Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sister Maria DiBello, our inspirational speaker - Claudia Beechman leads us in Holiday Songs

Here's Sister Maria before her talk.

Claudia Beechman led in the singing of Xmas carols and "I have a little dreidel"

I had so much fun singing. This was something new I learned about myself. We used to sing carols back at Mercer Elementary School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Sister Maria's talk centered around three stories about children, in response to the terrible killings of 20 first-graders in Newtown, CT.

"We're all brothers and sisters, who are broken," she said. "And a child shall lead us."

Sister Maria is a Sister of Mercy, as is the renowned Sister Mary Scullion of Philadelphia, who ministers to the Homeless and Mentally Ill.

As do the people at Cranaleith Spiritual Center, Sister Maria's home. The Homeless are bussed in from their shelters and put to work in the gardens.  Like the seeds they plant and nourish, these folks will grow and change thru this meaningful work.

Cranaleith, which means "sanctuary of trees" in Gaelic, offers retreats to the general public. In true Socratic form, Sister asked us questions, forcing us to think.

A retreat, she said, is like a cruise ship. Why do we go on cruises? "To get away from it all, to get out of Dodge," she laughed. People can't reach you.

The benefits are many. Since we're all "in the same boat," relationships form on cruise ships. And on retreats.

"You nourish yourself with what you need the most," she said. "You make discoveries about yourself."

On a retreat, should you be somber and heavy?

No! On cruise ships you're playful which "frees the spirit."

Cranaleith: Sanctuary of Trees.

Our group responded what "sanctuary" meant to them: a safe place, a quiet and peaceful refuge where you can reflect.

Sister added, "Sanctuary is a sacred place. Each of us has a sacred place within us. Some people believe that before we were born we were kissed by God or our higher power. The Sanctuary lamp was lit inside us."

The first story she told us was about a 73-yo grandfather who was raising his 3-yo grandson whose mother was on drugs and was out on the streets.

A terrible storm raged outside. The two of them slept in the darkness in a one-bedroom apartment. The child was terrified by the thunder and lightening but the grandad refused to go over and comfort his grandson.

Finally, the grandson asked, "Is your face toward me?"

That's all he wanted. To know the comfort that his grandfather's face was there for him.

As if she could read my mind, Sister Maria began speaking about people who are going thru terrible struggles but there's nothing we can do to help them.

She mentioned caring for her mother at her mom's deathbed. The whole family was gathered around including her toddler nephew.

"I'm crying with them," she said, although there's nothing that can be done about the situation.

We can all do that for our friends or family who are suffering. Step back and be with them. Stay in the present moment with them.

Right now, you can look up from your computer and find beautiful things to look at - the trees outdoors, the glorious blue sky - it's 58 degrees outside now according to my outdoor thermometer - and give praise that you're alive and part of this ever-mysterious world we live in.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to read the success story of the inspirational person's . It really motivates the people to improve their skills and maintain a constant focus towards the goal .

    Inspirational Speaker

    Mark Duin