Thursday, September 1, 2005
She's an angel with a meaningful purpose. As she spoke, it seemed as if her words slowly came to life. I was taken by this woman's presence and her love for God.
Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Sister Donna Gunn has devoted her life to helping the community and restoring justice among the people. She has lived in Jackson for eight years.
"I love my work with Catholic Charities because I work with people who are just as passionate about this agency's mission, which is to be the face of God to the poor and vulnerable," she says.
But Gunn says many people misunderstand the work that she does. She says: "Some people believe that we just pat (the poor) on the head and do nothing else. But the real goal for anyone working with the poor is to give them dignity, lift them up, journey with them and find ways to get them out of poverty."
During her childhood, Gunn's parents were very active in the church and civic society. She attended Indiana University at Bloomington where she earned her masters degree in theater. She also received a certificate of gerontology at Michigan University at Ann Arbor. She has ministered in several places around the country including Kansas City, Mo., Colorado and Georgia.
Health care for the poor and elderly are two important issues to her. We discussed her role in justice issues and how problems still exist in the system; she's a registered lobbyist and spends some time at the Mississippi capitol building.
"I try to look at what needs to change in the system in order to bridge the gap," she says. "I am always struck by the words 'Thy kingdom come on earth' in the Lord's Prayer. We only have to look around to know that God's kingdom/God's creation isn't always what God wants it to be.
"In order to make it what God wants it to be, we have to enter into a 'pro-creation' mindset."
In the face of all the problems that exist in the world are people who are working day to day with respect and sincerity toward finding solutions to them. Sister Donna Gunn is one of those people. I can tell by the look in her eyes that she has hope for this world.
As our conversation comes to an end, she looks at me and says; "We need to start working together, listening and dialoguing with one another in order to seek solutions for the people who are lost."