Quaker Lessons for a Catholic Girl

Sister Sarah Hennessy is a person I met in the early 2010s, while working with her religious order. As you will see from her blog post, she was raised a Quaker, yet became a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration. I loved her line, “…traded hush puppies for cheese curds.” Sarah writes periodically in Messy Jesus Business — isn’t that the most honest titling ever. Below is an excerpt from a recent post — she had me at “speak only if the words improve the silence.” Check her full post.

And consider the relationship of silence to wise being together in groups. I know it is on my mind, and in my heart always, changing how I facilitate groups.

Speak only if the words improve upon the silence

The Quaker (officially the Society of Friends) meeting I grew up in was unprogrammed, meaning that our worship service was an hour of silence. During that silence if you felt a “leading” you could speak. Maybe you would share an insight you had that week, a thought on a piece of Scripture, or even sing a song. In any case, there should be a deep prompting that the words you are going to say are worth breaking the holy silence we are all gathered in.

This seems to me a good habit for every day, but especially for Advent. Have I gotten lost already in the Christmas season or am I silently preparing in expectant waiting? Am I speaking from my heart, from a deeper sense of life-giving hope?