The church community I grew up in is just down the street from Marywood, where Sister Michael Ellen lives. I’ve known the area since I was little and often drove through the neighborhoods with my mom as she pointed out the house where she grew up and where other members of our community lived. This semester Sister Michael Ellen and I have often talked about that area of town, how it’s changed and grown.
Last week we discussed what Eastertime is like for each of us. Since I am Orthodox, we celebrated Easter one week later this year. As Sister Michael Ellen’s week was headed into the resurrection, I was still waiting on Palm Sunday.
As we sat there talking, I realized how refreshing it was to explain my traditions to someone who truly appreciates them and who understands that just because it is different doesn’t mean it is wrong. Outside of my church community and close family friends, I’ve always had to explain why our Easter falls a different week and why our Lenten fasting is more strict. I’ve never minded explaining because I love to share my faith but people are not always as receptive as you’d think.
This time was different.
Sister Michael Ellen is so knowledgeable and didn’t think the calendar difference to be odd or ask questions with a judgmental tone. She simply took it as fact, and we had an amazing time talking about our favorite parts of Holy Week. I’ve been familiar with Catholicism, but our conversations made me realize that our denominations have a lot more in common than I thought, especially during this celebration.
As the semester comes to an end, I realize how much I will miss conversations like these. I will be spending my summer abroad at a church camp, and I look forward to the long talks with my campers and fellow counselors, but I feel that something will be missing. I will be one of the older members of the camp, but I don’t have nearly the amount of knowledge as Sister Michael Ellen. I plan to ask her advice before I go, but I’m so grateful for the conversations that we have had. It makes me excited not only to go but also to return from this adventure with stories and experiences to share.