It is amazing that I am writing this blog post around the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux whom I consider an icon of love, patience, and perseverance. As I reflected on these virtues, I uncovered how essential they may be to pastoral works. In fact, the technology training for the Haitian Creole Community in the Diocese of Brooklyn, conducted in the beginning of the fall RENEW season testifies to the benefits of their implementation.
From registration to participation in the workshop, the challenges were present; but reference to these virtues led to a successful session. We patiently found ways to overcome the hurdles of not having a reliable device or an active email to use for registration, or inability to access the meeting via the given link, or use of a telephone that does not allow video connection. Nevertheless, with patience and perseverance, we prevailed! The group was very enthusiastic about exploring technology platforms for their faith-sharing meetings.
What seemed intimidating has become fascinating. “Although we were not raised using technology, it doesn’t mean that we cannot learn it;” “Nowadays, technology runs the world, we need to keep up with the changes.” These were among the motivational expressions shared by some of the participants who want to break the social isolation experience of COVID 19. This sentiment coupled with the risk-free environment promoted their eagerness to learn. How could one not support such enthusiasm?
St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, “We must never refuse anyone, even when it costs us much pain…. I must anticipate the desires of others; show that we are much obliged, very honored to be able to render service.” I felt that I was obliged to assist the participants with logging in, and, not just having them participate in the meeting, but keeping them engaged, while also ensuring that they understood how to use the different platforms explored during the meeting. The ability to show patience, understanding, and perseverance contributed to bolster their confidence to develop their technological skills.
In Matthew 5:14 we learn that we are “The light of the world.” Thus, we cannot be impatient, or negligent towards someone who needs our support. Any simple act that can brighten someone’s life or can contribute to his or her personal or spiritual growth is valuable, as long as it is done with love. Hence, let us continue to illuminate the world through serving with love, patience, and perseverance.
Photo credit: Gabriel Benois
Dr. Sœurette Fougère is a pastoral consultant for RENEW International who helps Haitian Creole parishes in Brooklyn implement RENEW programs. She recently trained parish leaders on how to run RENEW small groups virtually.