Deacons from Mexico, Vietnam ordained for Jackson

CANTON/MCCOMB – The Diocese of Jackson wrapped up ordination season May 25 and 26 with the ordinations of Cesar Sanchez Fermin and Andrew Nguyen to the transitional diaconate. In the Diocese of Jackson, seminarians are ordained into the diaconate in their home parishes. Since both men are from abroad, they selected the parishes where they have found a second home for their celebrations. For Deacon Sanchez, that was Canton Sacred Heart Parish and for Deacon Nguyen, it was McComb St. Alphonsus.
Sacred Heart was crowded with parishioners of all ages and nationalities on Saturday, May 25. Dozens of priests and deacons including Father Joseph Krafft from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, where seminarians from the diocese complete their studies, and Father Aaron Williams as master of ceremonies.
During his homily, Bishop Kopacz recited all the deacon’s obligations focusing mainly on serving only one Lord. After, Bishop Kopacz asked Cesar about his willingness to follow Christ’s example to serve God’s people.
Deacon Sanchez is from San Andrés, Mexico, where he said he “learned to read, pray and reflect with the Bible.” He used to play drums, performing in a band with his friends. He still likes to play the guitar and sing. He found his calling to priestly life at 17, after a vocational retreat that touched his heart.
Cesar compared his journey of discernment with a musician on stage. “In other words, I was not playing the song of life with the instrument that God wanted due to my introversion and little initiative to life. It was a stage where I was content with the minimum, but my heart, made for the great and transcendent, was not fooled.
“There was something that led me to find Jesus Christ, the one who truly fills the deepest aspirations of our being. Although I did not understand very well what I was missing, or what I should do, I felt in the scene of my life the protagonist was missing; the one who gives meaning and direction to a new story in which prayer, sacramental life, service, generosity, joy and discipline will give shape to something new and exciting – called priestly vocation,” he explained.
Cesar’s family is mainly in Mexico, his father Feliciano García López, his mother Maria Graciela Sanchez Fermin and his siblings Lizet, Alan, Jonathan, Fabian and Joel. They couldn’t be physically present, so they followed the ceremony online. His brother, Diego, accompanied Cesar during his ordination weekend and ceremony. “My family is happy, he makes us feel proud. Cesar is my oldest brother, we are eight siblings, but we are close, we spend time together. This is a dream come true. I feel like the luckiest brother in the world” Diego said.
Deacon Nguyen is from Vietnam. His mother, Truong thi Mink, made the trip from Vietnam for the ordination and got a little help from the Catholic Community at large to get to the Mass. She had to fly into Chicago, where Deacon Peter Quan Tong of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, picked her up and brought her to McComb. It was the first time she has seen her son since he left home. The deacon spent several summers in McComb and the community embraced him.
“I took it as a special honor because he is such a sweet guy. On holidays and some summers, he was with us, helping out Father Brian (Kaskie). I just felt like he was part of our family so we were all honored to do this,” said Nita Pounds, who sang for the Mass.
Fellow choir member Susan Bellipanni agreed. “I have seen him the past couple of years here at the parish and he is a joy to be around. I just feel happy for him,” she said.
Earlier in May, Father Adolfo Suarez Pasillas and Mark Shoffer were ordained into the priesthood. Father Mark said he takes joy in all of the ordinations. “Mississippi gained another minister – somebody new to bring the gospel to another community in a state that is ripe for hearing the gospel,” he said of Deacon Nguyen’s ordination.
The pair are set to be ordained into the priesthood next year. For this year, Deacon Sanchez is assigned to Madison St. Francis of Assisi and Deacon Nguyen is assigned to Meridian St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes, effective June 14.
(Tereza Ma, Berta Mexidor and Maureen Smith contributed to this story.)

