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This year, at the graduation at Campion College, a Jesuit college in Regina, Saskatchewan, our mission house, Marian Centre Regina, was awarded the St. Edmund Campion Medal. The following is excerpted from the acceptance speech of the director of Marian Centre.
We would like to share with you a few words which guided the life of Catherine Doherty, the woman who began our community 75 years ago.
“Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.”
Our lives are transformed when we realize that everything we do, every day, makes a difference when it is done with love.
Everything from taking out the garbage and peeling potatoes for supper to being attentive to an unexpected phone caller, to persevering to the last page of your last exam, to exercising patience with each other in the small trials of daily life. All these things, when done intentionally as an act of love, become life-giving for ourselves and a source of life for others.
Our lives at the Marian Centre are very simple, and the work we do is repetitive and arduous at times. But love transforms them into something very special, bright.
On the inside of our back door is a sign which reads “Christ is at the door.” It reminds us—especially when we are tired—who we are about to greet when we open that door.
Christ himself said, Whatsoever you do to the least person, you do to me (Mt 25:40). When we remember this, then responding to (yet another) request for anything—clothing, food, a transit ticket, another pair of gloves—becomes a moment of excitement.
We have not done anything new, but something new has happened. We have encountered a person. We have encountered Christ.
Years ago, when one of our patrons was having a very hard time and was feeling really down on himself, I challenged him, “No! You are a child of God.”
Almost ten years later, after I had not seen this person in all that time, I encountered him very early in the morning at our back door.
From a distance he shouted to me, “I know who you are. You called me a child of God!”
I was humbled, touched, and amazed—and reminded that our little gestures and words of kindness make a difference, even if we never hear of it.
Each of you graduates is on the cusp of a bright future. The world needs your talents, your imagination, your unique personalities. But most especially, the world needs your loving attention to each task that is asked of you.
It needs your living faith in the Living God. It needs your readiness to serve Christ in every person that comes into your life.
Thank you for rising to the challenge.
The Edmund Campion Medal is awarded for “outstanding service of faith and promotion of justice.”