Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Dreaming

In Advent, we are called to dream. We dream for the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us, once again. We dream for peace and hope and joy and love to be reborn in us. And, each of us, I believe, has a special dream for which we wait.
As Dominicans, our dreams are fueled by the gospels and steeped in Resurrected love. These dreams believe that the impossible is possible. They envision the likelihood that divisions may be removed; hatred may be overcome with love; or deep woundedness may be healed.
One of my favorite Sinsinawa Advent stories comes from way back. The year is 1941. It was time for Corpus Christi Grade School in New York City to prepare for the annual Christmas Open House. That meant that each classroom would be creating a huge mural on the back wall. The parents would walk eagerly from room to room enjoying the art work. Here is what one second grader, Leo O’Donovan, wrote years later about that Christmas and his second grade teacher:

“the remarkable event in Sr. Bernadelle Sheehan’s Christmas crèche in December 1941. Under her    guidance, the class drew a great mural of the nativity as it would have looked had it occurred in Japan, with Mary, Joseph and the Infant Jesus all distinctively bearing Japanese features and the shepherds likewise. It impressed me at the time as a mysterious message about the universality of God’s love. But, then, on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I realized that my soft and lovable Sister offered us this scene as contemplation – in the very days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

The little second grader in this story grew up to become Leo Donovan, S.J., and 47th President of Georgetown University. He was a man known for his great visionary thinking. This quote was written in a Memory Book alumni made up for Corpus Christi’s 90th Anniversary, which was also the 60th of the Dominican sisters of Sinsinawa staffing the school.

So, do you know what you are dreaming for this Advent?
Sr. Peggy Ryan, OP
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

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