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Musings on International Day of Friendship

July 30 was International Day of Friendship. The United Nations website says about the day:

“The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendships between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division – such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses – among many others – that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples. To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms – the simplest of which is friendship. Through friendship – by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust – we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”

‘Expressions of friendship’

Expressions of friendship across cultures is often seen at the Olympics. But it was clearly evident a few nights ago. Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won a gold medal in the women’s breaststroke. Lilly King and Annie Lazor from the U.S. earned silver and bronze.

Following the wins, the three women, along with a fourth member of the South African team, hugged one another. They cried together and seemed genuinely pleased with and for each other. I know it’s the Olympics and emotions run high, but I’d like to believe it’s more than that.

I want to think that at the heart of most people is a desire to get along. The desire to come together, to share what we have in common rather than to focus on our differences.

Maybe, just maybe, after the Olympians return to their home countries, the experience will remain with them. Maybe it will even “rub off” on some others of us.

Please God, let it be so!

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Sister Paula Damiano

Sister Paula has been a Sister of Providence since 1967. She has ministered as a teacher, director of vocations, pastoral associate and as a General Councilor for the Sisters of Providence. She currently ministers as director of programs and retreats at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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2 Comments

  1. Barbara Bluntzer SP on August 4, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Well put, Paula. I am right with you on this….

  2. Judith Collins on August 4, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Very inspiring, and the accompanying image is wonderful. Thank you.

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