Despite the cold weather of late fall and early winter, Sister Mary McDermott helps a tree grow at Maple Mount.
This is not a tree that needs watering or soil. It needs prayers.
Sister Mary volunteers in the Mission Advancement office. Each fall during the annual appeal campaign, the Development staff also urges the Ursuline supporters to submit their prayer requests. There is a different theme of the campaign each year, but regardless, the prayer requests are hung on a tree in the front vestibule of the Mount Chapel.
“When donations come in, Carol Braden-Clarke – the director of Development – gives me the prayer card, I cut it and put it on the tree,” Sister Mary said. “We had so many this year, I had to put them back to back. People are very generous every year.”
This year’s annual appeal theme is “Serve with Joy,” and the prayer card features a colorful butterfly, a symbol of the personal transformation possible through Ursuline ministries.
“Every prayer request I hang on the tree reminds me of how many people need our prayers,” Sister Mary said. “It’s very humbling being a part of that. I read the intentions as I put them up. I’m very aware of how much our prayers are needed, and how much we depend on each other.”
The prayer requests are not a seasonal event. The tree came down at Epiphany, so Sister Mary now places the prayer cards in a basket in the chapel, so they are not forgotten. This basket is used throughout the year, so anytime a supporter asks for prayers, it is passed onto Sister Mary, who fills out a prayer card and puts it in the basket.
“We pray for the intentions during Mass each day,” Sister Mary said. “Some Sisters will take a stack of cards to sit and pray with.”
The term “thoughts and prayers” has become cliché for some, at times dismissed as hollow words with no action. Sister Mary said the Ursuline Sisters take praying for the intentions of others very seriously.
“It’s important for people to know that the Sisters are praying for them,” Sister Mary said. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with these prayers.”
To send a prayer request any time, click this link below: