Holy Week seems an odd time to post a look back at Nun Run 2018.  I’ve hoped for the last 24 days to find the time to write this post…but, alas, even in our contemplative sphere life gets busy!  But today, with a bit of time before me, I wanted to share some of my impressions of the event and extend a thank you to all who helped make it such a smashing success.

My alarm woke me at 4 a.m. on the morning of the Nun Run.  Sr. John-Mark Maria and I would take off for Tempe by 4:30 a.m.  My groggy eyes met a smiling Sr. John-Mark Maria who had the car started by the time I got out of the door!  We prayed our Divine Office en route – as well as praying for the many volunteers (Shout out to Kevin, John, Rob, Rick, Fr. Kline, St. Mary Mags, St. Henrys, Al and the Gang, Sarah, Mark, Wes, Terry Ann, and on and on and on) whose morning started earlier than ours, as well as for all our sponsors and participants. 

We arrived at Kiwanis park just before 6 a.m.  The first person we saw was our volunteer coordinator, Lita.  On top of getting over a bad cold/virus, she’d been up for hours, yet was bright-eyed and smiling, waving us into our parking spot.  The next person we met was James from Universal Cup Coffee in Avondale.  Still at the beginning stages of getting his small (and very cool!) business started, Universal Cup donated coffee for all the volunteers and hand-delivered it (Tempe is not exactly just a hop, skip, and jump away from Avondale!) – only to rush back and re-begin his day at the Shop.  When we thanked him and apologized for jump-starting his day so early, he said: “I offered it to the Lord as a sacrifice.”  These are the moments that make the Nun Run an incredibly beautiful event!

Sr. Mary Fidelis with Fr. Kevin Grimditch and Fr. Passo

Our title sponsor – Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes of the Diocese of Phoenix – had their table already set up by the time we arrived.  Their lovely representative, Michaela, was full of smiles and warmth, even in the midst of the rather chilly morning!  By the time we got our Poor Clare table set up with the help our our longtime friends Rita and Susan, more people began trickling into the park and coming to say hello.  ASU nursing students were on hand, volunteering their time with their professor and our good friend, Cindi.  Make-shift confessionals were set up behind the stage, where our priests sat hearing confessions throughout the entire morning.

The Poor Clare booth saw many a visitor filling out prayer petitions, asking for our intercession for their needs.  I happily ran into a family that I look forward to seeing at the Run.  Every year I get a photo with their children.  I have seen the youngest grow from a baby to a happy little man of about 7 – who won a medal in his age group! The stories are countless, really.  The joy of the event is tangible.  The outpouring of support of over 1,000 people is humbling.  It’s our one day a year to meet so many good folks from the Diocese of Phoenix face to face.  To hear their stories, to assure them of our prayers, to invite them to come out to the Monastery for a visit and experience the peace/silence/solitude firsthand.  The Nun Run fundraiser raises much more than funds for us – it raises our awareness of the deep rootedness we have in the Diocese of Phoenix; it raises our gratitude for the MANY people who support us – by way of the donation of treasure, time and prayer; it raises our hands in praise and thanksgiving to God for the witness of so many incredibly generous people.

Each year our race manager and beloved friend, Jeremy (in photo below) marvels at the “spirit” of the Run and how with such joy everyone sticks around and talks, enjoying the morning and the fellowship.  I attribute this to the the love of Christ in which each of us are bound.

So perhaps Holy Week is a perfect time to reflect on the Nun Run.  At Mass on Holy Thursday (a particularly meaningful day for PCPAs) we chant “Where charity and love prevail, there God is ever found.  Brought here together by Christ’s love, by love are we thus bound.”  It is a poignant moment, when the love that filled Christ’s Heart at the Last Supper, as He washed the feet of his Apostles, flows down upon us and our Community.  Something of that love touched my heart at the Nun Run this year.  To each one of you who witnessed to me of the boundless love of Our Lord in which we are all bound, thank you.