When I first visited St. Scholastica Monastery in 2008 to discern a vocation as a Benedictine Sister with this Community, I remember being quite taken by how beautiful and peaceful it was. Nothing symbolized this more than the Peace Doors. Three years later that message of peace has been changed dramatically due to construction just outside. For many months now the Peace Doors have been barred shut with the warnings “Danger!” and “No! Keep away!” written on a wooden cross that is nailed to the doorframe. The struggles and sufferings of a human life are often like that cross with the words “Danger! No! Keep away!” scribbled on them. We do not want to sacrifice ourselves, nor do we want to feel pain, loss, and abandonment. Even Jesus is recorded as having prayed, “Take this cup away from me….” What is important to remember, however, is the incredible trust in God the Father that Jesus displayed when He quickly added, “…but not my will but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)The pathway to peace can seem fraught with despair, disappointment, and discouragement. What we want for ourselves looks as if it is barred from access by crosses too heavy for us to bear. Our old emotional and spiritual wounds distort our perception and thinking, and we begin seeing even new situations with the same old fearful vision we’ve always had. When something bad happens, it must be more of the same happening to us again. In the midst of chaos, pain, and the temptation to despair, we lose sight of the most essential part of the Paschal Mystery: the pathway to peace is through a cross that Jesus carries with us.At some point in our lives, we will be able to review the painful moments of life with hard-won wisdom. We will be able to recognize those dark moments as having been transformative turning points yielding new courage, purpose, and vision. On the other side of our daily crucifixions will always be resurrection.Approaching crisis moments as crucial points leading “a future filled with hope” (Jer. 29:11) may yield the peace for which we long. It will be a peace that no one can take from us because we have realized the truth of our Emmanuel: God is with us, always.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.