By Sister Carol Crepeau
Today is my birthday. My Italian friends tell me that if I had been born in Rome I could very well been named Assumpta, since I share my birthday with the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. As life and geography would have it, I was born in Chicago and am named Carol.
When I was five years old my grandfather swept me, his oldest grandchild, into his arm and heart and took it upon himself to start me on the “path of life.” His recurring words, spoken often and clearly, of who I am and who I am invited to become stay with me today.
When you were little, how did you celebrate your birthday? Well my mom was a great cook and for birthdays in my family, we had the special “privilege” of cooking our favorite meal, all courses, side by side with her in our kitchen. My dad did not have this privilege. This practice started when I was six and somehow the cooking and entertaining on special days is imbedded in my genes. In fact, my housemate, Sister Jackie, and I have an active, unofficial ministry of wining and dining. Thanks, Mom.
Today, when I celebrate my birthday, it is quieter, though no less evocative of childhood cooking and gathering with family and friends and making wishes for the whole world. I still sit with my Grandfather’s advice of who I am, though some of his descriptors have been adjusted a bit.
Two pieces of wisdom are active in my spirit these days – the first a Chinese proverb:
If I keep a green bough in my heart the singing bird will come.
The second a Cherokee expression:
When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
So on this day I invite you to cook a meal, invite friends, gather a green bough for your heart and rejoice – wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyday, not only on our birthday, we would birth life?
About the Author
Sister Carol Crepeau, CSJ ministers as a facilitator and leader of group dynamics for non-profits. Guiding the annual Congregation of St Joseph Pilgrimage to LePuy and Lyon, France is one of the most wonderful activities of her life. She also enjoys a good book and gathering with friends for prayer and conversation.