Women of Providence in Collaboration (WPC) dinner. WPC is a group of congregations in the U.S. and Canada who share the charism of Providence. We have gathered for more than 30 years in order to explore the spirituality of Providence for our times.

The dinner is always a gathering of friends. Richard was on duty again — again he served the table where I sat. Again he charmed us. He delivered two desserts to me that evening — since it was the same dessert we had at the luncheon and he knew I liked it. (I didn’t eat either — not to worry.)

The next night was the final banquet of the assembly. You guessed it — Richard served our table. His same friendly and fun self. Again, all at the table enjoyed him.

At the end of the dinner, as we were all leaving the ballroom, I managed to track down my personable and kind Richard to thank him for being such a wonderful waiter and more than that — a wonderful man.

He gave me a hug and said, “Sister, it’s been wonderful to have you sisters here. We’re all going to miss you. None of us are invisible to you — the way we are so much of the time we serve others.”

Oh my! It was a lovely compliment and a better reminder. How often those around us are invisible to me!

Thank you, Richard, for your many kindnesses and your gentle nudge to see the people around me.

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on August 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    This is a beautiful reminder that all around us are wonders of our Provident God. We need to remember that even though the waiters and waitresses are serving us, we can be of service to them and God by acknowledging that they are human beings walking this beautiful earth. Thank you, S. Denise, for sharing this wonderful experience and reminding us that we need to see the people around us.

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