The Force of Her Focus – UPDATED

The Force of Her Focus – UPDATED August 25, 2010

Marks ’10/Kris Snibble (Photosource)

Readers may remember a post from the spring, featuring Mary Anne Marks, Harvard ’10, and her salutatory address, given in Latin, with not a notecard in sight.

In this interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez, you can feel the force of her focus; she is like a laser.

The cry that the Church is a “dying, loser organization of sinners” echoes down the centuries; it rang out in Christ’s day, it rang out in Luther’s day, and it rings out in ours. The second part always has and always will be too true. Kyrie eleison. The erroneousness of first part is suggested by the Church’s record of accomplishments and its longevity to this point, and by the new growth that people of my generation rejoice to see.

Currently, Marks is focused beginning her postulancy–along with 22 other young women– with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist; her vocation has clearly been in her sights for a long time:

In eighth grade, after I had committed myself entirely to God during a trip to Lourdes the previous summer. Until then, I had lived a double life, drawn on the one hand to immerse myself in the beauty of my faith, on the other to imitate the less than edifying dress, speech, and behavior of my classmates. Kneeling before the tabernacle in the lower church at Lourdes, I was filled with an understanding of God as Love and a yearning to love Him at all times in everything I did, no matter what anyone else thought. Freed from the need to conform to others’ standards and willing to make Love the ruling principle of my life, I could speak unashamedly and sincerely of my desire to become a sister.

You’ll want to read the whole interview, and check out videotaped interview at Deacon Greg’s

Meanwhile, let us remember another enormously focused woman of the church:

Mother Teresa struggled intensely with her spiritual life. And this makes what she accomplished even more extraordinary and her example more meaningful to me. It also vaults her, in my opionion, into the company of the very greatest saints in the church. For many of the saints have done what she accomplished—founded religious orders, helped the poor, led a life of heroic virtue. Few, perhaps none, have done so in the face of complete spiritual darkness. Her ministry, based as it was on a singularly intimate encounter with Jesus that would gradually fade into silence, whether lengthy or lifelong, is a remarkable testimony of fidelity of the greatest kind.

Nothing so binds me to Mother Teresa as this facet of her life, and I have found, when telling this story to others, whether in articles, in homilies or on retreats, nothing so deepens their appreciation of her holiness.

But I knew none of this when, as a Jesuit novice in 1988, I was working with the Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, Jamaica. All I knew was that Mother Teresa’s sisters worked hard, were cheerful with everyone in the hospice, and asked the Jesuit novices only to follow their example.

Danielle Bean: Is Mother Teresa Embarrassed?

Nun Sense, Women in the Catholic Church
The Myth of Held-Back Catholic Women
Miserable Nuns
August Vocation Round-Up
More Miserable Nuns

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