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Sister Joan Sauro, CSJ, Publishes Article/Story in Notre Dame Magazine
Sister Joan Sauro, CSJ (Sister Joan Stanislaus) recently had a story, entitled “Look Who’s Watching,” published in the Spring 2011 issue of Notre Dame Magazine. Read the beginning of Sister Joan’s story, and then a link will lead you to the Notre Dame Magazine site to complete your reading!
"You are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood,” the police chief tells us at the neighborhood watch meeting. “Law enforcement counts on you to report any unusual activity.” He elaborates on gun violence, theft and crime-fighting strategies. Metal signs are placed throughout the area. They say, Welcome. This is a neighborhood watch area.
Our neighborhood is lower middle class. In among houses and apartments are 10 churches, including a Russian Orthodox with gold domes and a Ukrainian with green ones. Two churches ring daily bells over our heads. There are four well-attended pubs, one gym, one laundromat, a public school, two restaurants, a supermarket, a couple of pizza joints, four auto fix-it shops, an Irish dance studio, a library, two funeral homes, a florist long past its heyday and two pawn shops looking for broken gold. In the midst of all this stretches a fine park with a nine-hole golf course and a world-class zoo. Sometimes the monkeys compete with the church bells.
One Christmas Eve a young man watched with great interest the tan house on the corner a half mile from my own. Most in the neighborhood were celebrating Mass in the church down the street or were over at the Irish pub with out-of-town guests. Some were home wrapping last-minute gifts.
That night the eyes and ears of the neighborhood were not watching the one who entered an elderly woman’s kitchen and stabbed her repeatedly while her small pan of soup bubbled on the burner. On the table, five Ritz crackers waited like casino chips on a napkin next to her bowl. The Neighborhood Watch sign nearby never meant to welcome the young man who watched her house for just the right moment.
Now, at the penitentiary, guards watch his every move as they cautiously open the cell to let in Sister Maura, the chaplain, who tries to be the face of God for the young man who sits comatose. The guards clang the bars shut and keep watch. She hears them mumble: What kind of person murders an old woman in her kitchen and then turns off the flame under her pan of soup?
Every Wednesday after the noon Mass, a handful of the neighborhood faithful keep watch with the Blessed Sacrament in the former convent, unaware that it is Christ who keeps watch over them. There are fresh baked cookies, with warm and cold drinks in the kitchen should the watchers begin to nod. And by midafternoon they do. At dusk, a priest takes their place under the church domes. He could be over in the rectory watching a baseball game with his feet up, but no, he is kneeling upright, stalking the Divine. Like those before him, he takes his watching seriously. After all, someone should be waiting to hear should God care to speak. The neighborhood counts on these people, watching on our behalf, praying that God comes not like a thief in the night but like a loving Savior.