Bicentennial Reflections for 2012
This Bicentennial year of celebration can be a time of renewal for us and can provide us with an opportunity to share the “fifth Gospel” of our lives with each other. We invite you to share a personal story/thought/reflection/poem/drawing/other that speaks to you of the meaning of our Bicentennial theme, “Celebrating our Journey of Faith.” These will be published in a Bicentennial Newsline as we receive them. Please send your personal story/thought/ reflection/poem/drawing/other to Jackie Smith at email@example.com.
This week’s Bicentennial Reflection comes from Mary Wedding, SCN:
During the summer of 1978, I was privileged to join a group of students and teachers from Louisville for several weeks in the city of Montpellier in southern France. Our group was sponsored by the University of Louisville; Montpellier is the sister city of Louisville. Teachers were given summer jobs by the mayor of the city; students had classes and toured southern France by bus. The male chaperone of the students was a teacher from St. X. and the brother of Sister Nathaniel Ballard (now deceased). He invited me to go with the students if I were free to do so. Gratefully, I accepted his invitation after clearing the matter with my supervisor at the hospital where I was working.
At that hospital, I had the opportunity to aid a British couple whose son had been brought in after a serious accident. Four English young men were touring southern France by bicycle, two on each vehicle. The highway was under repair. One cyclist failed to gauge distances and ran into a wall. The couple of whom I spoke had been eagerly anticipating their son’s return from his vacation. He was their only child, and his Mom was in process of making a cherry pie for him when they received word of the accident. The boy’s mother was a member of the Episcopalian Church but not much of a churchgoer. However, at this time she felt the need of divine assistance and we were able to find an Episcopalian church nearby. We sat in silence in the church while she poured out her heart in prayer. I then accompanied her to the building where her son was a patient. She had time to tell him how much she loved him and to gently review the story of his life. He was unable to speak but tears ran down his cheeks as his mother spoke. He did not survive. I accompanied both parents to the morgue when they went to identify the body before it was sent back to England for burial. I went to France to improve my speaking of the French language, but I felt that my encounter with this British couple was perhaps the most important part of my time in Montpellier.
Mary Wedding, SCN