Accepting Others and Opening Your Heart

Back at the Cloister of the Good Sisters of Mary Magdalene, Sister Septimus and Sister Beatrix were strolling the cloister grounds during the after supper recreation hour. Sister Septimus was sharing some of her struggles in spiritual growth with young Sister Beatrix.

As you might remember from some of the earlier posts about the cloister, dear Sister Septimus has not always been the most empathic or compassionate member of the cloister. But the death of Sister Ludwicka in Hurricane Sandy was an epiphany for her and since then she has become evermore open to accepting the foibles that frolic within human beings.

As they walk, Sister Septimus says to Sister Beatrix, “you know Sister, I think that I have finally learned to be more fully accepting of people just as they are, whatever their eccentricities. However they choose to be in the world, loving or lascivious, optimist or pessimist, thief or philanthropist, I have come to recognize the common core of humanity within them all, they are all the same to me. But, Sister, I must confess to you, that on our special open days here at the cloister, I see a stranger walking down the path to the chapel, and I find myself murmuring, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, is it you again?’ Dear Sister Beatrix, this is a long road we are walking!”


I read a version of this story in Jan Phillips book, “No Ordinary Time” and once I stopped laughing, I found myself thinking about how much the story resonated with my efforts to human rights and to recognizing the basic dignity in everyone. And then I remembered the words of one of my most favorite professors in college, Father Jim Finegan, who would oft opine, “Everyone is redeemable, but some folks are more redeemable than others.” And indeed, I think everyone is loveable, some are more easily loveable than others. And of course it is those who are more challenging to love who are most in need of loving. So, today, for ten minutes, go out there into the world with your heart wide open and accepting, and give it a try!


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