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This Easter: What is the state of your heart?

One of my Sisters of Providence received quite a startling wake-up call during this Lenten season.

As Lent began, this faithful daughter of Providence took to heart the words of Psalm 95 as a focus for her Lenten journey. “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” In essence, she asked herself the question, “What is the state of my heart?”

Several weeks later, she had a visit with a cardiologist, who after running some tests, reported to her that she had a hard heart.

Imagine her reaction!

The State of Our Own Hearts

In reality, the lining of her heart has become hard. It is a real condition. “After all, I am 91 years old,” she said.

But to have devoted herself to examining the state of her heart, to addressing her own hard heartedness and then to get this news. It almost takes your breath away.

As we celebrate the most sacred events in the life of Jesus the Christ, can we probe the state of our own hearts? Can Easter be a wake-up call to us to arise and come forth from the tomb, from whatever hardness of heart keeps us from being wholehearted in our love of God, each other and all of creation?

It would be easy for my sister with the heart condition to become disheartened, to retreat to her room, to become angry or disengaged. I do not think that will happen to someone who at 91 years old is still asking for the grace to hear and follow God’s voice.

I hope to follow her lead and the life of Jesus who, as Pope Francis has reminded us, has summoned us to the revolution of tenderness. (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 88).


In the final days of his earthly journey, this Jesus – turned over to the authorities by one of his own followers, denied by one of his best friends, publicly tortured and humiliated – is remembered as saying, “Father, forgive them …”

It takes an extravagant heart to forgive such trespasses.

It takes a compassionate heart not to let the violence of war, of school shootings, of differences of opinion make us numb or hardened.

Peace is Possible

The resurrected Jesus invites us to believe that there is an alternative to all of this. Death does not have the last word. Peace is possible. Cease Fire is doable. Love across our divides is always imaginable.

May the promise of Easter soften my heart, your heart, our hearts. Here’s to a revolution of tenderness.

Happy Easter from the Sisters of Providence!

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Sister Dawn Tomaszewski

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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  1. Avatar Deb Griffey on March 31, 2024 at 7:32 am

    How appropriate for these challenging times, to remember our hearts. Thank you for this, the revolution invitation to tenderness!

    • Avatar Dawn Tomaszewski on March 31, 2024 at 8:18 am

      Thanks Deb! Happy Easter.

      • Avatar PAULA Damiano on March 31, 2024 at 8:48 am

        Thank you for this….. it was a perfect message for my Easter morning prayer time.

  2. Avatar MaryBeth Rennels Strassel on March 31, 2024 at 9:29 pm

    Beautifully written! I’ve had a chaotic last few days of Holy Week and Easter just trying to juggle all the responsibilities of our household without the help of my husband who is debilitated from cancer treatments. I needed your thoughtful, optimistic, encouraging essay.

    Thank you for all ou do for the Sisters of Providence and for those of us know are fortunate to be connected with all of you

    I plan to visit in May and hope i can run into you.

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