From Sister Mary
Sister Mary

Dear Friends,
“Blessed is the one who cares for the poor,” is what God proclaims in Psalm 41.

But what kind of “blessing” is promised? Is it a material blessing? As in, if I help the poor, I will get a bigger house, a BMW, and a swimming pool. Or, is it the blessing of a life devoid of suffering or grief, loss and emptiness? If I care for the poor then I won’t get cancer, or my son won’t become addicted to drugs? I don’t think so.

For me the blessing of caring for the poor is internal and only reveals itself in time. Caring for the poor gives you a clear, even frightening, glimpse into your own heart. You recognize your own prejudices and judgements, your own weaknesses and limitations…and that’s a blessing. You recognize how much you need mercy and forgiveness for the hardness of heart buried deep inside you…and that’s a blessing. Hopefully, as the years pass, and you interact closely with the poor, you become more compassionate, quick to forgive and less prone to judge…and that’s a blessing. Your friendship with the poor may even awaken you to act against unjust systems that guarantee poverty for many, riches for a few…and that’s a blessing. In this newsletter we’ve highlighted a few Emmaus people who care for the poor and have received this rich internal blessing of softness of heart, coupled with a righteousness of steel.

But now and then there’s a surprise. Sometimes you see a visible blessing poured on one who cares for the poor. That happened to Kitty and Harvey Welton on their 50th wedding celebration. Kitty and Harvey have volunteered at the soup kitchen for over 20 years and have been pillars of the place during the pandemic.

Because their three children know how devoted they are to Emmaus, they contacted me and said they’d like to pay for a special meal for soup kitchen guests to mark the anniversary. So, in late summer, Kitty and Harvey’s children, their closest friends, and the entire Emmaus staff gathered at the kitchen to raise a glass of champagne in their honor. (Yes, we practiced social distancing.) We had big signs on the windows and doors with the couple’s picture and the words: “This special meal is given in honor of Kitty and Harvey Welton’s 50th wedding anniversary.” Our guests were touched to receive so many “extras” in their take-away dinners, including specially baked cookies with icing that read “Happy 50th, Kitty and Harvey!”

It was quite a tribute, a visible way of saying, “Blessed are you, Kitty and Harvey, who care for the poor.” Blessed, indeed.

In Peace,
Sister Mary