Sr Mary Kelly, RSM + April 6, 2018
We are a university. Here, people listen, take each other seriously. Teachers listen to students. Some students once told one of our master teachers that s/he was most scary when one of them would say something and s/he would turn around and write that student’s words on the board, circle one and turn around and ask: “Why did you choose that word?” Teachers do that. Listen for the student’s voice, call it forth; expect respect for words. Not only teachers though. Universities call on students to listen to each other, to expect meaning from each other. Also, administrative assistants, staff in the registrar’s office, nurse practitioners in the student wellness center, campus security officers, coaches; lots of listening. On good days, each of us knows that. And on hard days, maybe one of our peers will notice and ask how we are doing, and listen to our story.
Sr. Mary Kelly led and taught by listening, by expecting risk-taking; she noticed fellow members of the university and, in noticing, helped them to believe that she/he has a voice worth listening to. She died about 6:30 this morning. Just as she listened to other people’s voices, all over this university for years, so her voice was a source of grace all those years as well. We will miss her.
Today’s poet, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a pocket-size book of 100 poem-prayers, Gitanjali. Some people say that the Gitanjali 100 are one reason he received the Nobel Prize in Literature on December 10, 1913.
Have a blest weekend.
When Thou commandest me to sing
it seems that my heart would break with pride
and I look to Thy face
and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh and dissonant in my life
melts into one sweet harmony
and my adoration spreads wings like a glad bird
on its flight across the sea.
I know Thou takest pleasure in my singing
I know that only as a singer I come before Thy presence
I touch by the edge of the far spreading wing of my song
Thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.
Drunk with the joy of singing
I forget myself
and call Thee friend
who art my lord.
Tagore Gitanjali # 2