03 Aug Brother Marcel Sylvestre, FIC: Heavenly Advice from a Former Director
Brother Marcel Sylvestre, who died May 4 of this year, was the director of MPS from 2000-2009. He was also a true missionary: He possessed a love for those in the greatest need combined with the persistence to make a difference for them. He showed this in too many ways to list here, but sharing a couple of anecdotes from him will continue to guide and inspire our missionary efforts in his absence:
In the MPS workshops and grant applications we did together, I will always remember Marcel consoling a missionary who complained about his or her application being rejected: “Now don’t let this stop you from trying again. Consider that every NO gets you closer to a YES!”
Similar to the thoughts of saints and mystics, Marcel saw an underlying unity and connection between us all. Such that even a rejection of a grant application could be viewed positively in his eyes: “Just think, your rejection has made it possible for some other missionary’s application to be accepted. Your loss has made room for someone else in need.”
For any of you who knew Marcel, you know these anecdotes reflect more than just words from him, they were how he lived his life.
My last days with Marcel were in Haiti, at a workshop we did there two summers ago. At that time his health was failing and he attended the workshop with stomach problems and a slight fever. I remember at the time, and now regret, getting mildly impatient with him for not being more specific in some of his instructions to the conference participants. But he was true to himself and certainly truer than me, with how the Master Teacher would have instructed: placing a priority on encouragement and gentle requests to not give up in our efforts to serve others.
Marcel always referred to death as “getting promoted.” How inspiring his faith, to view something that can inspire fear, with the excitement that comes from confidence in a better future!
Brother Marcel Sylvestre, Pray For Us.
Artie Pingolt July 29, 2019