Praying with Catherine Spalding: From the Known to the Unknown
By Nancy Gerth, SCN
Part of the Toolbox for Prayer series
Perhaps my early notions about the pioneers created a stepping stone to my attraction to Catherine Spalding’s life and spirit. I have always felt intimately connected with her -this pioneer, risk-taker, innovator, first-
responder, roll-up-your-sleeves practical woman and definitely, resilient faith-walker. This is who Catherine is to me – how I see her and know her. She is never far away. In my everyday life, I experience her in my thoughts, my mind’s eye and her presence during prayer. She has become friend, confidant, advisor and motivator.
Sketch of Catherine Spalding by Nancy Gerth, SCN
Whether creating a new response to today’s challenges, navigating obstacles or reflecting on God’s invitation and promptings in my life, I often feel Catherine’s spirit flowing though me and others. I feel her presence in ordinary moments of my everyday life and prayer. And, just as it happened in that third grade classroom, I still experience curiosity and awe. I still do not understand why someone is drawn to act on a dream that requires living into the unknown, yet I continue to be inspired by the pioneers of the past and present who do this by risking it all for the sake of the reign of God. I do know that the unknown will continue to emerge and we will be called repeatedly to respond. I pray that Catherine continues to walk with me and others who are striving to move into the future with faith and meet the needs of our times with passion, grit, ingenuity, resilience and a pioneer spirit of hope.
How have I been a pioneer in my own life? What risks did I take?
What part of the pioneer spirit challenges me in my life, work, relationships,
To what unknown am I called at this time in my life? Who or what inspires me to step into this unknown?
Charity of Nazareth for 35 years. She is from Louisville, KY and currently resides in Chicago, IL. She is the Co- Director of the Intercongregational Collaborative Novitiate, and involved in the ministry of Initial Formation for the SCNs and the Sisters of Charity Federation.