Do you ever really know?
We really have no idea what effect our actions have on people when we enact them … until years later when they write you and tell you what a profound experience they had because of the power of a saint.
Allow me to share this story with you of an actual letter I received this past month.
Dear Sister Jan,
You and I corresponded some years ago when I contacted you in response to a tragic incident that took place with a former Lost Boy of Sudan, Marko. You sent many resources, relics, and medals. All of which his family excitedly received in the hospital while keeping vigil. (I beg your pardon that I have not reached out sooner. Actually, I have a thank you letter that is intended for you that I have not mailed yet.) Saint Mother Theodore most certainly interceded for Marko.
There was so much joy among his family and the Southern Sudanese around those holy things you sent. They all wore them proudly and shouted alleluias and praise be to Jesus in the hospital waiting room. It was evident that Saint Mother Theodore accompanied us all on the long painful journey.
Sadly, Marko did not survive. But for many months I was able to visit him in the facility where he remained until his death almost 9 months after the stabbing.
Although he never awoke, I knew from the tears he shed on two occasions that he heard me tell him I was there, that I loved him, that Jesus loved him and that Saint Mother Theodore was interceding for him.
So she was with him and me as I cared for him, especially on the difficult days when I recognized that his bodily needs had been neglected at the facility.
As Providence would have it, I am thinking once again of Marko, of the journey I made with Saint Mother Theodore, and yourself. I will be sharing the story at a talk I am giving at the Catholic Psychotherapy Conference in Austin, Texas tomorrow. I will be sharing the story as a witness to the transformative effects of mercy.
You have been in my thoughts and prayers since I met you and was the beneficiary of your generosity.
May God Reward You.
I want you all to know that when I responded to Dr. Lisa, she said the conference in Texas went well and that it was “moving hearts and minds throughout”.
And so, to the holy people of the Sudan who raised Mother Theodore up in alleluias, may I say thank you for your deep faith, and thank you for the short but powerful life of Marko. May I say thank you to Dr. Lisa for her vigilance and deep faith, because you have the eyes to see the transformative effects of mercy, love, and justice.
This article by Sister Jan Craven was first published in the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin May eNewsletter. To subscribe click here.
A plug for St. Mother Guerin.
I have a chronic illness, everybody has something, many people have far greater problems than I. For the last few years I have meditated on the words of St. Mother-Guerin daily and she has shown me the way to deeper faith, to some peace with illness, even to seeing what it has given me. I am even warily and against my grain beginning to see the benefits of obedience to the will of God and offering things up.
Far from perfect here. Bad hours and good. But Mother Guerin has led me out a thicket that included my Mother’s death to the joy faith brings.