Prophet of Peace on the Feast of Scholastica

Prophet of Peace on the Feast of Scholastica

To do right, to love goodness, to walk humbly with God.

We often, though not always, use this brief scripture from the prophet Micah for the Prophet of Peace Celebration. This year, I find it to be especially relevant as we come together to honor our 2019 Prophet of Peace, Edwina Gateley.

Micah and Edwina share some things in common. Micah’s words to his people, in large part, involved a call for justice in many areas. Micah condemned mistreatment of women and children; he reproached unjust leaders, defended the rights of the poor, and preached a powerful message of social justice. He followed God’s command to stand up and speak out against injustice. He laid out what God required of all: To do right—to act justly, to love goodness and mercy, to walk humbly with God.

To act justly—to act in a just way towards others, to live with a sense of right and wrong, to see injustice and act to bring justice to a situation. Edwina, modern day prophet and tonight’s Prophet of Peace has clearly taken those words to heart. She has given her life working for women and raising the issues of sexism and racism in church and society internationally, nationally, locally. She has listened to countless women who have suffered this kind of injustice, heard their stories, and committed to walk with them, pray for them, and use her voice to advocate for them. Edwina has stood with and for women who are the most marginalized and disposable in our society. As the founder of Volunteers in Mission, which sends volunteers to communities in need throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and Genesis House, for women in prostitution in Chicago, she has served at a personal level and invited many others to join her in creating organizations to continue the ministry. As a poet, preacher and retreat leader Edwina, to this day, challenges and empowers individuals, groups, communities to do the same.

To love goodness and mercy . . . to not simply love goodness and mercy but to desire to show goodness and mercy. Every act of mercy and love requires that our hearts are in it. God has a heart of justice and mercy; God wants us to have a God-heart. Edwina has a God-heart—she is contemplative, authentic and passionate about justice and mercy and love and . . . the list goes on. She adopted and raised an African-American son, modeling a sustained personal commitment to raising a child and creating a diverse family. Her God-heart has allowed her to be a woman of courage and care, kindness and love.

To walk humbly with God . . . God desires that we walk with God, to be engaged in a contemplative relationship with God that is made visible through action. To walk with God so to experience life through God in the person of Christ—to see what Jesus saw, to love as Jesus did, to understand what caused Jesus to weep so we can uphold the Gospel that challenges us to live in the world being his hands and feet and eyes and self, working for the way things should be. That is what prophets do: they work for the way things should be. Edwina has done this faithfully and intentionally. She has acted locally, presenting before city council to oppose the “tire plant,” reading her poetry at the climate march, joining marches and rallies in support of peace, women, immigrant rights, and health care—always walking with God and working to make things the way they should be.

Because of all of this and more, we see in Edwina Gateley, a Prophet of Peace, a woman of contemplation and action, a woman living the Gospel and being the good news for others, a woman who exemplifies the corporate commitment of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie by being a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace by working for sustainability and justice, especially for women and children.

And so, Edwina, I invite you to please come forward to receive this award that names you our 2019 Prophet of Peace.

Presentation of Prophet of Peace Award

Edwina Gateley, you embody the corporate commitment of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie as a prophetic witness for peace and justice.

Tonight we extend our annual Prophet of Peace Award to you—

—a poet, theologian, artist, writer, lay minister, single mom and passionate lover of God, who has ministered with the most vulnerable and advocated fiercely against sexism and racism in church and society.

—founder of the Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM), with over 3,000 volunteers having been sent to communities in need throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

—originator of Genesis House, a safe-house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution in Chicago, IL in 1993.

—a woman who continues to lead challenging, empowering retreats for women in recovery from prostitution and addiction, as well as for many other groups and communities around the globe.

We honor you.
We applaud your life’s work.
We pray for the courage to follow your example.

May you continue to do right, love goodness and mercy, and walk humble with your God and with the support of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie.

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.