CANTON – Cesar Sanchez Fermin

McCOMB – Andrew Nguyen

Power of prayer helps spell teen victory

Christopher Serrao, a 13-year-old parishioner from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Whitehouse Station, N.J., holds the trophy after being named the co-champion of the 92nd Scripps National Spelling Bee held at National Harbor, Md., May 30, 2019. (CNS photo/courtesy Dominic Serrao)

By Christina Leslie
METUCHEN, N.J. (CNS) – Though 13-year-old Christopher Serrao studied long, complicated and obscure words for hours on end to win a prestigious spelling bee, the most important word in his arsenal had just five letters: F-A-I-T-H.
Christopher, a resident of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and member of the town’s Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, joined seven other contestants in taking home a trophy and $50,000 grand prize May 30 in the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.
A seventh-grade student at Readington Middle School, he had been inspired by his older sister, Danielle, to compete in the annual test of knowledge and endurance.
Studying word roots and language patterns two to three hours daily, and longer on weekends, helped enlarge his vocabulary and sharpen his spelling acumen, but Christopher relied upon his faith to get him into the winner’s circle.
“When I was nervous, I said a prayer to God and would hold the cross in my hand. I also wore a rosary around my neck,” Christopher told The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen.
Christopher said his pastor, Father Leonard F. A. Rusay, “told the congregation that I was in the contest and had everyone pray for me.”
Christopher is a member of the parish choir and a lector. Danielle is a cantor and sang the national anthem at the spelling bee the day Christopher competed.
Daily 8 a.m. Mass on competition days in nearby St. Columba Church in Oxon Hill, Maryland, also reinforced his faith. “They were really nice,” he said. “The congregation prayed for me. The community was really supportive.”
This is the third time Christopher qualified for the national competition. He finished in 34th place last year. He and the other seven “octo-champions” survived 20 rounds of competition, 12 of them in the evening. He spelled “cernuous,” (which means pendulous or nodding), before being declared one of the eight winners.
With the money he won, Christopher plans to “maybe buy a dog, but save the rest for college.” But the lessons he said he learned throughout the whirlwind experience were just as important: to be calm, how to study and how to deal with the media. Then, he returned to that all-important word: faith.
“My win is a reaffirmation of the power of prayers,” he said. “When the odds were against me, I knew faith in Jesus and prayers would help me overcome any obstacle.”
“We are proud of the effort Christopher put in and the gracious God-loving attitude he has displayed throughout,” said his father, Dominic.
“We didn’t expect him to win, even though we knew he would place well. We truly believe that his feat was a miracle that can only be attributed to God. We believe with God all things are possible and this has reaffirmed our faith.”
“This journey began seven years ago with our daughter, Danielle,” said his mother, Matilda. “There were a lot more downs than ups along the way.
“However, our faith carried us through. This win has strengthened our faith even more and that our God is the one that makes impossible things possible.”

(Leslie is a reporter at The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen.)

Vacation Bible Schools

AMORY St. Helen, Team Jesus, July 14-16, 5 – 7:30 p.m. for grades K-6 in conjunction with First Presbyterian Church at St. Helen. Details: church office (662) 256-8392.
BROOKHAVEN St. Francis, Cathletics, July 21-24, 6-8 p.m. Snack provided. Details: Erin Womack at the church office (601) 833-1799.
CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, June 17-21, 8 a.m. – noon for children leaving Pre-3 through fifth grade. Details: church office (662) 624-4301or
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, June 17-21, 6-7:30 p.m. Details: Allison Baskin at (901) 409-1038.
JACKSON St. Therese, June 24-28, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. with lunch at noon. Closing Mass Friday, June 28 at 11 a.m. followed by lunch. Details: church office (601) 372-4481.
MERIDIAN Catholic community of St. Joseph and St. Patrick, July 22-25, 5:30 – 7 p.m. for grades K – fifth. Details: (601) 693-1321.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, ROAR! Totally Catholic, July 15-19, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. for Children PreK 3 (potty trained) – fifth grade at the Family Life Center. Must turn in registration form by June 24 to be guaranteed a t-shirt and deadline for turning in application form for attendance is July 9. Details: Melissa Johnson or the church office (601) 445-5616.
YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Friday, July 19, 5:30 – 7:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 20, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Details: church office (662) 746-1680.

Youth news

Saying goodbye to graduating students

COLUMBUS – Annunciation eighth grade students Luke Clarke and Rhett Shanahan give high fives to the younger students as they exit the school for the last time during the eighth grade sendoff ceremony on May 23rd. During this tradition, the younger students line the walkways to say goodbye to their older counterparts.
St. Vincent DePaul Society representative, Karen Overstreet, presents co-winner, Patrick Doumit with the St. Vincent DePaul award, given each year to a deserving seventh grade student who exemplifies the heart of Jesus in their actions of service both in school and in the community. This year the award was given to both Patrick and Elijah Clarke on May 22.

