There are a variety of characters and personalities living together in a Benedictine community. This is a great blessing in many ways, and it also challenges us to grow. Sister Veronica Ryan is just such a joy, blessing, and challenge in our community.
She brings a smile to our faces, and she regularly goes out of her way to help others because of her firm conviction that God calls her to be an instrument of God’s love to all she meets.
For example, she never misses an opportunity to throw a party, and she passionately encourages everyone around her to join in. She brightens our birthdays and feast days with cards, gifts, and off-key singing. For my birthday last month, she corralled every Sister in the Infirmary to write birthday cards for me. She always can be counted on to pitch in where help is needed.
Sister Veronica loves holidays and women’s magazines are her best friends as she combs through them for delectable treats and ideas for holiday decorations. She has already put out fall decorations in her living area, and with Halloween coming up, we are sure to be treated to some fun pumpkins, scarecrows, ghosts, and witches. (She confesses openly that Halloween is her favorite holiday!)
As head of the Infirmary, she devises fun outings and craft projects. Everyone’s involvement is strongly encouraged. She is perpetually on a mission to lift the spirits of every person she encounters. What a joy and a blessing she is!
Of course, there is a flip side to all of this joy and blessing. Therein lies the challenge. Some community members are natural homebodies preferring to curl up alone with a good book rather than join a group activity or party. One sometimes hears a Sister tell about a Veronica-project while rolling her eyes and saying, “That’s our Veronica!”
We know that everything Veronica challenges us to do and to be is good, so we mostly go along. We might even feel better for having done so. So even if we sometimes feel irritated by her enthusiasm, we always love her for her goodness and loving heart.
By Sister Karen Ann Lortscher, OSB