I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤
Image by Chartviboon C.watananun from Pixabay.
“We respect and love all religions. We never put down anyone’s religion, or uphold one religion to the exclusion of others. What we want is to believe and respect interfaith religion, inclusive of all faith traditions. In our community spiritual practices, we invoke our prayers to the Divine, rather than invoking any particular name or form of God to the exclusion of others.”
-Sister Lucy Kurien, Maher
Sister Lucy Kurien stole my heart a few weeks ago when I read her story. This week, I’ll be featuring quotes from Sister Lucy and from the many people who have written about her over the years since she founded Maher.
I started off today with Sister Lucy’s beliefs about faith. When I read how she instructs the Maher children about faith, I was astonished and filled with joy. When my kids were little, I raised them as Catholics as I had been. But I also taught them to respect every religion. I dreamed of teaching my kids (and myself) all religions but life was happening at breakneck speed back then. So suppertime discussions served as our forums. We talked about everything and the only thing not tolerated was intolerance.
I had this idea ever since I read a novel in which a group of cowboys finds a baby in the bushes. Her parents are nearby, dead, killed in an ambush. They decide to adopt and raise the baby. Since they have no idea what religion her parents might have been or even what language they spoke, they decide she will learn as many as possible of each. In the first five years, they learn as much as they can themselves. When she is old enough to learn they make a game out of it. Every day they teach her a different religion and speak to her in a different language. On Tuesdays, for instance, she was Buddhist and spoke Chinese. I was completely charmed by this idea. (If I find the name of the book, I’ll share it.)
Sister Lucy teaches the Maher kids something very much like this.
Maher, which means “mother’s home” in Marathi, is non-governmental, interfaith, and caste-free. Maher was founded by Sister Lucy Kurien who opened a small home for battered women and children in a village near Pune, Maharashtra, India. Since that first home in 1997, Maher has grown to 49 interfaith, caste-free homes in three states in India.
Although Sister Lucy is a Catholic nun, Maher is an interfaith organization which is particularly important to its work. The acceptance of different beliefs among the Maher community facilitates understanding and peace at Maher when it comes to differences of all kinds.
The children learn all religions and, when someone asks, “Are you Catholic?” they respond, “Yes!” When asked, “Are you Buddhist?” they respond, “Yes!”
Sister Lucy created an interfaith flag with the symbols for all the major religions, and these flags hang in all 49 Maher homes. She also teaches the children English and all the native languages of India.
This week, I want to tell you a bit a day about Sister Lucy and about how Maher began in the heart of one woman with one idea. I hope it will inspire you as much as it has me.
Every one of us truly does have the power to change the world.