"Gratitude is the memory of the heart"
Context of Mary’s quote
By 1907, Mary MacKillop was an invalid having suffered a number of strokes and other illnesses. She was confined to a wheelchair and faced significant physical challenges. Her mind was however still very sharp and she was more than capable of leading the sisters.
She wrote these words in a document she prepared for the sisters called ‘An appeal of the Sacred Heart to a weary, disappointed soul’. This communication to the sisters reflected upon a lifetime of challenge but chose to focus on all of the many ways in which Mary was able to acknowledge that she had lived a blessed and grace filled life.
What were some of the challenges Mary had faced?
- She had to go out and work to support her family at a young age
- She was excommunicated from the Church to which she had dedicated her life
- She worked against constant challenge to the Sisters work by the hierarchy of the Church that were challenged by her effectiveness
- She suffered ill health throughout her life and forged n regardless
In spite of all of these challenges and many more, Mary’s ability to focus on the positive was such that even as she neared death she could still write ‘gratitude is the memory of the heart’. Only a few months after she wrote these words, on the 8th of August 1909, Mary died.
Mary wanted the Sisters of St. Joseph to also rise to the challenge of being grateful to God for all He had blessed them with regardless of the challenges.
This year Mary also challenges us to focus on the positive and be grateful for all we have. This is not so much of a challenge when things are going well, but is much more difficult when things do not go to plan. But, we can be grateful for these times if we are able to acknowledge the growth that comes as a result.
Being able to express gratitude freely is not only good for relationships with others but is also good for our own personal health and wellbeing, said to lower blood pressure, improve sleep patterns and encourage the production of positive hormones.
So, throughout 2018, as members of the Penola Catholic College community, we will endeavour to be people of gratitude who are able to acknowledge and remember the graces God bestows on us every day and assist every community member to do the same.