My Brother’s Keeper?

This phrase from today’s first reading at Mass (Gen. 4) is very well known and has been used frequently.  As Sisters, we are called in a special way to do this, to look out for and to serve our brothers and sisters.  In fact, our Rule for the Third Order Regular of St. Francis mentions the word “serve” (or its derivatives) frequently.  We are exhorted that we “should be servants and subjects to every human creature for the Lord’s sake.  (#19)  Again, we are urged to “willingly serve and obey each other with that genuine love which comes from each one’s heart. (Rule #25)

I must say, sometimes this is easier than others.  An example of a challenge came yesterday.  I worked at the reception desk here at St. Anne’s until 1:30 in the afternoon and was looking forward to an afternoon off, to have extra time to go to chapel and attend to a few other things.  Plans have a way of changing, however.  Our P.M. personal care/laundry aide was required to take one of our residents to urgent care and had to be with her for several hours.  She had been in the middle of doing laundry and had to leave hurriedly, with clothes still in the machines, on the table, and hanging on the rack. She learned that she would not be back until mid-evening so I filled in.  I’m not trying to commend myself, but just to illustrate how opportunities come up all the time when we are called upon to serve.


I treasure a beautiful quote from the founding days of the Sister in Dillingen around 1241.  When they were given land and their mission founded, “they were to serve God our Creator peacefully, prayerfully, and zealously, praising and honoring Him to the consolation of all believing souls.”  May we do that every day of our lives in whatever circumstances arise!

Sr. Christina M. Neumann, OSF


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