"I believe in kindness,” June Callwood said in her last interview before she died. This woman often referred to as “Canada’s conscience” gave a great deal in her lifetime. Kindness was the benchmark for her. It summoned her and summed up how she oriented herself toward others.
|The late June Callwood:|
Canadian author, social
justice activist. A moral
universe founded on small
acts of kindness, inspired
"June Callwood was someone who had her fair share of criticism and confrontation come her way. She was also someone who did not back away from an opportunity to stand her ground. Beneath it all, and through it all, she believed in kindness.
"What we believe matters. What we do not believe matters too. The growing challenge in a time which can polarize us is to allow kindness to be our compass and guide. I am reading Mary Jo Leddy’s new book called, The Other Face of God. She has spent the last 20 years living with a number of people in a place called Romero House. She lives in a house in the west end of Toronto with people who come to Canada as refugees. Mary Jo writes beautifully about the names and faces of people who began as strangers and then summoned her to a new way of seeing and living in the world. The subtitle to her book is 'when the stranger calls us home.'
"These people were not just refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Guatemala and elsewhere. They have a name, a history, a story and a face. It is difficult to stereotype when you listen to the complex story of someone’s life.
"Mary Jo Leddy and June Callwood were friends. It doesn’t surprise me. Kindness toward others and a summons from someone who is different from us, both offer a hopeful ground to stand on. The ground may be rocky and uneven at times. But take a look around at the landscape of your area – what makes it beautiful is that it doesn’t all look the same."