Saturday, 28 February 2015

My three sisters

Before I came to Grenada I was lucky enough to have an amazing sister in my life. My twin sister, Ceilidh, has been an ardent supporter of my trip here; and sometimes I think it is costing her almost
as much as it is costing us! She has organized a barrel of computers for NEWLO, used her house as a cross dock for shipping barrels and coordinated a barrel care package for us when we fist arrived.

But now I have a couple of other sisters in my life.

Sisters Margaret & MaryAnn
I have to admit until I came to Grenada I had never met a nun. In fact I knew very few Catholics. One of my mom's dear friends, Rosemary, is Catholic and very active in her church. My cousin married a Catholic when I was between 10-13- Cathy who is awesome (good choice Ben)! It was the first and the second to last time I was in a Catholic church! A good friend in high school, Melanie is Catholic and that was the sum total of my experience and understanding of Catholicism.

I was a bit nervous at the thought of reporting to a nun. Truly the only nuns I had ever seen were in The Sound of Music. If you are giggling, I bet for most of you the same holds true! Unless you are from Quebec or a really large city, nuns are not present in most communities. So I did not know what to expect.

When I met Sister Margaret for the first time it was my second day in the country and I was soooo hot. I hadn't realized I was meeting the partners so I was wearing a sleeveless top and capris- not at all appropriate attire for a meeting. I immediately felt judged by the representative of the other organization and was extremely self conscious.

Then in floated Sister Margaret. I say floated because she moves so fast that her grey habit seems to have her floating through a room. She gave me a warm welcome and a hug. She then whipped out her Samsung smart phone and checked something and I was thinking "wow!!". Not what I expected.

In fact, now I see her habit as silver, as she is constantly the silver lining in any situation.

Sister Margaret is small in stature but
big in presence. Sometime I forget she is shorter than I am because her personality just fills a room. Some people fill a room by being loud, she fills a room by being warm. I swear sometimes I feel like she is just exuding goodwill to everyone that just fills up all the empty space in the staff room.

Me, Sister Margaret and Roberta Ellis from Cuso
As an executive director she is juggling so many responsibilities, sometimes I feel tired for her when I think of all she has to do. She is hands down the best manager I have ever had. She is results based and so if you are getting results she gives you room. Similarly if you aren't doing what she expects she is going to address it. She is also incredibly astute, I would not ever want to try to put something past her, she would see through it quickly. Under her calm demeanour is an active mind and is one of the most "thought full" people I have met in Grenada.

She balances so well her professional presence and her personal presences. She has a great sense of humour and will laugh as hard as the next person at a funny story. She truly loves the trainees and sees them as her children. Like a good mother she is comforting but also instills personal responsibility and consequences to help them grow into responsible adults.

Now my last sister. Sister MaryAnn is originally (and proudly) from Saint Vincent's and the Grenadines. She did not come to the sisterhood early in her life, which makes her very "worldly". Where Sister Margaret has a big presence because she just radiates confidence, Sister MaryAnn radiates joy and merriment. When I am at NEWLO my day is just not complete unless I have found her to spend a few minutes. You just want to be near her to catch her energy.

Having said that Sister MaryAnn will also tell it exactly as it is. If you are being simplistic or narrow minded (something she really doesn't tolerate well) she'll call you out.

If ever I met someone who embodied "work hard, play hard" it is Sister. I have given up trying to catch a bus with her in the morning. She is always way earlier to work than I am, usually by a good half hour! But watch her play dominoes and she is slamming those tiles down! She also loves to dance. So much so she teaches dance classes for the parish children on Saturday mornings.

I already take the bus home with her when I am at NEWLO and in the coming months we are going to be taking a course together on Tuesday evenings. I am looking forward to getting to know her even better outside of work.

I now understand why nuns are called sisters. I really feel like I have gained sisters by having these two in my life.

I would be remiss not to mention one up and coming sister. My friend from Canada@150 Sara Rudolph has recently given her life over to the Loretto Sisters. Before coming to Grenada I would have thought she was nuts!! Who does that in this day and age? But as with everything, experience brings understanding. Now I feel so inspired by her journey. I know that she will have a life filled with purpose, serving others in a way she never could have as a public servant. I have been following her blog on her spiritual journey into the sisterhood, if you have a chance take a look.

In less than one month my real sister comes to visit me (HOORAY)  and I am really hoping we will have time to meet my adopted sisters. Because it turns out you can never have too many sisters.

1 comment:

  1. Sara, this is so beautiful and humbling. I have never met anyone who is so forth coming with their honest thoughts as you are. You are indeed the most lively and result-oriented volunteer we have worked with. You are a blessing to NEWLO and me presonally. I love you!