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Self-Portrait

Have you ever asked yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?” What personal experiences have I had that have shaped my development through the years? What values define me? If the Master Artist were to ask me to paint a true self-portrait, what would it look like? Imagine a gallery filled with those sacred portraits of persons you know along with some of perfect strangers, each one unique, each one telling its own story. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to stroll through that gallery and to guess who was the subject of each portrait? Would you recognize the person from their own perception of themselves?

There was an Ursuline Sister whose life story painted a fascinating portrait for me. Sister Joachim was an outgoing person, outrageously open to whatever life offered her. This woman was in her mid 20s when she joined the Ursuline Community having served in the Coast Guard during World War II. She played the double bass in the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra most of her life, taught a number of years in parish grade schools, and spent over 35 years working with and for troubled young people at Parmadale. When Sister died in 2013 at age 90, I came across something she had written years earlier. I don’t know for whom she wrote it, but the intended receiver does not matter. What does matter is the tantalizing self-portrait that her words paint.

Joachims’s Beatitudes

BLESSED ARE…

The INCLUSIVE;

they invite all into their circle.

The WELCOMING;

they exude a spirit of “Y’all come.”

The PEACEFUL;

their presence shows us how to relax.

The CALM;

they quell unnecessary turmoil.

The JOYFUL;

they “see” things that make us smile.

The SPIRITED;

their enthusiasm inspires us to “do.”

The GRACIOUS;

they make us comfortable in their presence.

The ATTRACTING ONES;

their mode reflects that of Jesus.

The DISTRACTORS:

they draw us away from self-pity and gloom.

The EARTH LOVERS:

they do not abuse the land.

The GOOD SPORTS;

every team vies for them.

What would your initial self-portrait look like if you were to paint it today? Is that the way you would want to be remembered? Think about it.

Sister Janet Moore