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Reflection on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted on January 22, 2023, by Mary Ann McGivern SL

Many of our own accounts of joining Loretto begin with an attraction to the sisters. How much fun they had. They were happy. They had endless patience with us. They listened. They talked about big things and encouraged us to talk with them. So we followed them, learning to follow Jesus. We had a lot to learn, as did Peter, Andrew, James, John, Paul, the early Christians on down to us. Paul is often reprimanding those early Christians, as in today’s letter to the Corinthians, urging them to be of the same mind. Be of one heart, one mind, one soul.

A couple of months ago our dear sister Paulette encouraged us to look directly at some conflicts among us. That brought a lot of discussion at the Motherhouse dinner table. What conflicts? Well, yes, we disagree, but we’re not in conflict. Well, yes, perhaps that is a conflict. And that. But not this. This is just a difference of opinion. We’re talking and we’re modifying one another. We’re struggling to come to be of one mind, one heart, one soul.

Then came Christmas. Because of the snow and ice and threat of power outages, I crossed across Route 152 for several days, living here at the Motherhouse, and I felt immersed in a holy community of women who love one another. I wasn’t surprised by anybody’s individual acts of kindness, but I was surprised by how I felt surrounded by all sorts of generosity. And by prayer. I was right in the middle of it all. It was a great grace to be so acutely aware of so much goodness that I’ve always taken for granted. It is oneness of heart and soul, if not exactly of one mind.

John Foley’s song “For You Are My God” says, “You give marvelous comrades to me, the faithful who dwell in our land,” and that line sometimes gave me chills as we sat crowded in our third-floor chapel at the St. Louis Worker for Mass. I have been so blessed all my life to work with generous, passionate people. 

It’s quieter here than at the Catholic Worker or living in the middle of St. Louis. The acts of kindness are quieter, and the prayer is quieter. The passion isn’t visible. And this is not to say that the conflicts are resolved or that Paulette was wrong. Or St. Paul either. We’re all followers, learners, traveling together in Jesus’ wake, healing and learning, teaching and being healed.

The Bible is a lot of things, one of which is the telling of our great human journey to find God. Today’s Gospel is the opening of the story about our part of the journey.


Mary Ann McGivern SL

Mary Ann recently moved from St. Louis to the Loretto Motherhouse in Kentucky. She is searching for entry points into Marian County, Ky., civic life — funding the day care center, improving jail services, helping stop a pipeline through Bernheim Forest. She is on the roster of homilists at Loretto Chapel’s Sunday Communion service. Mary Ann has been a Sister of Loretto since 1960.