Dear friends and family,
Sister Edna Hess • President, Sisters of the Precious Blood
As I sit down to write my column today for Sharing & Caring while staring out the window, observing the snow falling and the beauty of the ground covered with sparkling snow, I can’t help but think about the beauty and wonder of God’s creation. I love nature, especially flowers, and I enjoy contemplating the sizes, shapes, color and all the little details of each of them. We have some bird feeders in our backyard, and it is so interesting to become familiar with the birds that visit: what they like to eat; how they eat; which ones can eat together on the feeder and which ones can’t; which ones only eat off the ground. God created an overwhelming amount of diversity in plant and animal life. God also created an overwhelming diversity of human life.
When I speak of diversity of human life, I realize we have much in common: how our bodies function, and our ability to reason, speak and feel, for example. However, at the same time, our body shapes and sizes are different; we speak different languages; we have different colors of skin; we eat different foods.
In this edition of Sharing & Caring, you will find an article about the Sisters of the Precious Blood’s ministry in Chile, as well as the story of some Sisters who journeyed to Europe to visit places important to our Congregation’s foundress, Maria Anna Brunner — as well as the first Sisters, some of whom came to America to serve the German immigrants in northwest Ohio. Whenever we leave our town or city and go to another, we encounter a new environment and new ways of doing things. If we leave our country, we may also discover people speaking a different language, wearing different clothes, eating other kinds of food, having a different color of skin or type of hair.
When I think of what it must have been like for our first Sisters to come to this “new land” — which was not developed like the country they came from, where they had to begin from nothing, where they encountered native peoples — I think it must have been a culture shock. They must have been happy that they could communicate with the German immigrants who already lived there.
When I think of what it must have been like for our first Sisters who went to Chile, I know they went without knowing Spanish because they were going to teach in an English school. However, these brave women learned Spanish in order to communicate with the parents of their students, the man at the meat market, and the people selling produce in the open market, as well as the children to whom they taught religion on the weekend.
These courageous women were welcomed by the people they went to serve; they came to love these people, to accept them as they were and are. Then I think of our country at this time, where so many can’t accept a person whose skin is a different color; a person who speaks another language; a person who thinks differently than they do; a person who wants to come to our country for a better life. We as Sisters of the Precious Blood believe that just as nature is precious in the sight of God and in ours, so too is each and every person. May we heal division, hate and violence, whether it is directed toward God’s Earth or God’s people.