OGDEN -- Among the frequent presentations made throughout the community by Sister Stephanie Mongeon is one on true friendship.
When she moves to Minnesota later this year with her fellow sisters at Mount Benedict Monastery, she won't be able to give her much-sought-after talks anymore in the Top of Utah.
With that in mind, Mongeon sent the top points of her friendship presentation to the Standard-Examiner.
"True friends know what is best for us and are there when needed the most," she quotes Hosffman Ospino, professor of theology and education at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry.
"They lend a hand in difficult times and sincerely rejoice and celebrate when we are happy," the quote continues. "As we journey through life, we meet people in countless places and circumstances. We may forget some, but we always remember the true friends. They make us better human beings. They help us reach our potential."
Mongeon states in her presentation that we are a result of all our relationships, and we carry that community of people in our being.
She said that includes those people who were a positive influence and those who were a negative influence.
"That we may develop all the potential of our being, we need a community of friends, with the capacity to both give and receive, to be heterogeneous enough for us not to stagnate," Mongeon states. "In friendship, we need a balance of voices that includes prophets, supportive, humorous and spiritual."
Mongeon says friendship is a place that many of us don't know fully, because we have a preconceived notion of what it looks like in advance.
"Yet, when we have a good relationship with ourselves, and if we are spiritually connected with our Creator, the notion of friendship widens," she states.
"Learning to be a powerful presence to others is a gift that enables those we interact with to also transcend the limitations of being just for self. We leave our own agenda out of it."
Mongeon warns against friendships that are manipulative and controlling, because they are not true friendships.
Power without grasping builds respect for one another, she states.
"I salute that in you which is most divine" is a quote she takes from the Sanskrit "namaste."
"It is at the interface of our Divinity that we are all equal."
"A person that has overcome the love of power for the power of love knows a depth of inner peace that brings courage in the face of difficulties," Mongeon states.
She points to research in the field of medicine indicating that those who are lonely and who are living alone with little interaction with other human beings are prone to disease and depression. She says the immune systems of these people break down.
"The most gracious and courageous gift that we can give to the world is the gift of our true selves," she says enthusiastically.
"I believe having true friendships helps us to see the world in a more positive way. We are more likely to see the good in others and appreciate their goodness as we share life in this marvelous world."
Mongeon, whose smile is known to be contagious, says she has never seen a person with a ready smile not bring out the potential in another human being -- and help them believe in their own goodness.
"My hope for you is a variety of enriching friendships that help build a more peaceful, humane society, that we are encouraged to share our gifts and receive the gifts of others with a grateful heart. A smile is the gateway to friendship."