Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saturday on Dufferin Street

Today in our Centre on Dufferin Street, we were open from 9:30 until 5:00 PM. Since it is the birthday of one of our Saturday employees, four of us Sisters were on duty to help the many people who came in. When I pushed the gate open, there was a priest wwaiting to enter. There was a steady stream of people all day: couples who browsed for at least an hour; moms and dads with their kids; young adults searching for music and books; parish workers searching for materials to help; Latino, Asian, Italian, Jamaican and Indian--people of every hue and color. An Indian couple remeber the Daughters of St. Paul visiting their homes with good reading in their home country. A student from Venezuela remembers visiting our Centres in his native country. What a "catholic," universal, city this is. He said, "I was so happy to find "Las Paulinas" here in Tronto too.
One gentleman came in around 2:00 PM and purchased two small black rosaries. He noticed the sign for our chapel and asked if he could go and pray. As he was leaving he stopped and thanked me. "I hope I can hear what he is saying." I answered, "He is always speaking to us. We are the ones who have to try to listen." Obviously under some sort of burden, he continued, "Those words really struck me." "Ah, yes," I replied, "Our Founder heard those words years ago when he was experiencing some really difficult times. Jesus seemed to be standing next to the tabernacle in a chapel. He was pointing to the tabernacle saying: 'Do not be afraid. I am with you. From here (the Eucharistic tabernacle) I want to enlighten.' " The man told me, "My father is dying. I really need those words today." I assured him that we will pray for him and for his father. Amid the busy-ness of the phone calls and people coming and going, our Lord was waiting to console this person who came to our Centre and our chapel. Our quiet chapel holds him who is "The Word." May The Word enlighten and console that son who is trying his best to "be strong" for his father.
In between taking care of our many patrons and praying in the chapel for an hour and a half, plus a break for lunch, there was not a whole lot of time to focus on anything else except the people and their needs.
Our Mother General sent us a letter of best wishes for our 50th anniversary. In it, she says she prays that our Center will be a beacon shining the light of Christ on thousands of people thorugh the media of communication. May all the people who came into 3022 Dufferin Street today feel the consoling warmth of that light on themselves and on all their loved ones.

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