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  • Sr. Ellen Francis, OSH

Leaning on Jesus


During the pandemic, when we were almost completely in cloistered seclusion at the convent, going out only for the most urgent doctor’s appointments or essential shopping, our lives continued with the daily rhythm of prayer, meals, communal time, and work. Some ministries continued online. And, we were praying without ceasing for so many people out in the world.


All these prayers were added to our usual prayers for regular life concerns and for the state of our sisters, our neighbors, and the world. This was a heavy load of prayer. The more I prayed, the more I needed a solid source of spiritual comfort.


Many years ago, when I was a hospice chaplain, I made a first visit with a new patient who was Jewish. This was a Roman Catholic hospital, so when a room was made ready for a new patient, the staff always hung a crucifix on the wall at the foot of the bed where it was clearly visible to anyone in the bed. We were instructed during the first visit to ask if the patient wanted the crucifix, or a plain cross, or whether they wanted us to take it down.


I assumed this Jewish patient would ask me to take it down, but instead he said, “No, leave it up, I can use all the help I can get!” Then he thought for a minute and pointed at the crucifix and added with emphasis, “He knows. He knows what I’m going through.”


During the pandemic, Jesus became my most reliable source of strength and comfort because he is always available to me and because he lived a human life with all its joys and suffering. In times of difficulty, he knows what we are going through. I continue to need his solid reassurance and find that he is indeed always present, understanding, and providing the spiritual strength I need to carry on.


–Sr. Ellen Francis, OSH


What has changed over time in your relationship with Jesus? How are you preparing for the coming of the Christ child this Advent?

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Swartsarah67
14 dic 2023
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

When the pandemic began my husbands health decline also worsened greatly with many falls, trips to er, and hospital stays when I was unable to visit there. It was a trying time on both of us. Our reliance on God and on prayer deepened and Jesus‘ outstretched hands encouraged us each and both to go on, so we did. Since then his health worsened and God came to take Ken home. He left me his smile which I had not seen in 12 years due to his Parkinson’s. That smile reminds me continually of the goodness of heaven.

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ellenfrancisosh
14 dic 2023
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What a blessing to have Ken's smile with you! May God's goodness and love be with you both.

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w2ralegh
10 dic 2023
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

When the pandemic began, I had no idea how long it was going to last. At first it was an annoyance, then it became frightening, and as time went on, I felt more comfortable with it. As long as I took precautions, I felt I would be all right. To some extent that was true. I have never gotten sick, but the loss of direct contacts with my friends and coworkers was very hard to deal with.

But now that so much has returned to normal, I am grateful that I was able to persevere pretty well. I am sure Christ had something to do with my quick recovery. I hope I have been (and continue to be) of som…

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ellenfrancisosh
11 dic 2023
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I agree, the loss of in-person contact has had profound effects. I think we are still learning and processing the pandemic experience, even in the more normal present. I hope we do continue to learn to love and appreciate and pray for all our neighbors.

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donaldfishburne
09 dic 2023
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

Thank you for this.

Our life here on earth begins in birth. And ends perhaps in hospice care. What do we make of the "in between time" in this life and in Advent? This year I see the wonderful delight in life in the face of our first grandchild. And I pray for the children of Israel, the Palestinian territories, and throughout the Middle East and the world. This is part of my preparation for the coming of the Christ child as Savior.

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ellenfrancisosh
11 dic 2023
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Beautiful! The children of this world teach us much about preparation for the Christ child. Let us keep praying for all the children.

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Elizabeth Masterson
Elizabeth Masterson
09 dic 2023
Valutazione 5 stelle su 5.

Jesus's humanity becomes a guide for us in how we are to navigate the difficult times in our lives. But following Jesus's example from what he taught and how he lived can be a challenge. I heard one of the Sisters say that we are given a whole life to work on it.

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ellenfrancisosh
11 dic 2023
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Yes, it is a lifetime project to follow Jesus, and I think the journey itself is spiritually fruitful, even if we don't arrive at the goal of following Jesus perfectly.

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