A Sister of St. Joseph recently shared a hospital room with a woman from Ethiopia. Sensing a mutual need for compassion and company, the Sister opened the curtain that separated their beds. With a greeting, it was obvious that neither spoke each other’s native language, but no matter. Her neighbor spoke and the Sister listened. Though words remained unknown, the presence of sound and body response allowed for a connection between human to human, being to being.

After several days, the Sister was discharged from the hospital. Before leaving, she asked a visitor if she could translate to her roommate that she would be departing. Upon receiving this news, the woman responded with a long-held hug, kisses on both of the Sister’s cheeks and appreciation for presence.

Compassion is not bound by the words we speak. Love is not bound by the familiar or the similar. It is within us all to communicate regardless of formal language. It is within us all to be “moving always toward profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction.” (CSJ mission)

November 27th, 2017