|Mercy Volunteer Lauren Mifsud plays at recess with|
three of her students at St. Peter's School in San
The thing that I love most about street retreats is something that any Faithful Fool knows as “The Penny Story.” This is shared at the end of every street retreat. It tells the story of Faithful Fools co-founder, Kay Jorgensen, and how she came to realize that her true mission was in the creation of the Faithful Fools organization. As Kay was walking to the market one day, she felt something hit her arm. Kay looked down and saw two pennies on the sidewalk at her feet. She picked them up and carried them on her way. At the market, Kay was by the refrigerator getting a drink when a man approached her and asked, “Do you happen to have two pennies? If I had two cents, then I could buy this drink.” She reached into her pocket, handed the pennies to the man, and then headed to the cash register. As Kay was paying for her lunch, one of her favorite songs came over the loudspeaker and she knew that she had experienced something special. Kay soon noticed that pennies seemed to show up whenever she was confronted with a moment of doubt or questioning. She came to see their presence as encouragement along the way. Pennies led Kay and her friend and Faithful Fools co-founder, Carmen, to find the location where Faithful Fools Street Ministry is located today. Kay’s penny story reminds us that, “we have what we need before it is asked of us.”
Pennies have become a recurring theme over the course of this past year. Bianca and I always seem to stumble across them when we least expect it. We found three during the last mile of the San Francisco Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Bianca finds that they appear to her when she needs an extra dose of hope. And when I made the call to decline a job offer that I wasn’t quite sure was right for me, I looked down from my bench in Golden Gate Park and saw one glistening in the sunlight. Catherine McAuley once said that Mercy was, “the principal path,” or a crazy roadway of twists and turns that ultimately help us to follow God. Bianca and I have come to see pennies as personalized breadcrumbs, left behind by God for us to snatch up as He tries to lead us right where we are supposed to be.
I feel so blessed to have spent this year at St. Peter’s School as well as Faithful Fools Street Ministry. Both of these amazing sites, and Bianca, have taught me so much about the true meaning of community. We don’t always know which way to turn. We will never have all of the answers. All we can do is have big hearts and strong shoulders for people to lean on, for however brief a time, while we navigate our path.
Much like a Mercy Volunteer, the penny is small, but mighty. By itself, it’s just one cent, but throw two together, and you’re making real change.
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