This years Rooted in Mission theme is Journey with Compassion – chosen to shed light upon this aspect of our mission and help us to reflect together on how our work on behalf of persons with disabilities is a sacred calling, a vocation to ministry.
“The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action.” MOTHER TERESA
As I reflect on this theme, I cannot help but call to mind the many staff members, families and above all residents in our program over my years walking alongside them in the various encounters we have had together. It is truly a calling to do God’s work among these wonderful children and adults with disabilities whom we serve. It always amazes me to see the compassion shown by our staff and volunteers for them. We receive such love and smiles from these special individuals as we walk together to enhance their quality of life and build personal relationships.
When I was 16 years old, I traveled to Calcutta in India, and found it enlightening to see how the simple things in life are what are most important. I saw people doing simple things every day to support their families and enhance their happiness and well-being. I was amazed at the utter poverty and appreciated the dedication of parents who every night had to seek a safe and comfortable place for a family to sleep or to feed their children.
In thinking about the meaning of compassion, I am drawn to those daily examples of tender desires to aid and encourage others as we walk together and carry out our mission. I am inspired by Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s words as she writes that the “fruit of love is service and the fruit of faith is love.” Truly we are giving and receiving these blessings daily. She encourages us to “Spread love everywhere we go, lest no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” I have witnessed how the ever present outpouring of love and compassion by our staff everyday fills our residents with smiles and genuine joy.
We all have burdens or difficult days but somehow when we encounter the children in our care we are able to smile and forget our own problems and be energetic advocates for the well-being of our residents. St. Edmond’s staff are always considerate of the person before them, and often give personal items or provide experiences for the children so that they can enjoy all that life can bring. Out of their own resources they buy clothes or special accessories to brighten a child’s days, and in this they invite us all to see God’s presence and love alive in their relationships with our residents. To do this work is truly to be a Servant of God. We are God’s Special Agents, charged with making every day with our residents one full of love, guidance, and support. Ours is truly a Journey with Compassion.
Pam Samuels – St. Edmond’s Home for Children