Remembering Two Spiritual Mentors

The process of sorting out the last thirty years of my life has uncovered papers and memories that are reminding me this week of people  who have blessed and enriched my life. They have also been giants in relationship with Jesus.

Sr Rita McManus OP

One of the most influential women in my life–and there have been, and are,  several, was Sr Rita McManus, OP. She was a spiritual powerhouse–a true Apostle among disciples. She was a spiritual coach, guiding me along the road to discipleship through her words, actions, and prayer. SrRita touched my life and imparted her gifts of spiritual discernment, wisdom, and passion for the full Gospel life, here and now. She showed me, by the way she lived, how to see His world in this one! I  also thank her for giving me,  through the community’s psychologists,  a full psychological evaluation, including a detailed list of all my God-given strengths. That information sustains me even now, as I begin to feel the restraints of aging.  Throughout her preaching ministry and religious life, according to her biographer, “…she insisted that personal prayer and genuine reflection on Scriptures were essential to spiritual life regardless of changing tides…” Today those essentials are buried deep into the direction of my own walk with God.

Fr Tom Heath OP was another of my spiritual ‘parents’. His passion, adventurous spirit, solid scriptural approach to life, and his strong sense of commitment to gospel living, no matter how turbulent life became, endeared him to me, as I struggled to make sense of my own committed walk with the Lord in community.  Responding to my desperation one day he laughed and said “…there are no ‘normal’ communities.” I never forgot that piece of advice! Fr Tom ended up being murdered in the Dominican compound in his beloved Kenya.

Their earthly lives may have come to an end–but their legacy lives in me and in thousands of lives across the world. These are two Apostles that I’m sure are waiting for me at the Father’s feet… Right now, I’m just trying to do them proud here on earth…


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