Saturday, September 5, 2009

A good missionary = a good listener.

“The Missionary is one who goes out-“Go into the whole world “ That going out, that gathering, is the work of the missionary and that is the difficult part. It is not difficult to get teachers, but it is difficult to get missionaries. Why? Because there is the exhaust of self, because there must be more sacrifice of self. Our spirit demands a spirit of charity, and you understand what charity is-love of God and your neighbor.” Thomas A. Judge, CM

A missionary died this past week. Sr. Andrea Marie Stim of the Incarnation went home to God after a life spent for others.

I love our MSBT wakes as one hears a much fuller story of the person's life. At her wake I heard some of the following about Andrea:
Her father was a Byzantine priest
She met our Community when she, a Marywood college student, volunteered on the MSBT North Alabama missions during the summers.
She felt so called to become a missionary sister that she went through the rough process of transfering from the Byzantine Catholic rite to the Latin rite.
She was a good listener.
She loved her family and they loved her.
She was a social worker that through most of her life taught religion and did home visiting after hours.
She was a generous listener.
She had several bouts with serious illness and a near terminal accident in which she had her legs crushed between two trucks in NYC. She recovered from them all until the last bout with cancer.
She studied Spanish while at Catholic Charities in NYC and had a special love for the mostly Puerto Rican families she served.
She was a good listener who would not so much give you advice as to affirm your better thoughts and ideas, thus gently leading you in the better direction.
She always missed the ritual of the Byzantine rite and when she could often attended Mass in Byzantine Catholic Churches like St. Mary Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite in NYC.

Hers was a life of going out for God to others. At one point someone made the comment "she was a good missionary but she was also a good listener too."
I wanted to get up and say, Hey! a good missionary = a good listener. Being able to be present to people and really, really listen to them in a way that lets them know they count, that they are children of God to whom its a privilege to listen, that is the key ingredient. In my humble opinion.
So Andrea, thanks for your patient, gentle listening and keep praying for us now that you're with the One who made you and loved you into being.

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