On Benevolent Leadership and Nuns


by Alpha Sanford


A few Sundays ago we went to church and sat at our usual spot where we could see everybody who enters the door. Not long after we claimed our seats, two elderly women both unusually agile and alert for their age came through the entrance and we locked eyes. One of the women was just staring at us and I could not understand why she was doing that. Her look was not anything malicious at all but again it was somewhat odd given the length and the kind of concentration she had in her eyes. I suddenly began to think of my own grandmother – petite at 4’10 like them. And then they were right at our aisle, still the same woman staring at us as if she has not seen such people in all these years!

And that was when I realized she was actually looking and admiring at our daughter!

When they were very close to us, one of the women waved her hands at my daughter and gave the sweetest and sincerest, almost the holiest smile I had ever seen. She had that face that reminds me of Mother Teresa.

Then they both walked away – moving their heads straight through a few pews in front of us. As they walked, my husband and I noticed their headpiece – then it hit us. They are nuns!

The sanctity of their look and the clarity in their eyes moved me – then I found myself praying for them. Then, praying for all the priests and the nuns and all the members of the church who serve the people and who are our bridges to God. I found myself admiring their work and the way they give themselves to the community.

Then I asked myself at that moment: how could these people (the nuns) live so simply, happily and so dedicated to their mission in life? How could they do what they are called for in life wholeheartedly without the need to be recognized? How could as human as they are, do what they do?

Then I began to tell myself that they are truly not just God’s sent but they are benevolent leaders. They exhibit the characteristics of benevolent leadership. They work hard; they have solid integrity; they fulfill their mission and they work for the goodness of people. They do everything they can – even pray for all souls dead or living. They are indeed remarkable – just like any benevolent leaders that we know from history.

As we left the church, I had in my mind an idea of how I must lead my life or my organization. I thought of Mother Teresa and I held in my heart and in my mind a more important lesson than the homily for the day: lead with benevolence.



Alpha Sanford is the creator and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed! a personal development website which aims to inspire and motivate people from all walks of life through its bi-weekly articles. She interviews and features inspiring individuals whose extraordinary work impact the lives of many people in the community. You can contact her via facebook, twitter, email or pinterest.