Advent 3, Year A, Matthew 11: 2-1
“The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear.
The dead are raised and poor have the good
News preached to them.”
Miracles are more about commitment and tenacity than magic. In Haiti Sr. Joan, a young Boston lass and a Sister of St Margaret arrived to grinding poverty. When she asked a man what would happen to the blind child he held, he told her, “The child will die.” Sr. Joan scooped the child in her arms and announced, “She will not!” Thus, St Vincent’s School and Hospital began in Port Au Prince. Sr. Joan has since died. During her lifetime she brought the Sisters of St Margaret to Haiti. Many doctors, dentists and others came from the States and around the world to help the school as it expanded to teach the blind to read and to play the violin and to learn skills for their survival. One of her students, a blind man now is a teacher in the school. Another,a teenager, played his violin at Symphony Hall in Boston. There was ne’er a dry eye in the house. Sr. Joan knew how to make miracles happen.
She expanded to a school for children with other handicaps and poor children from the neighborhood. One of the children who were one of Sr. Joan’s students knew her as a strict task master. This woman who was a member of the parish I served in Connecticut is a homeowner and a single mother with three fantastic and beautiful and talented children, and she holds a good position with a health care organization.
Sister Joan expanded the work of St Vincent’s to the lame she provided them with orthopedic surgeons who would come and stay for weeks and months at a time, and provided and constructed prosthesis for those who had need of them. She outfitted the deaf with therapy, hearing aids and taught them braille and sign language.
A few miles away an order of Roman Catholic Nuns makes a home for lepers. While there limbs do not regenerate, they live in a spotless facility with a courtyard and patios overlooking it. In the middle of the courtyard is a twenty foot Poinsettia tree. Yes a tree. The flowers are yellow, orange, red and green and they were in abundance in late April when we were there.
In the women’s dormitory, a woman with no legs or fingers sat on her bed. She knitted with the joint of her thumb and forefinger. The product was childlike and in its way a work of art.
Miracles happen because people of faith refuse to turn away from God’s poor. They believe that the blind, deaf, lame and the poor can be healed and given tools for life. Miracles are more a product of commitment and tenacity than magic. Go to Haiti and see for yourself, or visit a local soup kitchen this Christmas. It will open your eyes, break your heart, and give you hope.