(Photos by Katie Fenstermacher)

St. Richard school performance

JACKSON – St. Richard’s after-school drama club performed plays they created on Thursday, May 16. At left, (l-r) Elijah Watkins, Maya Olivia, Allie Schuetzle, Rivers Lee, John Brody Fournet, Katherine Curley, Clara Clifford, Lily Frances Garner, Lorin Bass and Thomas O’Beirne sing a closing song.
Below, (l-r) Turner Brown, Christopher Brown, Jake Garrison, Nicole Amy, Lucy Smith, Sophie Bruckner and Davis Hammond take a bow after their ‘game show’ play.
(Photos by Tereza Ma)

Changing out crops in Southaven

SOUTHAVEN – Jonathan Barreto-Lorenzo from Southaven Sacred Heart School, picks okra seeds out of a pod as students get ready to plant a summer garden. Earlier in the day, the students dug up and said goodbye to the winter crop of broccoli. They hope to harvest okra when they return this fall. (photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Wanda Thomas to lead Catholic Charities of Jackson

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Wanda Thomas, the new CEO for Catholic Charities of Jackson, is no stranger to the agency or the good work being done there. She is set to start Monday, June 17. Thomas worked as a therapist at Charities in the early 2000s and has gone on to earn more credentials and more experience both in social work and the supervision of that work at other agencies in the state.
Thomas spent many years at Canopy Children’s Services, formerly known as Mississippi Children’s Home Services, as a regional director, director of intensive in-home services and program director of their therapeutic foster care services. Catholic Charities has similar programs.
“I have a passion and drive for change. I like to see change over time. I like to look at where we have come from. I like to build things. The services and programs (at Catholic Charities) are there, but as the new person I can come in with new thoughts and new ideas and think outside the box,” said Thomas. “I am looking forward to adding to what is already in place and having a positive impact,” she added.

Wanda Thomas

Msgr. Elvin Sunds, former executive director for Catholic Charities, was on the search committee for a new leader. “She has 20-some years of experience in social work. She is a licensed master social worker, which is important to the agency. She has supervised programs similar to the ones offered at Catholic Charities. She is certainly qualified,” said Msgr. Sunds. “The committee was impressed with her enthusiasm, her communication skills and her commitment to the mission of Catholic Charities,” he explained.
Thomas describes herself as very mission driven. The mission of Charities, she said, is one of the reasons she felt called to apply for the position. She believes her experience will help her in her new role because she has faced many of the challenges facing the staff already in place. “That’s going to give me a great opportunity and window into what we may need to improve on, what we are missing, but I have also been in their shoes. I have had to come up with solutions to many of these challenges,” she said.
“I want to strengthen what we already have in place – highlight what we are doing well. (I want to focus on) retention. You can only be as successful as your staff, so I want to retain talented individuals, to recruit, to provide them with development to do their best jobs. I want them to teach me how to work alongside them. To me, I am building a whole new team,” she said.
Thomas said when therapists and staff members work with people in crisis or people who have experienced trauma, they can carry part of those burdens with them. “I want to restore hope, in a way. What they are doing is having an impact. I want them to see that impact. When you can show how they are being beneficial, that can be a motivator,” said Thomas. “The health of an agency and its culture carries out into the community,” she added.
For the past three years, Bishop Joseph Kopacz has acted as CEO for the agency in collaboration with John Lunardini, the Agency’s COO for the past year and a half. “I am most grateful to John Lunardini for his invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of the agency through the strengthening of our financial base, our relationships with our funding sources and the advancement of our marketing and development. For sure, he will bring his skills and added experience from the social service world to any future employment,” Bishop Kopacz said.
Thomas will be the first non-Catholic at the helm of the agency. The bishop plans to remain present to direct the Catholic identity efforts at the office, and to further strengthen the vital role that Catholic Charities has for the diocesan mission and vision, but will hand the day-to-day operations over to Thomas. “Wanda Thomas has a great sense of what our mission needs to be, and we will move forward with a great team,” said the bishop.
Charities was formally chartered in 1963, but has its roots in the founding of a pair of orphanages in Natchez in the 1850s. It currently operates a number of social service programs including therapeutic foster care, adoption, the Solomon Counseling Center, services for the survivors of domestic violence, refugee and migrant support services and services for families experiencing mental health crises.

