What can we do?
We asked that of Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch, nF.M.I. ’12, and Gabrielle Bibeau, nF.M.I. ’11, two novices of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, the Marianist sisters.
“‘A peacemaker prays,’ said the spiritual writer Father Henri Nouwen,” according to Bibeau. “Part of the novitiate is focusing intensely on your prayer life, which includes an hour a day in silent prayer as well as studying the charism and doing spiritual reading.
“In these times of political turmoil and fear of the ‘other,’ I am reminded of how important prayer is for us to be people of peace. Spending time each day with God is where I gain the energy to speak the truth in humility and to love those with whom I strongly disagree. And my prayer is best when it reminds me to remember the sufferings and trials of people around the world and to live my life in a way that can, I hope, have a positive impact.”
“It is disheartening,” Cipolla-McCulloch said, “to see the many acts of violence occurring in the human family. The founders of the Marianist family, however, also lived in violent times. The founders responded by forming small communities of faith. Our communities, our families, are our first places where we can practice nonviolence.
“We can be people of prayer who seek to understand the differences among ourselves. We can be people of hospitality welcoming all kinds of people to our tables and homes. We can follow Mary’s example of pondering in our hearts. We can strive to be on the margins, advocating for those who are persecuted.
“We can form ourselves in faith and hope so that we can share this faith and hope with our church and our world.
“Our communities can help us share, help us gain perspective and challenge us to think about new, exciting ways to be people of peace.”