At the Chapel of Divine Mercy today we heard a wonderful sermon by Fr. Jim Costigan on the voice of God and how we must have our minds and souls open to His voice. It was very good, and I think Una was listening closely to it. In the first pew, in front of us, sat a religious in a habit that looked somewhat familiar, but which I couldn't place. She was very sweet and kept turning around to smile and whisper to Dominic and Adrian. At the end of the Mass, Fr. Costigan introduced her as Mother Cynthia of the St. Joseph Missionaries of Sacrifice, and said she was leaving to return to Saskatchewan after having spent a week with the Fathers of Mercy.
Over coffee and doughnuts in Rauzan Hall we were able to find out more about this amazing woman, and Una was able to make a new friend. You see, Una has always been rather fascinated by Native American culture, and about a year or two ago, I had even searched the Internet for a means for her to find a Native American pen pal with whom she could correspond. We never found one, but Mother Cynthia ministers to two reservations and teaches Cree children and adults the faith. She and Una almost immediately established a bond, and Mother spent about an hour talking to Una and answering her questions. She even had me take her camera and photograph the two of them together! Anyway, she has asked Una to correspond with her Native children and send photos of herself, family and home, and she would keep in touch as well. Una has promised to pray for Mother Cynthia and her missions, and for funds for a formation house in Nigeria, where she has found many young women who would like to serve the missions (although how Nigerians would manage the 45-degrees-below-zero winter temperatures in Saskatchewan, I know not!). It almost seemed as though Una was destined to meet Mother Cynthia. One of Una's good friends was not at Mass today; had she been, Una never would have hung around Rauzan Hall and met Mother Cynthia.
At home I took a look at Mother Cynthia's website and was even more amazed: Her order consists of only three people right now, and is only over a decade old (her habit looked late 19th century). It began when she and her husband of 20 years made a bold decision to give up their former life and lead one totally consecrated to God. She and Brother Graham had two teen-aged children when they began their work to spread Christ's love and message, and they have been joined by another young woman who shares their call. Truly an amazing story.
I look forward to a long relationship with this dear woman via Una.