Facebook IconInstagram IconSpotify

Seeking goodness in challenging times

By Sister Mary Kay Brooks
Stained Glass image of Mary and Baby Jesus

For the last 18 months, there have been numerous events where that question would arise within me: a mass shooting in Uvalde, four University of Idaho students murdered, a rise in hate crimes against everyone who looks different or prays differently, political dysfunction in Congress, the war in Israel and Palestine or the mass shooting in Maine. That small question is growing with intensity. How can human beings act in such an unrecognizable manner to other human beings? Is it mental illness, greed or power?

During the season of Advent, I reflect on some of the struggles that Mary and Joseph may have faced as a young couple uncertain of knowing how to respond amid the political occupation and unrest of their time. They are examples to me of deep, deep prayer and faith. Although the Nativity story recalls rejection toward Mary and Joseph, I believe in the infinite goodness of others. I believe there were numerous women who, unknown to us, came and helped deliver a child in the middle of the night in a stable. There were good men who brought supplies needed to be safe. I believe nature herself cradled an infant as well as the hopes and dreams of new parents. There isn’t any evidence for my beliefs, but I hold them dear because I believe in the goodness of others.

When one or two of the stories of heroism do come through in any of the tragedies from around the world, my faith in the goodness of others grows stronger. A small tear often falls from my eyes as I watch or read of others responding in heroic ways. I pray for the courage that I too may have the goodness within me to respond to others in my path who are in need. It may be as simple as a look of acknowledgement to a homeless person, the awareness that a reckless driver may be on the way to an emergency, a smile of encouragement for the ruffled parent with a screaming child rather than scorn, the thought that multiple tattoos are an expression of art on a living canvas, or that my way of doing things is not the only way.

As I look for some time of quiet this Advent, I pray for the eyes to see only goodness before me and to have a heart full of gratitude. May the struggles of our universe, our global society, our country, our congregation, province and even my own family, remind me of the struggles of Blessed Theresa and her unwavering faith that God’s dreams were unfolding in her times and in our own times. May my struggles draw me closer to the infant child Jesus, knowing goodness and love are the way to peace.

Your goodness to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, in any way, is a blessing for the world and I personally am grateful. May we continue to be a presence of goodness to all we meet each and every day.

Blessings to each of you this Advent season, during Christmastime and throughout the New Year.


Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



© 2022 School Sisters of Notre Dame