Featured photo . . . Mosaic installed in Oxford

By Gene Buglewicz

Simon Quiriconi and Cristian Costa, artists from Stagi Masaici Artistici in Pietrasanta, Italy, recently completed installing a glass mosaic on the south face of St. John the Evangelist Church in Oxford.  The mosaic was created in their Italian studio where they produced and crafted thousands of pieces of colored glass that would complete the mosaic.  

 The mosaic was first laid out face down, backside up.  A composite material, similar to paper with glue attached was spread over the glass pieces. After drying, contour lines were drawn over the paper material dividing the mosaic into pieces.  It was then divided into pieces following the contour lines and packed for shipment to the United States.  After arriving in Oxford, the boxes were unloaded and the mosaic re-constructed, again, face down. 

 It took only three days to complete the project once the Italian artists arrived in Oxford and began work.  They first laid out the mosaic on the floor and made sure the lines on the back of the mosaic all matched and fit together like a puzzle.  The large pieces of mosaic were then pressed onto the front niche on the outside of the Church and the mosaic took shape. The glass surface, now permanently exposed to the outside and bonded to the church, was smeared with grout, similar to grouting bathtub tile.  After drying, the glass pieces were cleaned.  Final plans call for the mosaic to be permanently lit at night.

The mosaic is a depiction of St. John the Evangelist.  He is shown on a rocky landscape which is representative of Patmos where he composed the Book of Revelation.  John is typically shown as either a clean-shaven young man or a bearded old man.  The mosaic portrays John as he is maturing, which is representative of the role the parish plays as students at the University of Mississippi begin to mature in their faith.  

 St. John is shown wearing the colors of blue and red, which are not only the colors of the University of Mississippi but the colors associated with the Divine Mercy; Spirit and Water.  The eagle is his attribute and seen flying across a night sky.  Although the eagle is not a night predator, the use of night and the bright moon acknowledge the themes of darkness and light which play out in John’s Gospel.

The mosaic was a gift to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church from Knights of Columbus Council 10901 of St. John.  This depiction of St. John was created by Lee Ann O’Keefe, a member of St. John’s Parish, and facilitated by Catholic Supply of St. Louis, Missouri.

St. Dominic Health Services’ President Announces Plans to Retire

JACKSON – Claude W. Harbarger, FACHE, has informed St. Dominic’s leadership, medical staff and employees of his intention to retire as the President of St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. (SDHS or St. Dominic’s) effective June 30, after having served the St. Dominic’s organization for the past 32 years.


Harbarger’s decision corresponds with St. Dominic’s transition of sponsorship to the Franciscan Calais Ministries and the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) on July 1.
“After thoughtful deliberation, I believe the timing of this decision will best facilitate St. Dominic’s positioning into the FMOLHS organizational structure,” Harbarger said. “The decision has been made in full and cordial collaboration with the Dominican Sisters, the SDHS Board of Directors and the leadership of FMOLHS.”
Lester K. Diamond, who serves as President of St. Dominic Hospital, will also begin serving as President of St. Dominic Health Services on July 1. In this expanded role Diamond will participate as a member of the executive and operating leadership team for FMOLHS. He joins CEOs from each of the FMOLHS ministry markets who are likewise supported by the system in implementing the health system’s strategic plan, prioritizing operational excellence and leading integration and growth.
“I have personally enjoyed getting to know both Claude and Lester in their experiences with FMOLHS over the past years, including as members of our Board,” Richard R. Vath, MD, Interim President and CEO of FMOLHS, said. “I want to add my thanks to Claude for his selfless service to Catholic health care and the many contributions he has made at St. Dominic’s. He is a tremendous leader. We are looking forward to Lester’s new role as he brings insights and experiences to our Franciscan ministry and continues the important legacy of St. Dominic’s for families in Mississippi.”
Harbarger joined St. Dominic’s in 1987 as Senior Vice President–Professional Services. He was named President of St. Dominic Hospital in 1991 – a position he held 20 years. He was named President of St. Dominic Health Services on January 1, 2012, following Dominican Sister M. Dorothea Sondgeroth’s retirement from the position.


