Sr. John Says


Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Sr. John Michele Southwick, IHM, Special Contributor to The Wood Word

“There is too much broken that must be mended.” -Denise Levertov

Ten years ago, there was an anonymous story printed in a social justice newsletter about the feelings of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Weeks after 9/11, a group of tourists were walking in the New Mexico desert and looking in awe at the vast horizon and the beautiful late September sun. After the marvelous tour, someone asked the Native people there how they had heard about 9/11 and what they thought about it. For a very long time there was nothing but silence and then every Native person moved together and chanted the phrase “all my relations, all my relations.”

One of the elders spoke: “We are so sorry, it was our fault. How they must have suffered to do such a thing as a last resort. How could we not have noticed and responded to them before they were reduced to such horror and violence against others in despair and rage?”

The Pueblo people believe that everything is connected and we are all ONE and we must learn that, and to take responsibility for what happens around us. The choices we make become societal choices, and often we do not even notice the pain that others around us are suffering, and sometimes it is because of us that they are suffering.

As I look around these days, I ask myself, what is it that I see that I can mend with a kind word, a smile, a gentle reaching out? How can I touch the pain in the world, so it doesn’t grow into the rage and hatred that sparked a violence that has lasted so long?