Thursday, January 19, 2012

Show Me Someone Who Has Shown Love to Me…

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13


I can see a myriad of faces, when I think of the people who have influenced me and my walk with the Lord. I considered doing a composite, but I thought no, I want to highlight one person. She’s a lover.  Her name is Sister Mary Liguori and she was my 5th and 6th Grade Teacher at Holy Cross School, in New Britain, CT.

 She came into my life, at a key moment, when circumstances were such, that I sorely needed a positive influence, in my life.

Haven’t you found that the Lord seems to send people into your life that are tailor made for the needs you are having at that time?

I know sometimes it has been fashionable to give nuns a bad rap. I guess like regular teachers, you can have bad eggs but she stood out, in a positive way. Her calling was that of a nun. But she was an influential teacher and a woman to exemplify excellence. Where she shined the brightest, was as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Her influence on me was so great, that I even considered joining the convent.

I wanted to be like her…compassionate and kind... someone who was accepting and encouraging to her students…someone who could see promise in others…someone who loved creative expression …someone who wanted to serve the Lord with everything that was within her… someone who loved the Lord with her whole heart and soul.

As I am such a lover of all things creative, it was attracting to see her ideas in the arts. She was the first person to recognize that I had some talent in that area.

The other highlight for me was being chosen to be part of a team that cleaned the Church. There were 3 nuns (which included Sister Liguori), myself and a fellow classmate named John. It was amazing to be trusted with this job. Again, it was at such a key time for me to have approval from elders.

We polished the Communion Rail. (The smell of lemon oil brings back pleasant memories.) … buffed  the floors in the Sanctuary... poured the water and wine for church services. We laid out the priest’s vestments I think the only thing we didn’t do, was to change the altar cloth.

Holy Cross Church was huge. There were two levels…an upper level that held High Mass and a lower level that held the Children’s Services.  One day, John and I were assigned to finish our work downstairs. I decided to scare him. It was dark. Candles gave a subtle light. I hid in back of the altar behind of a curtain. When I sensed John passing by, I stuck the arm of a damaged statue into his path. Mission accomplished! He hightailed up the stairs. You could say he ran in holy terror!

 I remember that nuns wore a ring, which symbolized their marriage to God. I didn’t realize it then, but now I know that I too am part of the Bride of Christ.

Sister Liguori showed me how to live by faith hope and love…

…and the greatest of these was LOVE.  

Note: I had an idea to see if I could find out any information about her. I sent an email yesterday to the place that I remembered as her Headquarters. Surprisingly, I got a quick answer. The nun who answered my email talked to Sister Liguori.  She could still picture my little face. What???  She was alive??? She still remembered me??? I was so amazed that I not only found out about her…but I found her! I called her last night.  We had a wonderful conversation! She is 83, still actively serving the Lord in multiple ways, as a volunteer. God knew, once again, that I needed a touch of His miraculous hand. Perhaps, Sister Liguori needed to hear from me too.

by Linda Maynard 


Kerry Luddy said...

Linda, what a beautiful story. God is at work in our earliest years, touching us with his love through others, though we may not understand that until years later. I am impressed you took the step to contact her--what a sweet memory you both will now have from that conversation!

Joyce Lighari said...

Once again, tears are near the surface. It is so sweet to honor those who have touched our lives so deeply. I am sure she is rejoicing today in the glow of having talked to a grateful student.
And I see you polishing that rail wanting so much to please the Lord - somethings haven't changed. That is still your one desire, to please the Lord and do your best for Him.

Doug Spurling said...

So...did John go on to become Jenna's pastor? A Holy Terror to all of hell?

Thanks for a great post...Sister Liguori showed me how to live by faith hope and love - and love never fails. Lovely.

Andrea York said...

It's especially lovely to know you've reconnected with her.

She is in contrast to a brief conversation I had with another Catholic woman this week. I asked her, "Do you have a relationship with Jesus?" She replied, "No, I'm Catholic."

Thanks for sharing about this lovely woman of God - who knows Jesus AND is a Catholic.

Linda Maynard said...

Just a note to everyone...
John became a Priest and has a Parish in Alabama, I believe. I wrote to him a few years ago, after the prompting of his father, whom I met at a funeral. John forgot the incident but it was so good to connect with him.
He was really an outstanding young man and loved the Lord

Jessica said...

What an amazing story. I recently had a dream about Sister Liguori so I decided to google her name and found this wonderful story! She really was an amazing teacher.

Jessica said...

Is she currently in Ohio? I have seen Sister Marlene on multiple occasions because she is living in New Britain. I would love to speak to her again, hard to forget a women like that! To this day I remember how she always told me, "When you sing, you pray twice".