By Sr. Teresita Weind, SNDIn 1980, in Fair Oaks, California, Candice Lightner started Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) after her 13-year old daughter, Cari, was killed by 46-year old, Clarence Busch, a hit-and-run drunk driver. MADD is now a non-profit organization in the USA that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking and promote policy and legislation against the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol. MADD is an action illustrating the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
Given at the 2011 Jubilee Mass, California Province
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison, those who sit in darkness.
In 1988, in Israel, Women in Black began as an international movement to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Dressed in black and holding signs, the women drew attention to their causes: the end of injustice, war and violence. When the women protest, they stand in silence. There is no chanting of slogans and no shouting.
Since 1988 more groups of Women in Black have sprung up around the world to protest local and regional conflicts. These women are a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, opening eyes that are blind, bringing prisoners from the dungeon, and freeing those who sit in darkness.
In 1936, 1951 and 1961, the women we celebrate today amplified their response to the covenant, with the response, "I say yes, my Lord," to a way of life that makes the prophecy of Isaiah and Mary's Magnificat a living reality. When these women heard God say, "I am the Lord, that is my name," each of them found a way to turn God's acclamation into experience through their words, silent presence and provocative advocacy to enable others to see and feel the presence of this good God.
Jubilarians, you are the women, living, praying and working with and among other women and men, who made God's name known and who kept the Magnificat alive even during the 1980s when the government of Guatemala banned the public recitation of the Magnificat because of the subversive message in the central verbs that express God's help to the lowly: show strength, scatter, pull down, lift up, fill up, and send away.
Each of you has 50, 60 and 75 years of living the covenant. You have ministered with many women and men who were and are inspired by the generous commitment of your loving service. The call to an Apostolic, Consecrated, and Vowed Life is to be IN the world, encouraging and inspiring family, friends, colleagues and companions to collaborate in living the covenant and gospel imperatives.
This jubilee celebrates God's call of and for you and your response to be in union with the Word Mary carried and birthed into Flesh. All gathered here today celebrate your "Yes!" to love God with all of who you are, and to be in world God loved so much that God poured out divinity into flesh and blood, becoming one with and among human beings!Archbishop Oscar Romero phrased the call for all disciples of the Risen Christ:
"I'm going to speak to you simply as a pastor, as one who, together with his people, has been learning the beautiful but harsh truth that the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it; the church is not a fortress set apart from the city. The church follows Jesus, who lived, worked, struggled, and died in the midst of a city, in the polis."
As Sisters of Notre Dame, disciples of Jesus, you have embraced Mary of the Magnificat as your model for revealing the God who said "I am the Lord; that is my name." This is the God whom you proclaim as GOOD; the God who acts through you and with you for the sake of the disinherited, lowly and oppressed: showing strength, scattering, pulling down, lifting up, filling up, and sending away.
With all of the assembled believers here today, "I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for each and all of you, because of your living the covenant and sharing in the gospel from the first day until now."
Congratulations, Sisters! Julie, Geraldine, Theresa, Patricia, Mary, Carolyn, Bernadette, Margaret, Andrea, Peter Joseph, Susan, Nancy and Elizabeth! May your words and actions always name and proclaim the greatness and the goodness of the Lord!