We’re all broken, only in different ways, observed Sister Regina Marie Gorman at the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s prayer breakfast on Sept. 16. What’s important is opening that brokenness to God so God can heal it in maybe an unexpected but always beautiful way.
Sitting at round tables in the blazing morning sun, some 1,800 people (including students from 27 high schools) filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels’ plaza at the 10th annual event.
It was preceded by the recitation of the Rosary and celebration of the Mass, with Archbishop José Gomez presiding and Cardinal Roger Mahony, five auxiliary bishops and more than 30 priests concelebrating.
Because of the stifling heat, the nationally-renowned Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart, who is her religious community’s Vicar General as well as chair of the National Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious, quipped that she was cutting down her keynote speech to its “Cliff Notes.”
“We all encounter brokenness, which speaks to the heart of the Gospels,” Sister Gorman declared. “But Jesus Christ made all things new. He actually takes our brokenness, working through the pieces to craft something new, something that is even more beautiful. That always happens.
“We just need to say yes to him, and what he will create in our troubles and broken heart will be better. The work of transition really begins here on earth. If we accept God’s love, it cannot but flow into us — like the warm rays of today’s sun.”
Sister Gorman reminded that in today’s hyper-paced American culture it’s very easy to lose touch with God. So she stressed that she wasn’t suggesting that modern-day Christians should “work harder” at knowing their creator. What they really need to do is the opposite: slow down.
“What would happen if we really believed that God wants to really know us, to love us?” she mused. “What’s important is soaking up God’s love. Maybe that means taking a coffee break with God. You know, God loves coffee. He’s from the Middle East. Or it could be taking a walk with him. Whatever opens us up to receiving the presence of God.”
After the short address, a dozen women religious from Alhambra reinforced their fellow Carmelite’s message. They sang movingly about forgiving hurts, renewing lives and God’s unconditional acceptance.
This was the first time Jane Schroezer of St. Bede Church in La Canada attended the prayer breakfast. “Oh, I loved it, I loved it,” she said. “I was thinking the entire time of sister’s talk that taking 10 minutes out of my day to pray is a proposal I’m going to make to my whole family, to see if we can do it in solidarity to bring God in.”
Tony Jennison, executive director for advancement at the USC Caruso Catholic Center — a second-timer — was personally touched by the speaker. “Her great story about the broken crystal and how God just makes everything better was awesome,” he pointed out. “It may seem like things are falling apart, but in the end there’s a message and there’s God. We’ve got a son who’s got some health issues, and so it’s nice to see that positive message come to light here. You’ve got to remember that kind of stuff.”
Senior Tania Mouchamel had been working with her red-jacketed Sacred Heart High School classmates on handing out table assignments. “It was really nice meeting a lot of new people. And the breakfast was beautiful and everyone worked really hard. So I’m glad it came together so well,” she said with a half-smile of relief.
“And I thought it was very beautiful when Sister Gorman talked about how Jesus wants to make all of us new. And he wants to mend our brokenness. That touched me.”