In the past couple of weeks, we have learned that one of our most beloved Sisters of Hope, Sr. Monica McGloin, is losing her battle with cancer. She is in her final time and I feel I need to share the following with all of you.
I’ve really only known Monica since 1995 when our three former Dominican Congregations became the Dominican Sisters of Hope. I don’t possess a wealth of knowledge about Monica from her early years but many of our Sisters do and will.
However, I do know this: Monica is a prophet of our time! Monica has been the voice that challenged, the voice that nudged, the voice that always could ask the hard questions. Monica is the Sister who welcomed the Mission of Hope to Cincinnati in the summer of 1999, shortly after our first February Mission to Nicaragua. Why? Because she and I had spoken about the need to expose our youth to both developing third world poverty as well as US urban poverty and rural poverty.
I had the opportunity to provide the “third world poverty” which remains devastating. I grew up in rural poverty here in the Adirondacks of Northern NY. And Monica could facilitate an opportunity for some of our Mission volunteers to travel and spend a week in urban poverty, assisting the poor and vulnerable in that area.
Sadly, (and gratefully), the Mission grew by leaps and bounds over the next 21 years as we served those in Nicaragua, then expanded to assist in various other areas of natural disaster and we never got back to Cincinnati.
But I had no qualms because Monica, to this day, has lived and served the vulnerable in Cinci!
I also had the distinct pleasure of being in the same Community Chapter with Monica. Community Chapters are a means for our Sisters to join from near and far, in smaller groups, to advance the “mission of hope” within our Congregation.
Over these years, Monica has always remained faithful to her ability to live and witness and challenge us as Sisters of Hope, to realize that our human potential and Mission call, comes not from having more but from valuing all that we have and to be willing to share that with the most vulnerable. Monica has been a driving voice and driving force as we explored land trusts, legacy of creation and of our own personnel and so much more.
In a recent phone conversation I had with Monica before she realized her earthly battle with cancer was not ending as she/we had hoped, she and I spoke at length about how our Congregation needs to somehow expand our understanding of legacy to include all the ways and geographical locations where our Sisters have served, including locations and ministries of the three former Congregations.
Somehow, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt like I was sharing a special prophetic word with Monica and somehow, it seemed like I would cling to that conversation as my last in depth encounter with her for a “while”.
There is a time for everything, a season for everything as Scripture reminds us, and I feel compelled to share that Monica taught me/us about the precious gifts of justice, of compassion at all costs, of faithfulness to the poor and vulnerable. I feel compelled to say that Monica, one among many, was a Dominican Woman who stood in her truth and who always walked the walk, not just the “talk”.
It is my time to embrace, my time to let every single person who is a member of my congregation or who is engaged and supportive of the North Country Mission of Hope, to know, that I owe a debt of gratitude to Monica because she taught me so much about not being afraid to be the “irritant” when asking the hard questions that surround living justly, and she also taught me a great deal about truly trying to understand the walk of the vulnerable and poor and to bear the burden with them.
I could go on and on… however, I want to tell you Monica, as Collen Fulmer (songwriter) has aptly stated, ” The whole of the earth will be blessed by you”; in fact, it already has been! These tears are for you but also for all who have never had the blessing of knowing you.
As Joan Chittister once said, ” The season is now. The time is ours.,” And yes, Monica, the season is now and the time is for you to know you are loved beyond measure. Thank you for all you have been for the vulnerable and for me personally. Thank you. and Peace be with you!
My love and deep gratitude to Monica, a voice for the voiceless.
As each of you strive to live and be HOPE this week, perhaps you can recall those who have been the prophets in your life, those who have walked the walk with you and invited and challenged you to be more…. and say a word of thanks.