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  • CFR Sisters

Nothing Less than Everything


I have stepped into a new way of life here in East Harlem and, “simply said,” there is a new awareness of Divine Provision that the Lord is nurturing within me. We rely on Him to give us what we need, and I stand in constant awe of the countless friends and strangers (perhaps you are among them!) who come to us as the hands and feet of the Good Shepherd so that we and the poor we serve “shall not want.” This pen and paper, the bread and blankets and toothpaste and shoes, it is all His. It has always been His.


Below is a poem that I’ve read many times, which has become a profoundly simple meditation on Divine Providence for me. I have taken the liberty of adding some lines of my own [in brackets] as I continue to ponder the reality that even the little details and personality of our neighborhood are His. Our God gives us nothing less than everything. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear.



Musical Notation 2[.5]

By Mary Oliver [and Madison]

Everything is His.

The door, the door jamb.

The leaves blown upon the path

that leads to the door.

The trees that are dropping their leaves,

the wind that is tripping them this way and that way,

the clouds that are high above them,

the stars that are sleeping now beyond the clouds[.

The voices of the neighbors,

the shouts of their children running through the park.

The cars inching their way down nearby 2nd Avenue,

the many windows looking out over them,

the pots and pans clinking behind the windows.

The trumpet that sings in Jefferson Park,

the harmonies of accompanying sirens

The steps leading up to old St. Cecilia’s,

the quiet just past the stoop]


and, simply said, all the rest.



When I open the door I am so sure so sure

all this will be there, and it is.

I look around.

I fill my [lungs with His cold, New York air.]

I turn and enter His house, and close his door.


Madison, CFR postulant

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