Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Way We Are

"If there was anyone suited to attempt the process of change, it had to have been Mary Margaret. She went through life a saint of the relaxed grasp. Almost totally without ego, it seemed, she vested her own success in nothing but the understanding and acceptance of the people around her. She lived the rules herself, of course, and she taught them to the community. But she simply had no rigid or unyielding expectations of anyone. She was far more adept at explaining why sisters couldn't do a thing than why they must. The Rule of Benedict, monastic scholars taught repeatedly, was built on exceptions. If so, then it was Mary Margaret Kraus who most embodied the spirit of it.

"In communities made up largely of an older generation, the pace of change was slow, the boundaries of change were clearer. In Erie, where the median age at the beginning of the renewal period was 52, the pressure for change was high. Change was a head-long attempt to catch the future before it was too late. It was Mary Margaret Kraus's laser-like attention to the needs of the members and the signs of the times that provided the stars to steer by toward tomorrow."

From The Way We Were, a story of conversion and renewal (The Benedictine Sisters of Erie 1958-1990), Joan Chittister, Orbis Books.

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