To hear more from Sue, please join us on November 15th at Holy Trinity Catholic Church for An Evening with Sue Mosteller: Travel Tips for Your Heart's Journey. Click here for more info.
Therese: I was telling Marilyn you have something in common because you’re a nun and Marilyn what are you?
Marilyn: A holy name associate.
Sue: Wonderful! Good, so what can we do for you today?
Marilyn: Well, I want to know, how do you like L’Arche?
Sue: Oh that’s a good question! I spent a lot of my life at L’Arche and I love it. I love L’Arche. It’s been a beautiful place for me to live. It’s been a home and a place of belonging. So thank you for that question, it’s a beautiful one.
Therese: How did you get involved?
Sue: Well it’s a funny story how I got involved but it was many many years ago and as a nun I had to go out at that time with a partner. I couldn’t go out by myself. So this day, one of the sisters said can you go out to a lecture with me tonight and I said whats the lecture? She said oh its a guy from France who is coming to talk and I said whats he talking about? She said its about people with disabilities and I said I’m not really interested but I am free so if you cant find anybody I’ll go with you. She came back to me at supper time and said [she] couldn’t find anyone so could [I] go and I said yes. So I went to this lecture by this very young Jean Vanier who had just started a few years before the communities of L’Arche. He spoke about it and I became very interested so I sort of followed him for several years before I was able to go.
Therese: Wow, Marilyn how do you feel about that? She’s known about L’Arche since the very beginning. You mentioned that when you heard from Jean Vanier that there were several things that really resonated with you. What were some of those things that you connected with?
Sue: You know I was in probably my mid-thirties at that time and what I remember is that I had never heard anybody talk about Jesus the way he did. He talked about Jesus as someone that was his friend and someone that he would have had breakfast with this morning. It was just such a close relationship and nobody had ever told me anything like that before and that’s why I followed him around because I wanted to know more. I think all through my life he’s been an inspiration for me in terms of my own inner life and my life trying to follow Jesus as a disciple.
Therese: (To Marilyn) Wow, what do you think about that? Having Jesus as a friend.
Marilyn: That’s good.
Therese: Can I ask a question that our director posed but he’s out of town so I’m going to relay it? He wants to know what advice you have for people who are choosing to share life in L’Arche homes.
Sue: I think that you’re in a really special position to be more fully human and I think that I would say to you, try to really take advantage of that. And try to enter into each encounter with your very best energy of who you are and the love that you have. So to enter into those encounters and to make exchanges and to forgive each other and so on. Because you don’t know its happening but we really are helping each other to grow inside and to become beautiful individuals. My advice would be to get up in the morning and don’t just fall into the day but be conscious that you’re in a really special place, that love is present there, that god is present there, that there’s a real growth for you to happen.
Therese: Wow that’s powerful. And so true I think. I agree. The founder of L’Arche Portland just came to our formation last week. His name is Paul Lipscum. He was telling us, it’s not only what L’Arche brings to you but what you bring to L’Arche and how you approach it and what you put in but also what you get out. Its all kind of waiting for you if you approach it in the right way.
Sue: Yes, and one more thing. Trust your feelings and give them, because it’s true, there’s a lot for you but you have something to give that no one else has. So my advice is that everybody trust their gifts. Because some of you have a gift of smiling, some have a gift of laughter, some have a gift of caring. Give your gifts and give them generously.
Marilyn: That’s good. You care. (to Therese)
Therese: So do you. What kind of gifts do you give?
Marilyn: I don’t know. Gifts! What kind of gifts do you have? (to Sue)
Sue: I’d like somebody else to name those. But I’m a happy person, I’m glad to be alive. People have become friends and I just enjoy it. I find it sometimes challenging to live in community but I know that it’s the best place for me and I really am happy there.
Therese: You live in community now?
Sue: I do. I live with eight sisters and we are all over eighty! So we live in what you would call an old people’s home. We live in a home that supports us to keep doing our ministries and we’re all friends and it’s wonderful and its not always easy. But everyone tries so we have a very happy home.
Therese: When you said you’re happy to be alive that reminded me of Marilyn. What do you always say?
Marilyn: I’m alive be happy.
Therese: Do you call yourself a miracle?
Therese: You look like it.
Sue: That’s fantastic, I love that. That’s beautiful.
Therese: I’m wondering, do you have any hopes for L’Arche in the future?
Sue: You know, I’m still a member of L’Arche. I’m a long term member although I don’t live there anymore. I have a role and that is to pray for L’Arche. So, everyday I pray that the people at L’Arche will give their gifts to each other and that they will lead at the point of their gifts and that they will follow at the point of everybody else’s gift so that they’re both at peace and harmony. That’s my hope. I hope for communities of love and care and growth and depth. I pray for that every day for communities of L’Arche. I pray for the meetings that are happening in the world, that people will listen and lead and listen and follow and make unity in the world because theres so much hatred and theres so much people criticizing and we don’t have to be like that, theres so many other things we can do.
Therese: Very true. Wow, thats a very beautiful vision. I think we’re cultivating that in Portland.
Marilyn: I’m wondering when we’re going to be through.
Therese: Soon, I think. We have a busy day today, whats on our plan today?
Therese: And what else?
Marilyn: Oreo doughnuts.
Sue: Oh wow I wish I was there!
Therese: Soon! Soon you will be. That’s great about your prayer life. I know we do a lot of praying here. Marilyn is like our leader in prayer. Honestly, she leads us in prayer before dinner and bed time.
Sue: Wonderful, keep it up Marilyn!
Therese: Thank you Sue for talking with us and taking the time.
Sue: Yes well I can’t wait to see you and have a great day!
Therese: We’re very excited, thank you.
Sue: Okay, bye now!