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The Power of Presence

Almost six months ago I moved from Mount St Joseph to the new Woodland Apartments which are part of The Mount Community Centre development to meet the housing needs of the Peterborough community. I had been quite passionate about this project, and when some of the studio apartments, which were slow to be rented at the time, were publicly advertised, I took the opportunity to join a diverse group of tenants who were, for the most part, seeking affordable housing. This was my first experience of apartment living, and I was unsure of what to expect. As I continued to carry on my responsibilities as local leader at Mount St. Joseph, I chose not to become involved in the lives of those who shared this residence, but to wait until the summer when I would be free of my present duties.  I have become acquainted with many people who are courteous and friendly, some who are curious about my way of life, and a few who choose to keep their distance.

Sunday, June 4th, was my birthday, a fact earlier noted by a resident who had read our June calendar posted on the MSJ elevator. As I opened my apartment door that morning, a wonderful surprise awaited me. In front of me sat a gift bag and another parcel, the source of which I had no idea. A beautiful card that held the secret was signed by more than half of the residents, and the gifts were both thoughtful and appropriate. When I read the many good wishes penned by those who shared the residence, I was deeply touched.  Throughout the day as I encountered these good people, I heard many expressions of birthday greetings, and also of gratitude that I was among them. I would never have guessed that my simple presence there was of such a significance for them.

Upon further reflection on this experience, I realize the power that our presence holds in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As a birthday insight, I have been made concretely aware that my presence is important to a group of people for whom I have done nothing in ministry. As I move into discernment about my future, this awareness is most helpful as life slowly calls me from a “doing” to a “being” role.  I am also aware that the surprise I experienced is an acknowledgement of who I am as a CSJ, and once again I am grateful for the charism of inclusive love that has motivated our Sisters who have gone before me and given so much to so many.

Joan Driscoll, CSJ


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Reader Comments (1)

What a heartwarming blog, Joan
Thank you for sharing a real life experience that
highlights the importance of presence. --- our presence but your presence in this case.
Blessings on your new ministry of presence, no matter how busy it gets!!!

June 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJean Moylan

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