Sr. Rosemary Flanigan Reflects

I would like to share an article about one of my ‘firecracker’ sisters. Just one of the amazing women I’m honored and privileged to call ‘my sister’ in our community.

SSt. Joseph Sr. Rosemary Flanigan speaks at the Center for Practical Bioethics' annual dinner in 2018. (Courtesy of the Center for Practical Bioethics)r. Rosemary Flanigan has been called “ethics in action” and a “force of nature.” Both monikers have been appropriate for more than 50 years.

As a young nun in theĀ Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, she flew with five other sisters from St. Louis, Missouri, to Selma, Alabama, in March 1965 to participate in a voting rights march. Read more….

Masking for the Dear Neighbor

We are living through extraordinary times. I am reminded of the beginning of Dickens’s book: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We are facing a pandemic, an economic meltdown, social unrest, violence, and injustice against people of color and against immigrants. As people of faith, we are called to live with an extraordinary commitment to the gospel.

As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are called to reach out to others, whom we call our ‘dear neighbor’. There is no stranger for a Sister of St. Joseph. There are only dear neighbors to whom we reach out in prayer, kindness, and service. We have been asked to wear face coverings. In some regions and organizations, we are mandated to wear masks. We have learned that our masks provide limited protection to the wearer and substantial protection to the dear neighbor whom they encounter. Public health professionals tell us that we are all interconnected. The health of all is interconnected. Public health official echo the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: we are all Dear Neighbors. So I am wearing a mask for the dear neighbor.

Stay safe and healthy!



Something New

I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Is 43:19)

Really new things are both completely obvious and completely unimaginable. So when making something new, God finds it necessary to point it out – really, there’s something new here. See the pathway through the wilderness? See the rivers running in the wasteland? The destruction you feared is not the end of the story. It is merely a transition, a new chapter.

I can hear those trite infomercials that try to sell you something crazy…. but wait, there’s more!! So God says, as we lament what is passing away: but wait, there’s more. As we stand by the tomb on Holy Saturday: but wait, there’s more. And in religious life, as we lament the passing of the greatest generation of religious that we have ever known in the US, God says: I am about to do something new. See I have already begun. “But wait, there’s more…”
We are building relationships that will sustain us deep into the 21st century. With a firm grip on hope, we celebrate what has been, and we grieve its passing. With deepening confidence, we let our sisters go, one by one, into the great promise of death and resurrection. And we commit ourselves to this new thing that God is doing among us. … but wait, there’s more!

Existential Hope

We live in challenging times. News of the coronavirus comes at a time when we are already facing signs of ecosystem collapse in the form of unprecedented weather, fires, floods and natural disasters, along with the attendent threat to key plants and animals that support our own human life on earth. Interlocking systems of oppression keep thousands of refugees camped at our southern border, the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Systems of oppression keep black and brown bodies in jails and prisons, and out of adequate healthcare, education, financial resources and community support. Systems of oppression have whittled down the most diverse field of candidates for the US presidency down to three old white men. Systems of oppression hold the community of faith back from embracing and celebrating all the diversity that is in it, and mobilizing all their energies for community and for mission.

Where do I turn, as a person of faith? What can I do in the face of these overwhelming burdens that threaten the foundations of my faith? I turn to hope. I turn to God. I turn to that image of God that is at the heart of every human life. I turn to the resilience of all God has created. And I confess that it is good. I echo the words of our creator – it is very good! As the landscape gradually comes back to life, I commit to existential hope and say with the scriptures: “Is anything too marvelous for our God?”

I hold fast to this hope, as if holding fast to the hand of God. And I step out as a co-creator with my God and do what must be done.