The Ministry of Presence
Sr. Shirlee Tremont, MPF
It was an ordinary day when Sr. Josephine and I set out to accomplish an ordinary task. A few blocks from the convent, we were walking down 13th Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. We were headed to the store to pick up bread and milk ... and, yes, a Diet Pepsi (my guilty pleasure).
As we walked along and shared conversation, an ordinary woman, a stranger, stopped us. "I have all negative energy around me," she said. "Will you please pray over me?"
An ordinary woman, she was, but really a stranger? No. She was a faithful child of God, a sister in Christ. Sr. Josephine and I prayed. We prayed over her. We prayed for her. We prayed to the almighty Father who had clearly sent us into her path in a time of great need.
This woman stopped us because she knew we were Religious Sisters. She knew because she saw two women dressed in simple habits. So, does the habit make a difference? It does indeed. It is the ministry of presence. Had we not been wearing our habits, we would have been two unapproachable strangers to this woman, and she likely would not have made us aware of her need.
Blessed Pope John Paul II said that when a faithful Catholic sees a religious habit, they see a glimpse of Christ. Christ is indeed present in us and in all the faithful. We wear that presence and that faith, quite literally, on our sleeves. It visibly positions us as servants of God and His children.
An ordinary experience on an ordinary day? Yes ... for a Religious Sister donning a habit, a visible sign of a life dedicated to doing God's work on earth. Lord, we are your servants. Thank you for choosing us. Your will be done.
Lord bless this woman for her faith in You.