I travel a lot in my ministry. Over and over again, I experience gracious Dominican hospitality!! I have come to believe it’s an expression of who we are and the way we regard others. Although I struggle to describe it, I know when I’ve experienced it. A week ago when I was in Jacksonville, Florida with my Dominican Sisters, I clearly experienced it.
Here’s what I know about it from that experience as I reflect on it now. Hospitality is more than opening your home to someone; it means first opening your heart. It starts with a generous and welcoming heart that reveals an openness to others. These sisters welcomed me into their world, just as I am, with no strings attached. I felt at home there even though I was not.
Here’s what else I observed. Hospitality demands making space in our busy lives for others. It requires availability and attention, flexibility and spontaneity, adaptation and selflessness. Hospitable love cares enough to create space in one's own life in order to welcome another in, just as Christ did. This community proclaimed without words, “all are welcome” to me and does to all whom they meet.
I am so grateful for this and my many experiences of hospitality. It is an experience of our oneness!!
What’s your experience of hospitality? How would you describe it?
Mary Ann Nelson, OP