Making an Impact – ‘Small Things with Great Love’

Twenty-four-year-old Allentown Central Catholic High School alumni Diana Garcia calls on the local community to think about their routines and daily prayers in a different way.

In summer 2023, Garcia began an effort to clean up the area that is wrapped up in her morning routine of daily Mass, exercise, and podcasts.

She starts the day by attending Mass at St. Francis of Assisi, Allentown, and then begins cleaning up neighborhoods while taking a stroll and entering her usual time of prayer and meditation.

Garcia is devoted to St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who once said, “I prefer the monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a contemplative Carmelite nun who wrote “Story of a Soul” before her death from tuberculosis at 24, is a Doctor of the Church and is considered to have inspired “The Little Way”, which moved individuals like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta to begin caring for the poor in the most ordinary ways.

St. Thérèse believed, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love,” and “Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them.”

Using the mindset of St. Thérèse, Garcia’s joyful and loving environmental act is an opportunity to pray and meditate while doing the mundane; she believes her sacrifice can make a huge difference in the community.

“While it may seem meaningless to pick up an empty soda bottle or cap, just that small act makes an impact and can compound into something bigger. And even if it doesn’t, doing small things with great love can make anything a devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ,” explained Garcia.

She finds herself reflecting on “how there are many saints we can relate to and emulate.” Yet, as she put it, “We give it a little ‘remix’ because we are [unique] individuals.”

Garcia is calling others to also “emulate” St. Thérèse in these small acts. She hopes others can also work to beautify the community.

While this is an ordinary act, that is the point. Holiness can be found in the ordinary, as one makes a simple act of love for God, creation, and neighbor.

“Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” – 1 Corinthians 10:31.