The Mission Hub

The Pontifical Mission Societies include the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, the Society of St.Peter Apostle, and the Missionary Union of Priests and Religious. These Societies promote a prayerfulmissionary spirit among baptized Catholics and to gather a fund of support for the evangelizing and pastoral programs of more than 1,150 local churches of the Developing World.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Emily’s “Little Way”

While speaking to the youngest students at Catholic schools or parish Religious Education for the Missionary Childhood Association, I am always very careful to walk them through the basic information. They may not be aware that as Pope Francis recently said, “…to evangelize, baptism is enough!” Each and every one of us, no matter our age, is called to live our faith in a way that draws others closer to Jesus Christ; this is one of the first lessons of the Missionary Childhood Association.

When asked to give examples of how they might live out their baptismal call to be missionaries every day, that is show others who Jesus is, the “littles” as I call them usually give basic answers.

We can be kind…
We can share…
We can be helpful…

All of these are valid answers and I usually encourage them to expand upon them. During my visit to St. Bridget School in Framingham, no encouragement was necessary, thanks to Emily. With wisdom well beyond her years, Emily confidently explained to her peers that she was a missionary at home by watering her mother’s plants. When some of her classmates didn’t see the connection, she went on to explain that her mom loves houseplants: they make the house look pretty. But sometimes, Mom gets so busy that she forgets to water them and they droop or worse, die and that makes Mom sad. So, Emily made the decision to take it upon herself to water the plants without fanfare, knowing that healthy plants would make her mom happy.

The beauty of Emily’s simple gift of kindness to her mother gave me the opportunity to explain the “Little Way” of St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the Missions. I told them how every day, Therese would offer every small action she did to God for the benefit of others, thus making each task she did a prayer. Pointing out that she was indeed our patron, I asked the students to guess what mission land had benefited from Therese’s service. They called out their answers: India? Africa? China?

Imagine their surprise when I told them that Therese was a cloistered nun – her mission territory was her convent, and she never left it! She had changed the world through the power of her prayer and her “Little Way”, showing kindness and care to others in everyday life and offering it for the good of the Church around the world.
The Missionary Childhood Association is busy teaching our children to be more like Therese – offering their prayers and works to make the world a better place, little by little, every day.
-Maureen Crowley Heil

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