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A front porch reflection

Recently, I sat on the front porch at Woodland Inn just listening to the rain drops, taking in the distinctive fragrance of Earth blessed by rain and watching the rhythmic ripples of water on the sidewalk. It was a pure joy!

Later, I began to think how in earlier days, so many people had front porches and that neighbors walking by would wave to each other or stop to talk with each other. Today, it seems more common to have a deck in the back of the house often reserved only for family and invited friends.

I recall meeting Ruth, a woman in Alabama when our Sister Rita Black (RIP) was ministering there. Ruth had a one-room house and a very small front porch. When she had the opportunity to move to a better, larger house, she resisted for some time. Why? Because when neighbors needed advice or support, they would come and sit on Ruth’s front porch. She had a very small house, but an extravagant heart. Ruth was recognized as a good listener and as a wisdom figure in her neighborhood.

Recently, I saw the inspirational documentary film, “Won’t you be my Neighbor,” about Fred Rogers, known on TV as “Mr. Rogers.” This man, now deceased, was dedicated to creating a more just, kind and gentle world for all people. With such creativity, he taught children to treat people different from themselves with respect.

In a world where there are so many divisions and so much intolerance, we need more people like Ruth and Mr. Rogers!

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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  1. Avatar Marsha Speth on August 8, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Thanks, Donna! Great images of what is important in life.

  2. Avatar Jodi S on September 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    This a great piece! There is nothing better than porch swing therapy!

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