Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 28, 2004
Forge a vision for the future
Nun urges Caritas leaders to map out health policy for tomorrow
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Society must imagine the future we are creating for our children, declared Sister Aurore Larkin.
"I am worried about the legacy we will leave behind, given the utter disregard for human life, indiscriminate consumption of natural resources and rampant pollution," said Larkin, superior general of the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) of Montreal.
What will health care, the Church or even family sanctity be worth in a century? What are we willing to pay now for a beneficial future?
"We are facing challenges that include the future of Canada's health care system, chronic disease and public health issues like SARS or the West Nile virus, the shortage of health care professionals and ethical dimensions of advanced technology," she said.
As keynote speaker at Caritas Health Group's annual general meeting June 17 at the Crowne Plaza-Chateau Lacombe, Larkin called on our collective conscience to find imaginative ways of healing and preserving ourselves and the earth for a future that will belong to others.
The next century
"The Grey Nuns and Misericordia Sisters are indeed proud to be part of this rich tapestry . . . as Edmonton celebrates its 100th birthday, but the next century needs us more than ever," Larkin said.
She presented Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered in 1980 while celebrating Mass in El Salvador, as a shining visionary.
"He said we are prophets of a future not our own."
Our vision, his vision and a true vision is understood as a unique image much like Sisters of Charity founder Margu‚rite d'Youville and Misericordia Sisters founder Rosalie Cadron-Jette witnessed.
What caught these women's imaginations and that of Romero's?
"I think it was a deep and profound human, spiritual and social understanding of the needs of the people around them," Larkin said.
"Both these women were wife, mother and widow at a young age.
"They had plenty to attend to with their personal situations, yet they responded to the many unmet needs of others in the midst of dire poverty."
Because of their creative imaginations, they found ways to do all kinds of things that at the time, most people thought women were incapable of doing.
"And today, we want to continue their mission entrusted to us more than 260 years ago. We have yet to discover every imaginable solution to move on in hope."
Larkin recently read an article with a quote from the Book of Proverbs: "Where there is no vision the people get out of hand."
"Caritas has a beautiful vision that we are called to serve, to restore people to wholeness with respect, dignity and compassion. We are called to work together with others as stewards of a rich legacy . . . seekers driven to greater service embracing change with hope and courage. A very attuned vision."
So what is the solution?
"Today, it seems we attempt more questions than answers. Could it be that there is nothing wrong with the vision itself?
"Maybe the challenge is in how we share the vision," she said.
Stop and contemplate
Larkin said we must stop frantic lifestyles in order to develop a contemplative stance surrendering our hearts to God.
"I am convinced we cannot be creative and inspirational to allow our imaginations to renew themselves if we do not allow ourselves to take time alone in silence, in a sacred space before our God," she said.
"We must surrender to God not to give up, but to move on.
"We know that Margu‚rite d'Youville found her unifying strength in profound contemplation of God as Father.
"She came to appreciate that all human beings are sisters and brothers. Her vision became one of universal charity."