Spending time with "gedolah ishah"


After some steamy weeks in Palm Beach and St. Louis, the Good Lord has seen fit to gift me with a couple of 70 degree days in San Francisco where I am remembering what it is like to go outside and not immediately want to run back inside.  Mercy!

Which is also the name of the retreat center where I’ve spent the last couple days: The Mercy Center in Burlingame, just a few miles from SFO.  If you hike uphill from the center, you can actually see the planes taking off and landing.  I have been with the ministry leaders and key administrative staff of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur sponsored ministries.  A wonderful group of people!  Enjoyed learning more about their founder St. Julie Billiart, as well as one of their members—Sr. Dorothy Stang—who lost her life several years ago in Brazil working to protect the Amazon forest.  During these very hot days of summer around the country, filled with the smoke of wild fires and devastating derecho winds, it feels especially important to remember Dorothy and what she was working for.

I’ve also had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with my Collegeville writing buddy, Leslie, who is now trying to finish up her PhD dissertation—also looking at the intersection of faith and environmental concerns.  I think Sr. Dorothy is up there cheering her on!  We’ve spent the last 36 hours chasing “Karl the Fog” around the Bay area, checking out Treasure Island, Berkeley, and Sausalito.  Have enjoyed some great people watching over afternoon cups of coffee.

In the back of my mind the whole time I’ve been here, I’ve been thinking about yet another great woman—the “gedolah ishah” (great woman) of Shunem who appears in this Sunday’s first reading from 2nd Kings.  In preparing to preach on this text, I’ve enjoyed learning about her story and thinking about why she is called “great.”  My reflection can be found here.

Even though I am returning back to the steamy East today, I will be back out in California in another couple weeks for a concert featuring my all-time favorite musician and his band at the Troubadour. (Yes, being a mom does tend to make one a bit biased.)  If you are in the Los Angeles area, you might also like to check out this event.

Meanwhile… stay cool and continue to enjoy the mercy of God wherever you are this week!