What a weather morning here in Chicago. Went to the gym for my 6:00 A.M. spin class, and when I tried to get to the car, all heck broke loose. Thunder, lightning, and rain, rain, rain. It's been quite a few weeks here in Chicago.
Did you read the story about the religious sister who was killed by a drunk driver? There were two other sisters in the car as well, and they remain hospitalized. You can read the story here and here.
It seems that the intoxicated man (Carlos Montano) was an illegal immigrant. Local and federal authorities are using the incident to point out flaws in current immigration laws. While this incident surely shows some inherent problems, the real crux of the story for Catholics (and others) is in the response by the deceased sister's convent.
This is the statement released by the convent: "The Benedictine Sisters are dismayed and saddened that this tragedy has been politicized, and become an apparent forum for the illegal immigration agenda." The spokesperson, Sister Andrea Verchuck, said that she would rather focus on the needless tragedies caused by drinking and driving, and on forgiveness, in memory of Sister Denise Mosier. Sister Andrea went on to say this: "If she had been conscious at the time that she was taken from the wreck, if Carlos had been there, she would have said, 'Carlos, I forgive you.' "
Here's photo of Sister Denise Mosier. Look carefully at the words she is pointing to on the chalkboard, as well as the other words:
When I read stories like this, stories that remind us of the Christian heroism of religious sisters like Sisters Denise and Andrea, I am moved beyond words. I often wake up each morning and wonder how Christ will be made present to me in the unfolding of the day's events. Today, Christ was made present through the witness of these consecrated women.
When my life takes strange turns and I fall into sinfulness, I often am filled with doubt, doubt as to whether or not forgiveness is even possible. The words of Sister Andrea stand as a reminder today that, just as Sister Denise would have said "Carlos, I forgive you," so does the Lord look squarely at me, his beloved sinner, and say "Jerry, I forgive you."
In the words of Saint Julie Billiart, another one of my heroes (the foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), "Ah, qu'il est bon, le bon Dieu!" Ah, how good is the good God.
Sister Denise Mosier, may the angels lead you into paradise, may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.
And Carlos Montano, may you know how good is our good, loving, and forgiving God.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.