Sister Mary Miller

When I was a novice, I was attracted to this quote by Teilhard de Chardin: “Nothing is profane to those who know how to see.” Given my limited world view at the time, I had a naïve interpretation of its meaning. The lovely children I taught, the caring families I encountered, the simple and sheltered convent life of the time, made it easy for me to see all of life as a reflection of a loving God. Then the years passed and my worldview widened. For instance, I visited Haiti five times and saw unbearable poverty and destitution. I began working at the Emmaus Soup Kitchen and listened daily to story after story of depression, abuse and suffering. Nothing is profane? Really? I wrestled with the meaning of Chardin’s quote until I realized that the key words were “know how to see.” It was up to me to see differently, to take “a long loving look at the real” and find God there. All of it is real—the beauty and suffering, the kindness and greed, the hospitality and loneliness, the sense of justice and oppression. And all of these realities live in me, too. I cannot turn away. I am still learning to embrace all of it with love, with presence and with prayer because “nothing is profane to those who know how to see.”

Sister Mary Miller professed her first vows in 1964 as a Sister of St. Joseph of Erie. During her time with the Sisters of St. Joseph she ministered primarily education, which included teaching and administrative positions in schools in the Diocese of Erie. In 1979 she became involved in social services at the Community House for Women and in 1981 at Emmaus Ministries. In 1984 Sister Mary began a transfer to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, a process that was completed in 1987. She continues to work at Emmaus Ministries, where she has been the director for 33 years.