Mount St. Joseph


I'm in Lake Zurich, Illinois these days, at a place called Mount St. Joseph.  It's a care facility for developmentally disabled adults that is run by the Daughters of St. Mary of Providence.  I've written about them and their recently (October 23, 2011) canonized founder St. Louis Guanella in other blog posts.  I'm giving a retreat to a dozen Sisters from various parts of the U.S., using their small community chapel where we meet for Mass, adoration, prayers, and my talks.  I was happy to find that they include the Daily Offering in their morning prayers and even explicitly recite together the pope's monthly intentions. 

On Tuesday afternoon I took a walk around their spacious grounds and entered the large church that serves the care center.  I didn't go beyond the vestibule because I didn't want to distract or disturb the residents who were praying the rosary together.  I couldn't help thinking how pleasing to God are the prayers of these people whom St. Louis Guanella called "good children." And how powerful they are!

The world doesn't understand the developmentally disabled.  Through testing and abortion it wants to rid itself of any "imperfect" human beings.  But I have found--through my high school classmate's Down Syndrome sister, through my work as a Jesuit novice at Cambridge State Hospital in Minnesota, and through Andy, the son of one of our volunteers--that the disabled, the mentally and physically challenged, are gifts from God.  All life is a gift and these particular gifts are given to us so that we may have the opportunity to love God by loving them in their weakness.  As God told St. Paul when he asked that his particular weakness might be removed so that he would be a better and more effective apostle: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."  (see 2 Corinthians 12:9.)