“Cent’anni!” is an Italian toast that translates “to a hundred years!”
I imagine if someone offered that toast to Sister Jean today she would smile and think to herself, “Been there, done that.”
Sister Jean’s 100th birthday was reported this morning on news outlets from HLN to ESPN. She is universally beloved, admired and respected.
Do we ever wonder why that is so? There’s really no “wonder” to it. Sister Jean’s secrets to a long and happy life are right there for all the world to see:
- Smile. As often and long as you possibly can. A smile makes those around you happy.
- Keep busy. Did Sister Jean ever “retire?” It doesn’t appear so.
- Develop an interest in something that fulfills you. Who’d ever think Sister would become the chaplain (and de facto counselor) to the Loyola University Chicago men’s basketball team but she did. They love her and she loves them.
- Align yourself to something greater than yourself. The Unversity. The team. Said another way, “it’s not about you.”
- Be gracious. Relentlessly gracious. Even when you don’t want to be.
- Be kind. Are you kidding? Who doesn’t want to hug Sister Jean?
- And, according to Sister, “look to take the additional step.” The Jesuits call it “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,” or “to the Greater Glory of God” with the emphasis on “Greater.” Sister Jean has adopted the Jesuits’ motto.
Happy Birthday, dear lady. Since the Italian toast won’t do, we will offer the Latin version: “ad moltos annos.”
To many more years.