A few words from Sister Joan in her latest Newsletter seemed extremely pertinent to me. I thought I would relay her words:
You Will Do Quite Well
When the phone call came, I remember the shudder of intuition that went down my arms. Sister Theophane, they told me, one of the strongest, most intelligent, most formative people in my life, the woman because of whom I had finally recovered from polio, had collapsed at one of our small houses in the inner city. The ambulance was on its way, they said. From ten miles out of town, I made it to the house before the paramedics did. “I’m going now, Joan,” she said when I dropped to my knees beside her. A nurse before she entered, a caretaker all her life, I had no doubt that she knew what she was saying.
“Sister,” I pleaded like any young disciple in the throes of fear at the loss of a mentor. “Hang on. Please hang on. Don’t go.”
She was lying on the floor beside the bed with her eyes closed, her hands clutching her chest. “No, it’s all right,” she said. “It’s over now.”
I was desperate. “But, Sister,” I could hear myself getting more insistent, “you can’t go.” I was fairly shouting now. “What about me!”
Her eyelids flickered for a second, she gave a long, tired breath, and she said very quietly, “History records, dear, that you will do quite well.” Sister Theophane lingered for forty days, but those were the last words she ever said. I have carried them in my heart ever since. They were a life lesson of immense proportion that simply went on growing and growing and growing in me.
The fact is that history records that we all really do quite well, however we do. Transitions complete us. We ripen. We learn. We hurt. We survive one thing after another. And we go on, whatever the odds against us. Then, in the end, we gain what we came to get—a kind of well-worn, hard-won wisdom. One way or another life batters us until we get the unavoidable. Sometimes we get it with glory; sometimes we get it in disgrace. Whatever the circumstances, the problem is that we all too seldom bother to stop and notice how much we have become in the process.
–from Called To Question by Joan Chittister (Sheed & Ward)