The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Sister Benedict Kesock, O.S.B.,

Principal, St. Charles School
Arlington, VA

Sponsor: Rep. Hon. Jim Moran, (D-VA)
Date of Prayer: 03/27/2003

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, the invocation, the prayer for today, was delivered by Sister Benedict Kesock. Sister Benedict is a Benedictine Sister. She entered the Order in 1954, and for the last 29 years she has been at St. Charles School in Arlington, Virginia, 27 of those years as principal. She has served under nine pastors and three bishops. She has trained all of them and probably outlived most of them all.

Sister Benedict is an institution at St. Charles and in Arlington County, Virginia. She has dedicated her life to God and served God by teaching and inspiring and mentoring her students. It has been a labor of love the entire time, and it has been reciprocated.

In 1999, we thought we were going to lose Sister. She went to Arlington Hospital. They would not operate; they did not think it was worth it. So she went to Washington Hospital Center and got a six–way heart bypass in 1999, a six–way bypass. And she is still ticking, as you can see. She believes there must have been some reason that God saw to keep her with us.

This institution is terribly proud to have had Sister Benedict give us the invocation today. Her life is a testament to her faith.

She gave us one little story that I think some of you who may have been educated in Catholic schools might relate to. A former male student of hers was driving by the school where there is a lot of new construction going on. They were building a new center. There was an enormous construction hole in the ground. So one of the thousands of boys she straightened out, after seeing it, called her on his car phone to tell her, ‘‘Sister, I didn't do it.'' Those of you who are listening may be able to relate to that feeling.

The fact is, Sister Benedict did do it. She has helped build a school, the new St. Charles Center and a community of faith in Northern Virginia. She has taught and inspired hundreds of students every year for nearly 30 years. She is what makes this country run so well.

Sister Benedict, thank you for everything you have contributed throughout your life; and thank you for giving us the prayer this morning.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Lord God, what a great idea to make us all different.

May we come to know one another and the ministry to which we have been called, especially those who meet within these great walls. You have asked us to be leaders, caretakers, role models. Be with us as our counselor and our support as we continue the journey of ministering to others and to one another in a world of turbulence. All that lies ahead of us is yet unseen.

We pray for our President and his advisors, for all those who make decisions which affect our lives on a daily basis. We pray, especially, for our military families, those who are separated at this time, for those who have lost their lives, and for their families; for the people of Iraq, for their suffering homeland.

We are a family of nations. Experience and history has taught that community formed out of diversity is dynamic and beautiful. Lord, keep us motivated and challenged that we may gain an ability to listen to one another and to grow. There can be unity and strength in our diversity. May our differences be stepping–stones to a lasting peace and to a new tomorrow.

We ask You, Lord, to renew our humanity in Your image and likeness and to introduce us into a world where all hostile forces are overcome. We pray for those who need to have a change of heart, for a world where we communicate in love, joy and peace, for and with the people of our universe.

Father, fill our hearts, our homes, our Nation, our world with peace, and let it begin with each one of us.

We especially remember this morning our dear friend and colleague Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and his family.

Feel the Spirit. Live the Spirit. Spread the Spirit. Lord, we are the Spirit. May it be said that the world is a better place because we are here. Amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory