“The greatest among you will be the one who serves the rest.” – Matthew 23:11
Monday, April 9, 2012, marked our final gathering for this season of Salesian Spirituality focusing on the Leadership traits exemplified by our co-founders, Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal. “Salesian Mondays,” as these evenings are called, are part of a Spirituality program of the Visitation Sisters in partnership with their lay companions that occur the second Monday of each month during the Fall to Spring seasons. Each evening begins with a light meal, followed by a collaborative presentation highlighting some aspect of Salesian life and then concludes with night prayer.
Leadership in the Salesian tradition begins with Jesus, whose leadership was one of Selfless, Loving, Suffering Service.
This last session was lead by Visitation Companion Maryann Pearson and a new friend to the Visitation community, Ms. TuAnh Holm. Following Sr. Mary Frances’ introduction to the evening centering on “Love and Prayer” as Leadership traits, Maryann and TuAnh broke open these themes before the crowd of 25+ people using story-telling and wise illustrations; they included a third element in their talk: courage. Ms. Holm drew on her own Vietnamese Buddhist background, weaving a teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh into the evening, followed by a tale from her young life discerning a religious calling with Catholic sisters at a monastery in France. Maryann brought these illustrations of prayer and love to further life with her own elaboration on the role of courage when it comes to acting and leading.
Our co-presenters invited us to reflect on our own tales of how prayer, love and courage played out in a specific action we took — a small, but sincere act of leadership. The invitation was provocative and elicited some thoughts on how we are called to lead as Christians in today’s world and church.
The evening concluded with the group reading aloud a prayer that Sr. Mary Frances Reis wrote on this topic:
A Prayer for Leaders
Most Gentle and Humble of Heart,
We praise and thank you that you came to teach us how to serve in a spirit of Love and Concern.
Help us to Live Jesus in such a way that we will learn to serve one another in humble love and compassion.
Help us to see and appreciate our own gifts and those of our brothers and sisters.
May Love and Prayer fashion our relationships with one another;
through the intercession of Saints Jane de Chantal and Francis de Sales,
may we become imitators of you as we strive to Live Jesus in thought, word and deed.
We ask this in your Holy Name.