Sister Valerie

by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Chief Mission Leader at Jennings

For the past several months I have been writing about end of life decisions. Those are some heavy topics (but important ones) to consider. I thought I would end the calendar year with some reflections about life and relationships. Most of them I have absorbed through personal experience. The last one is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. If you look below the surface of these truths you will find Jennings’ five core values: Respect, Compassion, Community, Discovery of Potential, and Celebration of Life.

Some Simple Truths About Life and Relationships (In No Particular Order):

  • The only person I can change or control is myself.
  • I can’t make assumptions about other people’s reasons for what they do.
  • I can try to assume a positive reason about why people do things unless they specifically tell me otherwise.
  • FAMILY is a fundamental value in life, whatever shape it takes.
  • Life is too short to hold grudges.
  • I can try to nurture positive relationships by encouraging, complimenting, and appreciating others.
  • Sometimes it’s better to say nothing instead of speaking in haste or anger. I can always continue a conversation later when I am calmer.
  • All my life experiences make me who I am.
  • Life can make me better or bitter. Which do I want to be?
  • Everyone is hurting in some way and needs our compassion.
  • Often people will treat me the way I treat them.
  • Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. (Abraham Lincoln)

Can you think of any truths that you would like to add to the list?



Lessons Learned

  • Age 6:    I’ve learned that you can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
  • Age 9:    I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
  • Age 12:  I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up.
  • Age 25:  I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there. 
  • Age 30:  I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
  • Age 40: I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the  phone. 
  • Age 50:  I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
  • Age 60:  I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
  • Age 70:  I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.
  • Age 80:  I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. 
  • Age 90:  I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

–Anne Graham Lotz

What are some lessons you have learned?

Spirituality and You: Pray

Monday, November 6, 2017

Every spiritual tradition has its own form of prayer: ways in which we connect our essence with the divine essence as we understand it. There is no one way to pray. We can speak or remain in silence. We can sit or walk or pray lying down. We can be still or dance. We can [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Facing Change

Monday, October 23, 2017

It comes at us constantly
sometimes in a whisper
like a falling leaf
sometimes like a river
roaring through a gorge.
It is all we know: change
all we are: ever-evolving
creatures of nature.
Next time you hear
the stubborn bray
of your donkey voice
resisting the horizon ahead
take a lesson from your Mother.
Watch how summer kneels down
when she hears the flutter of fall.
Notice how spring [more…]

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Residents pray for end to violence

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Feeling the weight of recent events, Jennings residents sought a way to take action. Sister Valerie Sweeney, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings, coordinated a prayer service that offered an activity of unity that also reflects Jennings’ value of compassion. All who wished to participate were invited to join, with residents also taking on [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Consciousness

Monday, October 9, 2017

Examination of Consciousness
Did you say only kind words today?
Did you remember your thoughts become your life?
Did you say thank you as often as you were grateful?
Did you shine your light?
Did you laugh out loud?
Did you sing?
Did you hug anyone?
Did you love your body?
Did you see yourself reflected in anyone?
Were you thankful?
Did you say it?
—Jan Phillips

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Spirituality and You: Patience

Monday, September 18, 2017

An affirmation for patience:
Patience is a spiritual practice that is beneficial to cultivate so I can feel more at ease in my life. I grow through every human experience, especially those that I don’t like or plan for. There is divine order woven into the fabric of my days. 
 –by Jan Lundy

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Spirituality and You: The Candle and the Mirror

Monday, September 11, 2017

Edith Wharton has said that there are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Sometimes we are the candle. We shed light of love and hope. We shine encouragement into dark souls, for this is a bleak and cold world for too many people, a frightening [more…]

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Spirituality and You: The “Be”-Attitudes

Monday, August 28, 2017

Be understanding to your enemies. Be loyal to your friends.
Be strong enough to face the world each day. Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.
Be generous to those who need your help. Be frugal with what you need yourself.
Be wise enough to know that you do not know everything. Be foolish enough [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Life Is Meant to be Lived

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life is to be lived. No excuses. No reservations. No holding back.
An enchanting story about the talented violinist Fritz Kreisler tells how he once came across a beautiful instrument he wanted to acquire. When he finally raised the money for the violin, he returned to buy it and learned that it had already been sold [more…]

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