Starting Over in Greensburg, Kansas Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 09:05
Catholic News Service has a moving piece this morning about a 70 year old parish secretary in Greensburg, KS, who survived the tornado by huddling in her hallway with her oxygen tank.

They also interviewed Ellen Peters, a fellow parishioner at St. Joseph's, who was not alone in dropping everything to pitch in. "She told CNS the assistance was overwhelming. "I can't say enough about people learning Gospel living when the chips are down," she added.

One difficult aspect of volunteering, though, was hearing so many stories of loss.

"So many people lost everything," she said, noting that after the tornado it rained for three days, further ruining people's belongings. But even amid this loss, she heard countless stories of people picking through the rubble and finding items of personal value.

She also said the people she talked to showed amazing resiliency and faith. They frequently spoke of the storm as an "act of nature, not an act of God" and were convinced God would give them the strength they needed to move on.

"There was none of this, 'Why did this happen to me?'" she said. Instead, the Greensburg residents seemed determined to "keep at it and dig in, knowing they will be back.""

It may seem odd but people caught up in a large communal catatrophe don't usually ask "Why did this happen to me?". I know that was my family's experience as homeless hurricane refugees from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A large tragedy seems much less personal than say, having your your house burn down while the houses next store remain untouched Having a community around you who really understands from the inside makes a huge difference.

Here is the latest news about diocesan efforts to respond to the destruction. One poignant note: The bell from St. Joseph's Catholic church is the only surviving bell in town. It is run twice a day - at noon and 6 pm - as a sign of hope.