January 14, 2021: The gifts I have found in 2020 – a letter from our Provincial President

We had so many resolutions at this time in 2020, remember? I had the goal of seeing things more clearly, being more present, and walking closely with Jesus through my daily life.

Quickly, the year was influenced by, permeated by COVID-19; election obsession; systematic racism; economic inequality and joblessness; attention drawn away from immigration issues, especially children separated from their parents; natural disasters with excessive weather patterns; federal executions, a basic disrespect for all of life, and so much more.

Life became abnormal with normal patterns turned upside down and losses starting to happen. I attempted to get my bearings.

A few days after Christmas, reflecting on the year and the future unknowns changed my outlook and I was inspired to look at what have been the gifts of this past year. (There are gifts in challenges.)

These gifts remind me that 2020 was not a loss. In the chaos, something positive was happening. As individuals, as groups, as a nation, we have hopefully been waking up to something new.

Both the Lenten and Advent readings helped me to focus on Jesus, the great gift of himself to humankind and the witness he gave to total love and forgiveness. Having longer time for prayer helped me to deepen this awareness of God’s great love for me and us, and to experience it!

Gratitude has definitely grown within me as I have watched many reach out to those in need:

  • Teachers being creative so their students learn better even virtually
  • Unemployed organizing food pantries for their neighborhoods
  • Neighbors watching out for the elderly
  • Residents here at NDH caring for each other and staying safe
  • Safety at clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices to protect those having ordinary illnesses
  • Church members busily sanitizing pews so members can safely attend mass
  • The hard work of many to hold established programs together
  • Above all, my sister Barb’s recovery from a second bout with cancer!

I realized how important my community is to me when we had to cancel two major gatherings, couldn’t attend Sr. Christine’s funeral together, and celebrated a quiet, untraditional Christmas.

Another gift is that our nation is better coming to grips with inequalities with many stepping up to change systems that perpetuate inequalities. We have treasured our Democracy when we have seen it threatened and have worked hard to sustain it now and in the future.

What would you add to the list of gifts from the challenges of 2020? I am sure you have some!

Wishing you all that’s wonderful and memorable in 2021.

 

Sr. Margaret Hickey, ND

Provincial President of the Notre Dame Sisters