A fleece blanket, crafted and wrapped with care for someone in need
Lori True composed and sings a wonderful song called “What Have We Done for the Poor Ones.” This past Saturday, FSPA sisters, Viterbo University students, staff and alumni took this question to heart as they spent the morning together making blankets, scarves, hats, cards, hygiene bags and affirmation jars to be given with care for those in need. For these volunteers, each project provided a personal pathway of understanding; a way to reach out to the forgotten and the vulnerable who Scripture reminds us to look out for. We are called to provide for the child removed from violent households, for the men and women who wander our streets with no place to call home, and the elderly who wait for a sign that they have not been forgotten. How would it feel to ceaselessly long for loving memories in a strange environment (instead of the horror of being pulled away from your family)? How would it feel to get frostbite because your coat can't fend off the bitter cold? How would it feel to endlessly sit, stranded in front of a window in a nursing home, praying for a sign that someone still cares you’re alive?
How do we see these neighbors as our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Sister Fran and students cut fabric for scarves
Hand-made hygiene bags filled by students for homeless teens
Sister Carrie Kirsch and a Viterbo student weave hats
Sisters Margaret Schmolke (left), students and Sister Margaret Wagner worked as a team to create a soft, warm blanket
The day called for all to weave together a sense of community support for those who are readily seen as suffering as well as for the hidden poor; to remember that the statistics we see on TV, newspapers and social media feeds are individuals — not nameless numbers from a census taken of a faceless population. Every digit is a flesh-and blood-person who has hopes and dreams for their futures too. When we put ourselves in the experience of others, compassion and care arise along with a desire to help. And we have a choice whether to see the suffering of humanity right in front of us ... or not. Will we live with eyes wide open or avert our glance, ignoring our brothers and sisters in need?
Discernment also comes with this choice. Will you turn your back or open your arms to your call in life?
What will you do?
*Do you know someone experiencing discernment of religious life? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.