Also visiting the Pantry were three members of the general council: S Anna Maria Zabieglik, S Margaret Marie Padilla. and S Danat Marie Brysch. After touring the Pantry, Sister Celestine asked the staff member to share with her why they felt called to St. Felix Pantry. The stories varied however, there was something they all had in common. Each felt called to make a difference in this world by serving the hungry. In response to Sister Celestine’s question, Manuel Casias, vice president of development for St. Felix Pantry, offered the following reflection to all Felician-sponsored ministries:
“From my perspective, strolling through the Pantry where I work as a development director has a tendency to become routine. The same thing can be said about spending time with people who are coming to the Pantry for food because they are hungry. Realizing this and facing it head on leaves me with many opportunities to touch the lives of those precious people I encounter on a daily basis.
“Everyone has a story to tell and all we need to do is listen. The tired, often pained expressions that the staff and volunteers at St. Felix Pantry encounter five days a week tell a thousand stories of lives filled with untold hardships, of wondering and wandering in search of the meaning of it all. Even though far too many don’t realize it, they are, in fact, looking for God. Their desire is to find someone trustworthy to whom they can communicate their troubles and woes. They have no interest in nor would they necessarily comprehend complex theology. Just be, is the way I like to phrase it.
“Many of our clients bear the visible and invisible scars of pain, rejection, loneliness, abuse, turmoil, and hunger that they have endured. For these hurting souls, the path to a new life becomes possible and clearer only when their ears are opened and their eyes are wiped clean. It is through faith awakening that they begin to discover that there may be more than trials and tribulations to this life.
“Sister Celestine’s question was most definitely cause for reflection. Through our works at the Pantry, driven by our mission and core values, all of us–staff and volunteers–are called to help open up to these people the wonderful mysteries of a life filled with God. We are all called to the incredible task of helping introduce those who are lost and wandering to the Divine, to bring them face-to-face with God.”