For nearly 3 years l.sr. Chantal-Magdeleine has been sharing community life with 35 little sisters, most of whom are quite advanced in age. She’s going at her own pace on the road of letting go and adapting.
I ask myself the question, “what is my priority for this day?” And I realize my job in the laundry here is not at all an urgent one. I have to let go of my habitual desire to “work quickly and well.” I have to prioritize adjusting to our mission of prayer, and enter into it with joy because we are given the time to be faithful to it. Bringing to the Lord all the intentions that have been confided to us helps keep my spirit and my heart wide open on the world.
Old age is also the time for my body to adapt, when I feel tired more easily and am more handicapped by the diminishment of my physical capacities…Thirty years ago I used to belong to a Faith and Light group, , and I’ve just rejoined it. I so admire the courage of the handicapped people and their families, who are also growing old. They bring so much joy to our meetings, and their affectionate expressions of friendship help me to be more simple myself in my relationships with others.
There’s a line in “The Little Prince” which says, “It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important!” And if my rose is our community life? How many opportunities it gives us to help each other, to be attentive in little ways! That too is a school of adaptation—to different temperaments, different ways of looking at things that happen, and of expressing the joy of family celebrations.
What makes my rose bloom is that each person is encouraged to put his or her gifts at the service of the community…whether it’s knitting, drawing, music, or even dance! Thus it was that I picked up my zither again, in order to praise the Lord and give joy to my sisters. It’s through this life in common that I experience more deeply God’s love for each one of us, and I continue learning how to love, allowing myself to be cared for and loved in trust.