Building a Better World

Sr. Mechtilde O'Mara, CSJ

On Monday, March 9, Sister Mechtilde O'Mara, CSJ, gave a lecture entitled "Building a Better World, One Neighbourhood at a Time." Sr. Mechtilde discussed the good works of the Sisters of St. Joseph over the past centuries and explored what it means to be a neighbour.

The Sisters have a long history of providing care to oppressed and marginalized members of society. In 18th century France, the Sisters started a lace making industry that employed girls who would otherwise have been involved in prostitution. Since then the Sisters have contributed to the education of girls who were often under-educated. In Toronto, the Sisters have been leaders in building neighbourhood and infrastructure to serve community. Among the many organizations they have founded are: St. Michael’s Hospital, Providence Villa, and the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Sister Mechtilde outlined the challenges that must be overcome in building neighbourhood:

  1. The first challenge is to identify "Who is my neighbor?” … The initiative and answer comes form God and our experience of God’s love.
  2. The challenge of Ego – our own and that of others… Continuously asking “what is for the common good in this situation?” can help to overcome ego.
  3. Discouragement that comes from the lonely struggle of one who is trying without a lot of success to meet a very real need in our neighbourhood … Prayer and friendship are two great allies in facing this challenge.
  4. Overwhelmed by the amount of need … Remember that each of us in only one small part in the Mystical Body of Christ and no one person can do it all.

"Who is Your Neighbour?" Jesus answered that question with the parable of the Good Samaritan. We must allow our heart to guide us in doing good works in our communities.

By a Theology on Tap Volunteer