Recently, I visited the grave of a woman who died in 1911 at the age of 90. The cemetery was in Springfield, Illinois. The woman was one of our earliest Sisters and her life was an interesting journey. At Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, this “Sister Rachel” is remembered most for encouraging our fragile, young community to “remain together” during a desperate winter in 1849. Ironically, fifteen years later in 1866, Rachel left us to join another Dominican community at St. Catharine in Kentucky. She later went on to assist in establishing still another community in Illinois in 1873. Rachel is considered one of the founding Sisters of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield.
Rachel appears to have opened herself to new possibilities as life’s circumstances unfolded. I expect these circumstances included both joys and sorrows. Our path may only be apparent when we look back over the steps taken. I hope that Frederick Buechner’s observation was true for Rachel: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” What is your “deepest gladness”? Are you attentive to the “world’s deep hunger”?
Toni Harris OP