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"Filled With a New Tenderness"

Yunan, an at-home mom, spends a day with the Missionaries of Charity. In their presence, she rediscovers Christ in her every day.

At the Missionaries' chapel

Being a new homeschooling mom with three kids often can be overwhelming. Many days I wake up in the morning with the longing to seek Christ, but instead find myself too busy answering the needs of my children to even complete a thought. Furthermore, I feel that having limited human contacts besides my children takes away my chances to experience Christ. That was why when many of my friends came back from volunteering at the Missionaries of Charity in Pacifica with exuberant joy, I decided that I needed to go there to see Him.

Upon my arrival, I was introduced to Sister Lumen, who immediately struck me with her luminous eyes. I accepted her invitation to stay and help clean the hospice (as opposed to go serve the homeless on the streets), partly to avoid the biting cold outside, and partly because I was curious about her. I spent most of the morning washing dishes and cleaning the rooms for the residents.

Just before lunchtime, Sister Lumen called me into the room where an elderly Chinese man was staying and asked me to translate for him. Suffering as he is from late-stage throat cancer, the old man launched into a long complaint about the hardness and the taste of the food, the lack of hot water for medicinal tea, and the slow service due to the language barrier. The sister responded to his grumbles only with increasing mercy and compassion. For instance, when he asked for hot tea, she got up immediately to put the kettle on the stove. It was obvious that, for her, serving those men in their most needy and vulnerable stage in life was the concrete way of being in a relationship with Christ.

Meanwhile, the old man felt more at ease as we kept talking. At a certain point, he lifted his feet onto my lap and handed me his socks. As I obediently put the socks on his feet, I realized, all of a sudden, that this was exactly what I would do at home for my kids! The dishes, the cleaning, and the socks are my path of experiencing Christ. He is present every day, in my house, with me and my children. Our charitable work gave me the opportunity to follow the gaze of Sister Lumen, which in turn made my purpose as a mom clearer and my work at home so much more meaningful. I went home filled with a renewed tenderness for my family and love for my seemingly mundane work.

Yunan Pei, Campbell, California


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