Thoughts from the Prioress on beginning a new year

Thoughts from the Prioress on beginning a new year

On the first day of January the community and I proclaimed a blessing prayer to each other. We offered it as our wish to one another for the New Year. It was a touching moment as we raised our hands in blessing and offered each other these heartfelt words:

May God bless you and keep you!
May God’s face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
May God look upon you kindly and give you peace!
—Numbers 6: 24-26

While there are many ways we can and do bless others by our actions, on this particular occasion I was struck more by the words. As I have reflected on those few lines from Scripture during these first days of the New Year, I have come to realize anew that blessings are equally about words spoken aloud to one another. I have started to think about the importance of words—words that offer hope and encouragement day in and day out, words that create a positive environment where faith can grow, words that deepen the reality of charity and love among us.

We all know that the start of a New Year is traditionally a time to make resolutions. We set goals and try to live those goals so that they become habits. Why not include a resolution to speak words of blessing? Perhaps resolving to speak words of blessing is what will bring about the changes for which we hope in our lives, our families, and our world. Clearly, a resolution of this sort holds great promise.

As you begin this New Year may God enliven your words so that they may bring goodness and care, kindness and love, wherever and to whomever you speak them. Peace to you!

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.