Second Week of Adent
December 6, 2020
Susan Doubet, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, PA
The beginning of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah is a frequent part of the Advent readings, as it is this Sunday: “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. …Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.”
Sometimes I get caught up:caught up in our country’s consumerism attitude in December and even caught up in the more traditional Advent messages of prophesy and calm. This reading reminds me of two of the newer remembrances of early December: December 1, World AIDS Day and December 2, the martyrdom of the four American churchwomen in El Salvador.
Many of our Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries, particularly those in Africa, have ministered for years now to adults, families and orphans suffering the multiple effects of HIV/AIDS, the pandemic that swept the world long before we’d heard of COVID-19.
I am called this Advent to proclaim that there is a fullness of life, even for those whose journey brings such horrid suffering, who particularly need the gift of love and relationship with a creator God who loves us all without exception.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of three American Catholic Sisters Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel and of 27-year-old Jean Donovan who were ministering to the oppressed poor of El Salvador when they were ambushed and killed at the beginning of a 12-year civil war. The story of the young laywomen, Jean Donavan, has been told in the book and subsequent movie, Roses in December. To be part of the annual remembrance of their sacrifice, dedication and refusal to leave the people they loved, has been a privilege and a life-changing experience, renewed every year.
Sister Susan Doubet is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie and is currently a research assistant for Joan Chittister, OSB. She is a former subprioress, secondary teacher/administrator and has worked in numerous areas of communications for over 25 years. Sister Susan has been blogging since 2007 at Light through Stained Glass Windows.