Everyone is "The Exception"

Lisa Martin

Sister Nancy Schwieters has been a volunteer at Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., in Davenport, Iowa, working as a computer lab monitor, helping shelter guests with computer skills and filling out job applications. She also has helped with the organization of supplies of clothing, bedding and toiletries. Sister Nancy said, "It's difficult, sometimes, to face the very real pain that some of our guests deal with on a daily basis. For me, it can help to put it in the words of a poem."

Sister Nancy organizing donations at HMSI.

Everyone is "The Exception"
by Sister Nancy Schweiters

Hey, look at me!
You need to listen to me,
I need bus tokens right now,
I need to see someone right now.

No, don't pay any attention to him!
You need to listen to me right now,
I need to put these things in my room right now,
I need more creamer right now.

No, no, no, don't pay any attention
To anyone but me!
You need to listen to me,
You need to see me as a person in need,
A person who may be so needy
That I can't even see
That there are other persons,
Other persons in need,
Other persons who may be so needy
That they can't even see me...

Please pay attention.

As I enter my office on a frigid January morning, my co-workers and I shiver and complain about how cold it is, about getting our of our warm beds and having to warm up our cars. Some of us turn on little space heaters under our desks. Sometimes coats, boots and scarves are left on as we sit at our computers, sipping our hot drinks as we work.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., in Davenport, Iowa.
Then I think about Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. (HMSI) which the Sisters of Humility established in 2008 that supports adults facing housing crises. I think about people without a home during this Iowa deep freeze--no bed, no gloves, no warm drink--who can find shelter at HMSI. I praise God for the Sisters of Humility and their caring presence in this community. (You, too, can help by clicking on the donate button on the right).

They're of a Color
by Sister Nancy Schweiters

They're of a color
That's why you don't see them.
Sister Nancy in the computer lab.

Most usually grey
Just fades away
Melds into the fabric
Of background silence.

They're of a color
That's why you don't see them.

It could be red
A bloody leg
Easier to turn away in fear
Or disgust because you
Really don't know
Or want to know
Or care
How the leg came to be bloody.

It could be yellow
The yellow of illness
Wasted away lives
Leaning against anything
Anything that is there.

Because we aren't.