Harbarger began his administrative career in 1978 at Humana Hospital Augusta, Georgia. His professional activities include fellowship in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He currently serves as a member of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership Board of Directors, the Mississippi True Board of Directors and on multiple committees of the Mississippi Hospital Association.
Harbarger is a member of First Presbyterian Church where he serves as an Elder. He and his wife Karis reside in the Jackson area and have three married children and seven grandchildren.
Diamond, who was born in Jackson at St. Dominic Hospital, pursued his undergraduate studies at Memphis State University in Business Administration, and his graduate studies at the University of Mississippi in Health Care Administration. He completed his administrative residency at Eastwood Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. in 1984.
Diamond began his administrative career in 1985 with Charter Medical Corporation as an Assistant Administrator and ultimately served in this position at Charter Peachford Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and Charter Plains Hospital in Lubbock, Texas, where he also served as the Human Resource Director.
In 1988, Diamond accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer at Laurelwood where he was responsible for directing the daily operations of all clinical programs and ancillary services.
Diamond joined St. Dominic Hospital in 1992 as Vice President for the North Campus. Diamond was then named Vice President of Behavioral Health Services and also held administrative responsibilities for the Jackson Mental Health Center.
In 1996, Diamond transitioned to the position of Vice President of Professional Services, with responsibility for many of the hospital’s ancillary departments. In 1997, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Professional Services and was then promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations in 2007. He succeeded Claude W. Harbarger as President of St. Dominic Hospital on January 1, 2012, when Harbarger was promoted to president of St. Dominic Health Services.
Diamond serves on the board of the Mississippi Hospital Association, where he is the current Chairman. In addition, he serves on executive boards for the Mississippi Housing Partnership, Mississippi Health Partners and Vizient Southern States.
The Diamond family attends St. Richard Catholic Church. Diamond and his wife Gina live in Jackson, Mississippi and have two sons, Andrew and Eric.

This summer let young and old climb aboard the same canoe

Sister Constance Veit, l.s.p

By Sister Constance Veit, l.s.p.
My fondest memories of summer are the times spent with my favorite aunt at her cottage nestled in the Adirondack Mountains. As a middle school teacher, she had a gift for relating to kids in a way very different from parents, like a wise friend or a trusted confidante. My aunt patiently taught us how to knit and sew; she listened to our stories and nurtured our dreams as if each niece or nephew were the only one.
She took us on long walks in the woods, pointing out her favorite wildflowers and teaching us to recognize fresh bear tracks and other potential dangers. She also taught us how to paddle her antique canoe around the nearby lake. As we got older, my aunt would sit on the dock reading a book as we took the canoe out to explore the lily pads along the shoreline or ride the waves created by the speeding motorboats. But she always kept one eye on us in case we got into trouble.
Although she never had children of her own, my aunt took a lively interest in all her nieces and nephews until the very end of her life. She never gave us lectures, expressed disapproval or told us how things should be done, but she always kept an eye on us. She remained creative and curious long after retiring and unassumingly shared her time, her talents and herself with others.
As I read Pope Francis’ recent post-synodal letter, Christus Vivit, in which he encourages the young and the old to form strong bonds, I realized what a blessing my aunt was to our family, for she personified the ideal of elders as wisdom figures and memory keepers.
“What do I ask of the elders among whom I count myself?” our Holy Father wrote. “I call us to be memory keepers … I envision elders as a permanent choir of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise support the larger community that works and struggles in the field of life. It is a beautiful thing when “young men and maidens together, old men and children, praise the name of the Lord” (Ps 148:12- 13).
When her life was coming to an end my aunt felt she had very little to leave us, but as my siblings and cousins came from all over the country to bid her farewell, it was obvious that because she had given us so much of herself, she would live on and even blossom in us.
“What can we elderly persons give to the young?” Pope Francis asked in Christus Vivit. “We can remind today’s young people, who have their own blend of heroic ambitions and insecurities, that a life without love is an arid life…. We can tell fearful young people that anxiety about the future can be overcome…. We can teach those young people, sometimes so focused on themselves, that there is more joy in giving than in receiving, and that love is not only shown in words, but also in actions.”
This is what my aunt taught us!
The following words of our Holy Father brought her memory to life in a special way:
“During the Synod, one of the young auditors from the Samoan Islands spoke of the Church as a canoe, in which the elderly help to keep on course by judging the position of the stars, while the young keep rowing, imagining what waits for them ahead.” He concluded, “Let us all climb aboard the same canoe and together seek a better world, with the constantly renewed momentum of the Holy Spirit.”
So, this summer, be intentional about bringing the generations in your family or neighborhood together. Take time for long walks and slow canoe rides, and for sharing memories and dreams. You won’t be disappointed!
(Sister Constance Veit is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor.)

