Her Goodness Lights Up the Darkness
Cheerful and dependable, Marie is out and about before dawn.
BY ED GURA, OFM
On a dark, windy and cold fall morning I was startled by the voice of a woman calling out to me as I was making my way down Washington Boulevard toward St. Aloysius Church to prepare for morning street ministry. As she drew closer to me I soon recognized her as one of our guests who often joins us for a meal on the serving line. To my surprise and delight I called out to Marie, curious to know why she was walking down the Boulevard in the dark and cold at 5:15 a.m.
It was then that I learned that every school day morning Marie gets up at 4:30 in order to catch the 5:30 a.m. Woodward bus to Six-Mile Road. She then proceeds to the home of her three grandnieces and their grandmother. Marie accompanies them on a three-block walk to their grade school before catching the Woodward bus back downtown.
On this particular morning, like every other morning, Marie then stopped by the alleyway door of St. Aloysius Church and rang the doorbell at 7 a.m., yet it was different this morning because now I knew the reason why she was out and about at this early hour.
I also thought about how Marie is always one of the first people in line at the Rosa Parks Bus Terminal, where she stands ready and waiting to clean the tables once we have set them up to serve food to those in need. When Marie is done she is then quick to show me the dirty rag she has used, which then becomes our cue to start loading up the tables with food, clothing and hygiene items.
On this particular morning as Marie and I spent a few delightful moments together talking while she sipped on her cream-and-sugar coffee through her usual smile, I felt blessed to be in the presence of this aging woman who has taken on the role of caregiver for her grandnieces who lost their parents in a tragic accident. I felt I had just been touched with another glimpse of God through the life of this poor and simple daughter of the Most High. Thank you, Marie!
May our lives be lived in ways that bring glimpses of God to the people whom God chooses to send our way. May we welcome and serve them well.
(Friar Ed Gura is part of the outreach ministry at St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit.)