Today’s reading from the Letter to the Hebrews is very stirring and encourages us to persevere.
Brothers and sisters: Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God. Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Hebrews 12:1-4
One can’t help but think of our own Sister Marion Irvine, a very unique and outstanding woman, when thinking of the perseverance of a marathoner running her race.
Sister Marion Irvine, O.P., the “Flying Nun,” an accomplished runner , has been an inspirational alumna and supporter of Dominican University. In 1983 she qualified for the 1983 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon. In her career as a runner, she shattered all major running records in the 50–54, 55–59, and 60–64 age groups, and earned five gold medals at the World Veteran Games in Eugene, Oregon.
After forty-seven years of service in schools, Sister Marion came home to San Rafael and served as the promoter of social justice for the congregation until about four years ago. Of course she still stays active in social justice ministry, working with agencies in Marin County and organizing the sisters’ jail ministry.
She continues to find this work challenging, exciting and rewarding. Whether the issue is abolishing the death penalty, creating compassionate immigration reform, or supporting peace and justice, Sister Marion demonstrates the same focus, discipline and energy she did in running . . . and really just about anything she does.
May we be blessed with this same perseverance and dedication in all the way we serve God and God’s people.