It’s been one week since the accident. I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. I have had no words to express what these days have been like for us. What I say now I say as one sister among many. First, I want to thank everyone who has offered prayers for our sisters and for our community. We feel them – they are holding us up. Never has the power of prayer been clearer to me. So many people have reached out to help us through these awful days: Benedictines from PA, MD, NJ, AL, MN, KS, Oblates, friends and family. In this pain we have discovered the depth of love around us. Words fail…both in sorrow and in gratitude.
We buried Sister Denise on Friday. Several hundred mourners gathered with us to sing God’s praise for the gift of her life. Our Gathering Space was transformed into Africa – tables laden with art, photos and fabric told the story of our sister’s life and ministry. Even in our grief there was real joy for the sister whom we love is forever in God’s embrace.
Sister Charlotte and Sister Connie Ruth remain in critical condition. We are waiting in hope by their beds for signs of improvement and healing. Your continued prayers are a gift to us.
I find myself wondering if we will ever get back to “normal.” It would seem that time itself has been divided – “before” the accident and “after.” The only “normal” is our prayer. When I am with my sisters praying those ancient words I feel peace. The psalms are so rich with feeling. They speak alternately of profound sorrow, deep joy, righteous anger and genuine thanksgiving. No matter which one we pray, it touches a feeling inside me for I have felt all these things in the past seven days.
There is so much we cannot know now. The days and months ahead will bring new challenges and new graces. I do know that I have never been prouder to be a Benedictine Sister of Virginia. We have been of one mind and heart throughout this tragedy. We have clung to each other and to our loving God. We have clearly articulated the Gospel mandate of forgiveness and given witness to the grace that comes when we walk in His footsteps. The love we have for one another in Christ is truly stronger than death. It is a love without limit or exceptions. It is ours to give to God’s people through the Church and to the young man behind the wheel of the car that killed our sister. Forgiveness, mercy and compassion…Sister Denise would have laid down her life for less.
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki