'Teach us to cherish all life'

The author, Sister Christina Neumann, with a young friend

I work at St. Anne's Guest Home, a Catholic senior-living facility that offers care for the aged and disabled in Grand Forks, N.D. We try to weave spirituality into the fabric of this place, and one of the many ways we do so is by offering common devotions after vespers. This custom includes a beautiful Prayer for Life. 

You see, the pro-life cause has always been important to our Franciscan community ever since abortion was legalized 45 years ago. Our sisters have been dedicated to praying outside abortion clinics, supporting pregnancy centers and helping pregnant women.

And here at St. Anne's, surrounded by people well on their way to the other end of life's journey, we have a special concern for the "until natural death" part of respect for life. 

Like the unborn, the elderly and disabled are vulnerable and in need in their own way.  We are glad to be able to provide a home for individuals who often lack family support. We recognize the dignity and worth of them as well. Providing them with a purpose and with community helps. 

Sometimes, this is not easy. We can get caught up in our own agendas and forget about each person’s human dignity and the importance of cherishing each person.

Our Prayer For Life, consequently, addresses this.

Please join us in praying:

Mary, our Mother,
as you once cherished Christ’s life
within your womb,
teach us also to cherish all life,
from the unborn to the elderly
from the physically disabled
to those whose minds fail them.
Help us to treat each person we meet
as we would Christ, remembering his words:
“Whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me.”
Teach us to love Him more each day
by valuing each precious life we encounter.

Amen.

About Sister Christina M. Neumann, OSF

Sr. Christina serves at St. Anne's Guest Home, an assisted living-type facility in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There, she helps in a variety of roles, including receptionist, sacristan, activities, and occasional personal care aide. Along with these duties, she also manages the web page for the facility, writes their weekly blog, and edits their resident newsletter. Sr. Christina also authors "Our Franciscan Fiat" , the blog for her religious community of Dillingen Franciscan Sisters in North Dakota. She also finds time for embroidery, baking, biking and liturgical music. Before entering religious life, she received a bachelor of arts in written communication, with some coursework also in graphic arts and theology.