Dear friends and family,
Sister Edna Hess • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
How the world has changed since my last communication with you! I hope that this finds you, your family and friends doing well.
With the pandemic and “stay-at-home” orders, many of us may have found ourselves once more enjoying cooking or baking, especially what we call comfort food. In this edition of Sharing & Caring, we are highlighting a few of the great cooks we have had in the community. On May 17 we lost one of them, Sister Verlina Mescher. Hopefully you will enjoy learning about more of our Sister cooks in this edition.
As I recalled my first years of formation, I remembered how surprised a number of my classmates were at some of the foods such as blood pudding and goetta. With the Swiss and German backgrounds of many of our early Sisters, along with ministry to German Catholics, it is not surprising that food reflected their heritage. As a child I remember visiting my aunt, Sister Adele Boeke, C.PP.S., who worked at St. Charles Seminary. Sister Elizabeth Therese (Sister Costella Schindler) would stop in to ask if any of us children wanted some “stale” cookies. Of course, we did as we knew they would never be stale! Our Sister cooks were always known for the quality of the food they served.
This time of the coronavirus has resulted in us Catholics being deprived of receiving the food of Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Eucharistic celebration. As Sisters of the Precious Blood for whom the Eucharist is often a daily highlight, we have deeply missed the reception of Jesus’ Body and Blood. This “comfort food” nourishes and strengthens us to share the food of our lives with those we serve. We are grateful that we are able to assist with resources for those who must wait in food lines to alleviate the physical hunger of their families.
There is another hunger revealed during this pandemic — the hunger for social justice. Those who have suffered disproportionately are people of color, immigrants and refugees. At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, we are sent forth to serve our brothers and sisters. I find myself reflecting on what needs to change in myself and in our society so that these brothers and sisters may enjoy what I, as a well-educated white person, take for granted. The inequities that have surfaced once again in acts of unrest and violence call for systemic change. May we be life-givers and reconcilers in this fractured world as we share the food of Christ’s love with those who hunger and thirst for justice.