One morning, I noticed that the closure button on my left blouse sleeve was missing. Not wanting to return home to change, I borrowed a safety pin from the reception desk to close it.
Yesterday afternoon, I thought I had better buckle down and sew a new button on.
On taking out my sewing kit, I noticed another thing I hadn’t gotten around to, that needed attending: a collection of stockings to repair.
Some of them had been there for quite some time; I remember thinking I would do it for Lenten penance last winter – so much for that…there’s still a significant collection waiting for me on this early August day!
I remember, as a novice, having lessons from our Sr. Alice one summer; I had wanted some pointers on stocking darning. Since then, I have implemented her expert suggestions on numerous occasions.
Mending is not my favorite activity, but I think it is a good one. It reminds us of our poverty.
Recently, I have been re-reading the Vatican II document on the renewal of Religious Life, Perfectae Caritatis. This very document reminds us that we “must be poor both in fact and in spirit, [our] treasures being in heaven.” It tells us that it’s not enough to say “I’m practicing poverty simply by using material things “in a way subject to the superior’s will.”
In the early days, when our sisters first came to Hankinson, they very easily experienced this poverty. Times were hard. Today, however, we are stilled called to follow and imitate Christ who, though He was rich, became poor for our sake. We are still called a practice of poverty both in spirit and in fact, as the conciliar document says.
Living in a setting where we have plenty to eat (taking our meals from the resident dining room) and have our material needs met, we have to think about how we live poverty. Our constitutions call us to reflect upon this regularly.
To me, the penance of darning stockings is one little way of following Christ in poverty. Rather than just throwing away a pair of stockings once it gets a hole, I can stick it in my bag and repair it, whenever I finally get around to it.
We want to be like Jesus and be close to Him; that’s really what our life is about. Although He didn’t have black leggings to mend, he did experience little sacrifices and trials because of His poverty “for our sake.” We can do the same for Him.