The cup of life

Blog Published: July 20, 2022
By Sister Catherine Scholastica K. Mutua, RNDM
A Nun's Life cup
Catherine Scholastica K. Mutua is a Religious of Notre Dame of the Missions from Kenya. Her academic background was in theology and religious studies, peace and development, with certification in early childhood and Scripture. Her first ministries were in teaching nursery school and coordinating the oblates. Recently, she returned from the Philippines, where she had been living and working for 21 years, primarily involved in peace-building and development programs. She hopes to continue similar programs in the Machakos Diocese in Kenya.

What is a book you have read lately that is shaping your response in ministry or in religious life?

I was reading a book by Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Our Life, when we got this assignment. I felt this book was so appropriate for me during this time when I have been looking back at my life in our renewal program. This has given me opportunity to reflect where I am now and where the future calls me after many years of mission in another country.

A few years ago, when I was teaching nursery school, we used small blue plastic cups. This was a good size for the children, and being plastic, they reduced the chances of breaking. Sometimes we the staff used the same cups. One day, I was outside cleaning when a man approached me; he did not seem right in the head and asked for some water to drink. I took one of our blue plastic cups and poured water from the jug and went out to give it to him.

To my surprise, when I extended the cup to him, he looked at the cup, and he looked at me without saying a word. I held the cup toward him and I said, "Here is the water you asked for." Eventually, he said to me, "I see, you are giving me water with the plastic cup because to you, I look like a mad person." I replied to him that we too use the same cups for everything. With one final look at me with my cup, he left.

We all have a particular cup or mug we like. Each of us has our own reason why we like that particular cup and not another cup. Probably it has a story how it was acquired, and that story makes it very special to the owner. What is the story behind your special cup?

After all these years, I see my life as a cup: beautiful but cracked and chipped, with a broken handle. This reminds me of my humanness. With many years of use, a cup is bound to slip and fall, and if it does not totally break, one continues to use it.

Joyce Rupp's book helped me to see many facets of my religious life that I had not seen before. Reflecting on my life over the last 25 years, I see these same characteristics that Joyce mentions in her book. The different symbols reflected in one cup echo the different stages of my living religious life. On Page 135 and following, Joyce talks about the "blessing cup." Although the whole book has many lessons for my life, those particular pages have helped me to find blessings in various ways that I have lived my life and continue to live. Quoting her: "Anyone and anything that brings good or God-ness into our lives is a blessing."

At this point in my life, I continue to live the cup of our life and nurture the lessons that are presented in ordinary symbols like a cup.

We’re delighted to share with you this blog from the monthly feature “The Life” courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month, The Life panelists responded to this prompt: What is a book you have read lately that is shaping your response in ministry or in religious life? CLICK HERE  to read more blogs from The Life series, GSR’s monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world.

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