We had several great opportunities this summer to make St. Jeanne Jugan and the Little Sisters of the Poor known among the young from both near and far. It has been an amazing few months! All of the opportunities gave us great hope for the future of the Church and proved to be great blessings for us! We would like to share a few of our experiences in this blog over the next couple of weeks.
It began when we welcomed Megan Summerbell to our home for a summer internship. It has been a joy to have her with us. She is discerning and is open to whatever the Lord wants. She will be going to college for at least two years and plans to come back for visits. She will be missed around here, not just by the Sisters, but also by the Residents whom she has worked with in activities and has come to know as friends in her contacts and outings with them.
Since 1995, volunteer college students have been walking each summer with Crossroads on Pro-Life walks across America to promote a culture of life and to pray for an end to abortion. Our homes in Palatine and Washington DC have welcomed the groups for several years now. In Palatine we welcomed the “Northern” walkers. They “camped out” here for the weekend of July 7-9 and we were happy to have a meal with them and to share our Pro-Life stance. We also saw them from time to time over the weekend in the chapel when they were in-between events. They go out to parishes and talk to youth groups and anyone who will listen. This summer they arrived here at the beginning of July after walking through record breaking heat waves across the Midwest. All four US walks started simultaneously on May 19th from Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles and will end together in Washington, DC on August 11th, where they will they hold a pro-life youth rally. They also have a walk across Canada. This summer, they were excited to be sponsoring a record FIVE Pro-Life walks! Their teams are comprised of over 50 college students from all across the United States and Canada who have given up their summers to be a voice for the voiceless! They take turns walking both day and night throughout the week and stop each weekend in major cities, like ours, along the route. Each walk covers over 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) and they reach out to hundreds of thousands of people along the way with the message that all human life is sacred, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
Their mission statement points out that “By looking to Jesus and Mary as role models in prayer and sacrifice, and by understanding the value of suffering, they hope to convert hearts and minds and to save lives. Crossroads is a Civil Rights organization that is faithful to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. With this in mind, Crossroads welcomes and encourages members of all faiths to participate in its activities, noting that all are charged with the duty to defend the sanctity and dignity of all human life from its very beginnings in the womb to natural death.”
They take their inspiration from Pope John Paul II’s homily to the young people at World Youth Day in Denver: “Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first apostles, who preached Christ and the good news of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (cf. Rom. 1: 16). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (cf. Mt. 10:27). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis.” It is you who must “go out into the byroads” (Mt 22:9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father (cf. Mt. 5:15-16). Jesus went in search of the men and women of his time. He engaged them in an open and truthful dialogue, whatever their condition… As the Good Samaritan of the human family, He came close to people to heal them of their sins and of the wounds which life inflicts, and to bring them back to the Father’s house. …Young people of World Youth Day, the Church asks you to go, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to those who are near and those who are far away. Share with them the freedom you have found in Christ. People thirst for genuine inner freedom. They yearn for the life which Christ came to give in abundance. … Christ needs laborers ready to work in his vineyard. May you, the Catholic young people of the world, not fail Him. In your hands, carry the cross of Christ. On your lips, the words of life. In your hearts, the saving grace of the Lord.”