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The hope of Easter is planted deep in our hearts

Just when it looked like spring and Easter were actually going to converge …

Just when the tulips and red bud trees had convinced me that spring and Easter were actually going to converge this year, the news came that the Notre Dame Cathedral was burning. It almost seemed impossible to enjoy spring while this icon was in distress. Truly, a kind of modern day way of the cross unfolded as Holy Week began.

Tulips outside of Corbe House on the motherhouse grounds at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods

The people of Paris came streaming to the site – to stand vigil – to sing, to pray. “That’s what you do when a friend is in trouble,” said one woman.

This structure has stood for more than 850 years not only as a symbol of faith, but also as a monument to the artistry, creativity and ingenuity of those who have gone before us. How could this be happening?

Bad things do happen. People we love die before we’re ready to let them go. People seeking asylum, hoping to flee the horrors of their own lives are turned away or separated from their families, detained. People at prayer in churches, synagogues and mosques are gunned down. “Oh God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Crucifixions still occur.

AND, so do resurrections.

“It will be rebuilt,” said the president of France before the embers of Notre Dame had even cooled. We will rise again. The hope of Easter is planted deep in the hearts of those who believe. The promise of new life, symbolized by those budding tulips and blooming red bud trees, is real. The Christ is out of the tomb and walks among us. He walks among us as us. He is best seen when we walk together.

Jesus is the light of the world.

The people of Paris are streaming to the site. The people of the world are supporting the Parisian people’s resolve to rebuild by sending aid.

People we love offer comfort, support and love to help get us through those death encounters in our own lives. Similarly, people are going to the border, to the detention centers around this country to be in solidarity with those who do feel abandoned. And people are rising up in response to hate crimes and enfolding those victimized by violence into their own advocacy movements and circles of prayer.

A plaintiff mantra has been accompanying me this Holy Week. Written by Barbara Bridge, the text comes from Chapter 5 of Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, entitled in some translations as “Assurance of Resurrection.”

“We walk by faith and not by sight.

Through joys and woes, through dark and light.

We journey not alone, forsaken.

You walk with us our God and friend.

In times of trouble walk with us

Loving God of mercy.

Take our fear and sorrow

Restore our souls.

Make us people of hope.”

May the convergence of spring and Easter restore your soul. May your faith that resurrection will happen give you hope. Easter Blessings to you and all you love.

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Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

Sister Dawn Tomaszewski was elected General Superior of the Sisters of Providence in 2016. She has been a Sister of Providence since 1975. Previously she ministered as a teacher, as communication and development director for the sisters and their ministries and as a member of elected leadership on the general council of the Sisters of Providence.

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