“Mama Cat” & Saints of Civility

“Mama Cat” is a 55-year-old woman who lives in Ferguson, Missouri.  Following the shooting-death of Michael Brown, she went to the protest lines — not to protest, but to feed those who were protesting.  As the protests ended, she realized that she was still needed to feed those who were homeless and hungry.  So, until this day, with her own resources, with donations, and with grants — she does what SHE CAN DO to feed those in need.  Sometimes it is a sandwich with macaroni salad — sometimes it is spaghetti with a meat sauce and fruit.  She does what she can to show people SOMEONE CARES.

We have always said that saints come in all “shapes and sizes” — men and women — of all ages, races, colors, languages, ways of life, and parts of the world.  Saints came with the wide range of temperaments that we see in the world today.

Some Saints were people of outstanding courage who literally had to fight evil.  Some Saints suffered the bloody death of martyrdom.  Some saints lived modest and simple lives, dedicated to QUIETLY living their faith and serving others.  Some Saints were learned people, recognized as DOCTORS of the Faith.  Many saints lacked formal education, but knew God through faith and through experience.

ALL SAINTS had a love of God and a love of neighbor.  ALL SAINTS put others above self.

What “kind” of Saints do we need today?

In a world that seems to get uglier and uglier everyday, I think we need saints of CIVILITY.   A civil person is someone who is polite and courteous in behavior or speech.

A civil person would not call someone with whom they disagree — an SOB!

A civil person would not use words to divide and conquer.

A civil person would speak up for people in need and be concerned about those not in need.

A civil person would not destroy someone’s good name or reputation by spreading false information or offering a glance of innuendo.

I am returning home to the US after a 3 week experience in Florence, Italy. ONE TIME in those three weeks I listened to about 10 minutes of BBC news.  I watched no cable news, I listened to no talking heads, I heard no insulting interviews —– things that repeat the same thing over and over.  And, I still feel informed —- but less stirred up.

Like “Mama Cat”, we may not be able to do everything — but, we can do something.

As a visitor in a foreign land, I have seen over and over how a kind greeting — an attempt to speak another’s language, an undemanding attitude — has brought forth kindness and help.  [I have also seen the opposite — an expectation that someone is there to serve, demanding-impatience — brings forth a cold-formalness.]

I believe something is needed to restore civility to our world.  When national leaders and public commentators are mean, ugly, rude and shrill —-we need to see and experience kindness, ‘niceness’, polite, calm people.

Religious leaders who demean and castigate others are no better than our political leaders.  Preachers preach from the perch of perfection without kindness toward all, won’t lead others to the true love of God they talk about.

An Hispanic major league baseball player makes a racist gesture to another player who is Japanese-Iranian [born in Japan] —- reminds us that racism comes in all flavors.

Saints embody love and faith.  Saints give hope.  Saints show respect and act with dignity.

If Huffington Post had not run an article on Mama Cat, I would have never heard of her.  But that does not matter —- she isn’t serving to be known.  She is serving so that others know that goodness and kindness are real.


About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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