Today (for three more minutes) is the feast of St. Maximilian Marie Kolbe, the great Franciscan martyr commonly called the Saint of Auschwitz. If you are unfamiliar with the great saint, you can read about here.
I mention him because, since it is his feast day, it is also the patronal feast or name day of my dear friend Sr. Maria Kolbe O.P. I first met Sister in early 2011, she had just moved to Australia from the United States. She ministered to students at the University of Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney, for two and a half years before being transferred back to the U.S. At the end of last semester.
I had the honour of giving a speech at her going away party. One of the things I said about her was that she was, above all things, a religious sister, which made her a bride of Christ. This was one of the most notable things about SMK (as several of us, affectionately called her) she was a woman deeply in love with her divine spouse, who then helped to radiate and share that love with others.
I went on to say that, while that much was true of any religious sister, in SMK's case, it manifested in a specific way because she was not just a religious sister but a Dominican religious sister. As such, her sharing of God's love was reflected through the Dominican charism of preaching. Sister is a true preacher, not in the sense that she would get in people's face or brow-beat them, in fact she is usually very gentle, but she was constantly bearing witness to the faith that is hers. She is a very friendly person, open to everyone. Whether the person she was protestant, atheist, Muslim or whatever, she always showed a willingness to listen, a curiosity about the person and his or her beliefs, but also a strength in speaking about her own beliefs and the reasons for them.
She is a true daughter of St. Dominic, I am very proud to call her my sister and my friend, and I miss her very much.