Honoring Jean Vanier’s radical call to love

Sister therese alies

By Sister therese alies
“I had no plan, I just met people and people with disabilities awoke my heart.” So spoke Jean Vanier one day when being asked how L’Arche communities began and how they had grown.
Sometimes our lives are blessed with meeting or being near special persons. One of the things that makes someone special is that they reveal to us something of the truth about ourselves, maybe our inner beauty, some gift or even our struggles to live an authentic life. I was blesed to have had this experience. Sometimes even fleeting moments or short-extended stays, or a retreat venue is just enough to turn one’s life ever more deeply into a more loving discipleship.
On Wednesday, May 7, Jean Vanier, died. He was 90 years old and for the last 50 or so years devoted himself to the handicapped, disabled and those with intellectual disabilities all around the world. Often people with various handicaps are not welcome in their own homes, the parents feeling it is their fault or not having the proper support to raise a special needs child.
Jean was a young naval officer who left the Canadian navy to ‘follow Jesus.’ He did academic work and was a college professor. One summer he went to a small village in France and studied with a Dominican priest and a few other fellows like himself. They spent the summer visiting the local ‘asylums’ and God spoke deeply to his heart. He went out and bought a small cottage and invited the first two men into his home. Neither could speak and both had severe disabilities. Jean had never been trained how to help the handicapped. He just felt called to live with them. This was the founding of L’Arche Communities in 1964.
Now there are more than 154 communities in 39 countries where folks with a variety of disabilities are welcomed for life, living with those whose handicaps (don’t we all have them?) are less visible or debilitating. Some assistants who come as sort of ‘midwives’ to help others grow to maturity will live with core members for a year or two. Some much longer. Folks living in L’Arche communities are welcomed into a rich life of relationships, the very thing Jean writes, in his more than 30 books, are at the heart of our deepest need. This includes a deep faith life for those who wish. Though Catholic, communities are made up of folks from every culture and religion. Closest to us in the South are the communities in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Mobile and St. Louis.
Jean made sure to quote Dorothy Day when told he was a ‘living saint.’ She quipped near the end of her life “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed that easily!” Of course, she is indeed now a Servant of God. I suspect he will be too.
Jean and Dorothy were both people of the Way – those who took seriously the many messages of Jesus, especially those calling us to service of the most vulnerable. Pope Francis has reminded us of the ‘peripheries’ more than once. Perhaps as the Canadian writer and former L’Arche member Carolyn Whitney-Brown reminds us ”he is an icon, not an idol.”
Some 40 years ago I was pleased to be a small part of the Tahoma Hope L’Arche community in Tacoma, Washington. David Rothrock, one of the founders, reminds us, “There are not many people who become internationally acclaimed because they treasure weakness and vulnerability”
Probably Jean’s best international bestseller is Becoming Human. The book is actually five talks he gave for the Massey Lectures commissioned by Massey College of the University of Toronto and broadcast on the Canadian Broadcast show, Ideas.
The first of Jean’s seven aspects of love is reveal. “To reveal someone’s beauty is to reveal their value by giving them time, attention, and tenderness. To love is not just to do something for them but to reveal to them their own uniqueness, to tell them that they are special and worthy of attention … this revelation heals … the belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of L’Arche … as so as we start selecting and judging people instead of welcoming them as they are — with their sometimes hidden beauty, as well as their more frequently visible weaknesses — we are reducing life, not fostering it. When we reveal to people our belief in them, their hidden beauty rises to the surface where it may be more clearly seen by all.” Thank you, Jean, for sharing the gift God entrusted to you for the good of us all. Rest in peace.

(Sister alies therese is a vowed Catholic solitary who lives an eremitical life. Her days are formed around prayer, art and writing. She lives and writes in Mississippi.)