Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A Saint That We Can See
I encountered her name long ago reading a plaque on a wall. I came to know her as a philanthropist and physician who devoted her life to unpopular causes. She gave herself to the service of those that society wanted to ignore. She reached out her hand and heart to those stigmatized by popular perception. I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus helping the lepers.
Drug addiction, sex education and AIDs became banners of light put forth so the world would have to look … would have to do something besides ignore reality. She would not let them sweep it under the rug. She was at times vilified. I know her family suffered and sacrificed as they attempted to live their lives under the gaze and attack of those who would let prejudices and fear rule the public discourse.
I came to know her as one of the kindest, gentlest beings I have ever encountered. I went to her once to express my discomfort and doubt about belonging. She invited me into her kitchen. She looked into my eyes as she touched my hand and she told me she loved me. She told me that God loved me and that not only was I worthwhile but that I was a gift. She gave me permission to love myself and reach out of my comfort zone for the grace that God has given to us all.