WASHINGTON — After some very challenging weather the week prior, November 9 was a beautiful autumn evening in the nation’s capital capped off by a beautiful event: the Franciscan Action Network’s fifth anniversary celebration honoring Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF.
The evening started with a wonderful hour of meeting, greeting and chatting among the attendees, some who knew each other well, others who were just meeting for the first time. The energy in the room was uplifting and positive. There were delicious and satisfying tasty treats, festive beverages, and cheer and happiness among all.
The speakers were genuine and told of their current work with FAN and the dreams they had for the future. FAN staff reviewed the history of the organization, including the critical role of Holy Name Province under the leadership of John O’Connor, OFM, and expressed appreciation for former colleagues such as HNP Justice, Peace and Integrity for Creation Office staff members Russ Testa and Fran Eskin-Royer.
Then, those who know Sr. Margaret Mary best got up to praise her and give the general audience who may not have known her personally a feeling that they would by evening’s end. It began with one of her fellow sisters from the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., describing her roots in New York City, continued on to her previous work with Bread for the World, and culminated with her current positions and goals. All expressed personal stories of Sr. Margaret Mary and how she had touched and affected their lives. There were tissues passed around at one point.
Next, Sr. Margaret Mary got up and gave a personal heartfelt talk of gratitude, delivered with humor and humility. Her remarks culminated with a beautiful song — “The Presence You Are” by Jan Novotka — whose words she had distributed for all to join in. Though unaccompanied, the song was again genuine and heartfelt as we were led through the simple melody.
The last speaker of the evening was Tom Perriello, who talked briefly of the future of our world from a faithful Catholic point of view. His enthusiasm was contagious and his face bespoke of his belief in what one man or woman, priest or brother, sister or secular, can do.
All in all, the celebration was a very successful, fun and spirit-filled event to launch FAN into the future.
— Matt Smith, of Washington, D.C., is the web strategist for the Franciscan Action Network, and owner of Perisphere Media, a D.C.-based digital production studio serving a number of faith-based nonprofit organizations. Photos were taken by Dulce Gamboa.