What I can do, however, is give thanks for some of the work done by Sisters here in the city of Erie. Just a few weeks ago, the annual Italian Festival was held in the historic Little Italy section of town. My wife and I never miss it. Not only does Sharon have a family connection to the Italian immigrants who gave the neighborhood its identity and name, but some of our friends and neighbors are involved in leading the festival. Whatever it was like in its older heyday (and I often wish I could time travel to see that), it has become a challenged inner city area. Among those who are working hard to revitalize the neighborhood, not as it was, but as it could be, are the Sisters of St. Joseph, through the Neighborhood Network.
More recently I took part in a Take Back the Site Vigil. These are occasions when Sisters from the various communities in Erie gather folks to places in the city where murder has occurred. With Scripture readings, prayer, and blessing, the site is reclaimed from violence for the purposes intended by God. It was my humble honor to be there. Here is the scene as I approached the corner:
And a report from the Erie Benedictines with a link to more photos on GoErie.com.
I am deeply grateful for the courage and witness of these Sisters, and for their constant hospitality toward me. They are trusting in God now, without dwelling in the past or being anxious about the future.