Take a chance

Every place has its own particular ideas and feelings which must be yielded to when possible.
Catherine McAuley letter to Frances Warde November 17, 1838

“…Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of”.

Pope Francis from Ted Talk

Taking a chance is almost an extinct art. Without taking a chance we think risk is averted.

Devotional Catholic painting inside a cell in Dublin Jail early 20th Century – Image courtesy of S.Theodore

Think about the great changes taking place, electric cars, drones, and above all social unrest. This unrest is in the form of populism which is destroying societies around the globe. Populist movements such as Trumpism, aspects of the Brexit and Italy’s Five Star Movement all have roots in xenophobia. Leaders of those countries remained risk averse, not willing to take the political risk of dealing with social problems head on. The results are a disaster for democracy and in some places religious freedoms.

What if Catherine McAuley had never taken the punt on Baggot Street? She could well have lived a very comfortable life. As my colleague Dennis Horton once told me “not preferring to be with God’s people”. Catherine made the choice to walk the unknown path.

We are all leaders, whether in an organisation, work environment or family. As such, we should examine our capacity for change by taking a chance in our decision making.

If you want to see more about the changing legacy of Catherine McAuley’s work watch the video below


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