MOSAIC Spring 2017 - Page 29

What happened then? A few month after high school, on August 15, 1952, on the feast of the Assumption of Mary, I “set out and travelled” to follow Mary in the Gospel of Luke from the east side to the north end of Detroit, to 356 Ar- den Park, where I became a HVM postu- lant, then novice, then professed sister. “Under the influence” of Sister Mary and Sister May Agnes and each other, we continued to grow in wisdom and prayer and works of mercy. But Jesus is the origi- nal “home visitor.” What are some memorable experiences doing ministry in the inner city? Every day and every person in our Holy City is a memorable experience. One of our North End ministries during the late ’60s and early ’70s was the Catho- lic Center, in an abandoned Jewish grocery store. Each young man who came to the center was my life-teacher. One young man, Glen, came up missing and was found dead. I went to “visit” Glen at the funeral home. That night when I stood before Glen’s casket with Pat and Tyrone, with Ollie called “Chicken” and Eddie called “Preacher,” I saw the Body of Christ under the appearance of the murdered Glen. That night I prayed and I knew: In the daily Liturgy, Jesus is lifting up our broken city of Detroit and claiming, “This city is my Body.” During all of these years, I am looking at the city and I see the Body of Christ. De- troit is the city of my birth and vocation, and it is daily grace and Eucharist for me. You have a BA in sociology and two masters degrees, in theology from Marquette and re- ligious anthropology from Duquesne. Was it typical for HVM sisters to be sent for higher education back in the 1960s? After novitiate, every Home Visitor went immediately to Marygrove College not to teach but to “learn and be changed.” What are the circumstances of you being hired at Sacred Heart in the late 1960s, right after earning your degree from Duquesne? I was invited by Fr. Ed Farrell, who was on the faculty at Sacred Heart and was the con- fessor of the Home Visitors. He asked me to lead his Charles de Foucauld fraternity meeting with the undergraduate seminar- ians. I eventually began to teach his spiri- tuality course and gave class retreats and co-taught with Father various parish and diocesan events on prayer. Fr. Ted Ozog was the rector. He gave me a room, an office, and courses to teach. He asked Bishop Schoenherr if I could oversee the seminarians’ apostolic ministry place- ment “just for one year” until they found a replacement. The rest is history! You are in your fifth decade of pastoral for- mation of seminarians. Has your formational approach changed through the years? Yes, every day. I am more changed by them. We are growing into a new freedom where we are able to talk about racism more openly. The inclusion of so many Chal- dean seminarians has changed us. It has changed our understanding of the Middle East; we are being changed by Chaldean prayer, liturgy, and family table, especially by enjoying meals in Chaldean homes. I can’t forget my eighth grade conversa- tion with God, that “I am not a teacher or a nurse.” During all of these years of being a teacher, Jesus takes me back to happily visit these early discernments. Every Home Visi- tor is a teacher and continues to receive the gift of teaching back from each student. What are some important advisements you have given seminarians through the years? “Live under the influence” of Jesus. “Keep yo ur eyes fixed on Jesus.” Often we live under the influence of fear. But we have a call to live under Jesus. But that does not exclude fear. Jesus was afraid. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit, to look at another person, to receive the gift of “looking” and “receiving.” An example. Last week in a suburb after a funeral, I went into a Rite Aid store. I came out and a man was getting out of his car next to me, he was a black man in a white suburb. I purposely made the deci- sion to “look” at him as I was going from the store to the car. It ended up we knew each other from the North End—and we prayed with each other! “Oh, Jesus, you have got to come on this lady!” he prayed. Right in front of the Rite Aid. The park- ing lot became a “sanctuary.” Take our Halloween outreach. It is not about how much candy we give out or how many children come that determines “success.” It depends on whether or not something deep down within me has been changed about how I see a neighbor. You have done so much ministry work be- yond your duties at the seminary. Is there one you would like to cite as noteworthy to your vocational calling? Did you intend to remain at Sacred Heart this long? Were there any times when you almost left? Befriending strangers. By “looking” at the stranger, like the man at the Rite Aid. I continue to “receive my vocation” and appointment from our Home Visitor com- munity and the seminary. I have never “not wanted” to be here. For all of these years, I have thoroughly enjoyed my ministry at the seminary. I will stay here as long as the seminarians and lay students can be the “home visitors.” [Sister Finn trains seminarians to go into the homes of neighbors and in nursing homes as ministers of Holy Communion.] Is this the essence of your spirituality? The essence of my spirituality is the other person. Jesus and the other person. Any thoughts about retirement? I will be eighty-three this year. I am having too much fun! I regularly look at the ho- rizon looking for retirement—and I don’t see it yet. I keep looking. I don’t see it any- where! H OW WO U L D YO U L I K E TO B E R E M E M B E R E D ? I would like on my tombstone: “May she rest in peace— after one more stop.” shms.edu 27