A woman of uncommon grace

Sister Ann Manganaro, S.L., Sister of Loreto, was a pediatrician and US missionary to El Salvador.  She lived in Guarjila, Chalatenango, a conflictive zone during the Salvadoran civil war, and founded a hospital there. On June 6, 1993, she died of cancer in St. Louis, Missouri.

Here’s a short quote from one of her prose poems, written in March 1984 before she went to El Salvador:

That fruitful tree seeded in you, seek first:
That space, that place, that realm, the soil of God,
the holy ground within you, wherein is come
Your God to dwell. Let this life in you burst
Open, let yourself become the very food
Of the feast you seek. Seek first the reign of God.

Here’s another which I found at this site

Let this life in you burst open
Seek first the reign of God, the realm of God,
The place where God resides, where God abides:
In the open places or in the field hidden,
The priceless jewel redeemed, the smallest seed
Sown, grown to great height. It spreads
Its sheltering branches upward to gladden
The hearts of all who seek its refuge. Good
Rises from root to branch to blossoming stem.
That fruitful tree seeded in you, seek first:
That space, that place, that realm, the soil of God
The holy ground within, wherein is come
Your God to dwell. Let this life in you burst
Open, let yourself become the very food
Of the feast you seek. Seek first the reign of God.

I had heard of Sister Ann Manganaro in El Salvador and once visited the hospital-clinic in Guarjila. But she deeply affected Father John Kavanaugh, S.J., of St. Louis University, author of Following Christ in a Consumer Society: The Spirituality of Cultural Resistance, a book I strongly recommend. He called here “a woman of uncommon grace.”

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