The Oikos Philosophy: Living By The Spirit

The Oikos Sisters have a beautiful relationship with God.  Over the past 18 years…almost 19, they have come to trust in the Lord completely.  Many people say that, you know?  Just put your trust in the Lord…but I wonder if all of the people who say that really know what it means.  Below is a blog written by Sarah Noonan, a missionary from Buffalo, New York living and working with the Oikos Sisters for one year.  Please take a moment to read the following…it is very inspirational, and gives a beautiful insight into the daily lives of the Oikos Sisters and what it means to really trust in the Lord…

I’ve written some pretty fantastic things in this blog that the Oikos Sisters do.  From sending kids to school to feeding the poor in the barrios, from teaching all people about God to giving free medications to the poor.  They eat sleep and breathe their charism, like going to the poor where they are and giving them a hand up like in the immersion and livelihood programs.  It is all amazing but it all takes time to prepare and people to do it.  However, sometimes, the most incredible giving is done spur of the moment, when the Holy Spirit taps you on the shoulder and asks you to help.  I think that’s happened to me a lot, but perhaps my busy schedule or shyness, perhaps even intimidation has kept me at times from approaching strangers and seeing if they need help.  I think the Oikos Sisters live so tuned into the Holy Spirit that they go at the merest tap and they trust with all of their being that God will protect them.  Today I was witness to such an occurrence,  and it literally moved me to tears.

Sister Minerva and I were at mass this morning, as usual, and after the mass we began to leave.  However, Sister Minerva saw a woman and a young boy who were sitting quite a few pews up from us.  As we were leaving, she suddenly turned and walked to the other door where the woman and her son was.  She greeted them and asked them about their lives.

The woman’s name is Jennifer, and her son is John Mark.  She is from Manila, but when she got married she lived with her husband in CanAvid, a town north of Borongan.  She has 3 other children besides John Mark.  A few years ago, Jennifer’s husband was killed, how or what for, I do not know, but Jennifer feared for her life and the lives of her children.  So, they went back to Manila and lived with her grandmother in a teeny home.  Deciding to return to CanAvid to see if she could get help from the government there, she and John Mark went there, but to her dismay, because she no longer lived in Can Avid, they offered her no help. 

Jennifer decided to come to Borongan, where a distant relative lives, and see if she could get the fare back to Manila.  However, the family here is poor as well and is unable to help.  Now, Jennifer and John Mark spend their nights sleeping behind the stage at the plaza in the center of town and spend their days begging for food on the streets, hoping to get food for the day, let alone the fare for a trip for 2 back to Manila.  She is a beautiful woman with kindness in her eyes, and my heart ached for her when I heard her story.

She tried a few times to approach the priests in the cathedral, but shyness and embarrassment about her situation kept her from asking for help.  So, Sister Minerva offered to help introduce her to the priests and told Jennifer where to go to get food always at Oikos.  Upon coming home, after our morning prayer, I asked Sister Minerva how else we can help her.  The Sisters were given money from a former resident of Borongan, and she said she feels called to give Jennifer the fare to Manila this very day!!  I cried out loud and hugged Sister Minerva…my heart just broke thinking of this woman and her son sleeping outside, going to bed hungry, far away from the rest of her family, especially her children.  And to think that in just a little bit, they will be together again…oh my, my heart just leapt!!!

That is the way, here in Oikos… to be open to the Holy Spirit where ever He sends you, whenever He taps you on the shoulder.  And to give.  Certainly, there are needs here in Oikos, certainly the pharmacy needs more medications to give to the poor, certainly we will need to get more rice so we can hand it out to whoever knocks at our door, certainly there are many more needs, but certainly there are people right in front of us who often get overlooked because we are thinking of the big picture, of the many needs we have and the many errands we have to run.  But, even with all of those things on her mind, Sister Minerva saw someone in need, and she immediately responded to that need…and lives were changed.  That is one of the things the Oikos Sisters have learned over these past 18 years…I trust with all my being that God will see to my needs and the needs of those who are under my care, and I see to the needs of the person right in front of me.  He will provide if only I have the courage to trust.

Living by the Spirit…being moved by the Spirit…how awesome is that?  The next time I feel that tug, I’m going to respond!!

To read more of Sarah’s blogs about her experiences in the Oikos Community, please visit