By Dianne Witte
Some time ago, I saw the new version of “Wonder Woman” in which Diana, an Amazonian warrior, learns of conflict in the outside world. As a result Diana leaves home to fight in World War I, and in the process discovers her full powers and true destiny. There are countless plot threads, but the main takeaway for me was her realization that she had the power to rule her life and make a difference in the world. She is an inspiration to me in many ways.
But now I’ve got a new heroine in my life, who shares the characteristics of Wonder Woman only on a “REAL” life level. On a recent visit to New York and Montreal, I was privileged to tour the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. There, I made better acquaintance with his remarkable spouse, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. (She preferred to be called by her middle name.)
I know, at first glance, she might seem like a homely, unremarkable woman, overshadowed by her charming, persuasive, gregarious, husband. But she was fortunate enough to be born into New York’s “high society,” which offered her the opportunity to attend a private finishing school in Wimbledon, outside London, England. However, she lost both parents before she was ten years old, and as a result dealt with bouts of depression throughout her life. As a child, she was insecure and starved for affection, and considered herself the “ugly duckling.”
Despite the challenges of childhood, she blossomed as First Lady, becoming, according to her biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook “the most controversial First Lady in United States history.” With her husband’s strong support she continued with the active business and speaking agenda she had begun before assuming the role of First Lady in an era when few married women had careers. She was the first presidential spouse to hold regular press conferences and in 1940 became the first to speak at a national party convention. She also wrote a daily and widely syndicated newspaper column, “My Day”, another first for a presidential spouse. She was also the first First Lady to write a monthly magazine column and to host a weekly radio show.
In the process she was a champion of women’s rights, civil rights, worker’s rights and immigration rights. But, to me, her greatest achievements came after she left the White house and after Franklin passed away. Then, in my estimation, she took her contributions to an even higher level. She became a champion of human rights.
In December 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Roosevelt as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. In April 1946, she became the first chairperson of the preliminary United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Roosevelt remained chairperson when the Commission was established on a permanent basis in January 1947. Along with others, she played an instrumental role in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UN posthumously awarded her one of its first Human Rights Prizes in 1968 in recognition of her work. That was in addition to innumerable other awards, perhaps best represented in the fact she was named in Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. She came in ninth behind the likes of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Helen Keller. What an achievement, what a “Wonder Woman.”
I found another connection with Eleanor Roosevelt that I hadn’t been aware of until recently. I have used the “Great Invocation” as part of my prayer life for many years. I believe I first learned of it from Eric Butterworth, an author and popular Unity minister. Now I’ve learned Eleanor Roosevelt recorded a brief message which included the Great Invocation at the United Nations in 1952 to establish the first World Invocation Day. Since then, World Invocation Day is celebrated on the Day of the Full Moon in Gemini, this year, just passed, June 17, 2019. It is a day to be celebrated by all men and women of every spiritual path. The intent is to bring about a world of justice, unity and peace.
The Great Invocation is a world prayer, based upon truths common to all religions. It has been translated into more than 75 languages and dialects and is used daily by tens of thousands of men and women of all faiths who wish to bring about right human relations and lasting peace. I’d like to share it here with you, in the event you haven’t yet seen it.
THE GREAT INVOCATION
From the point of Light within the mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into human hearts
May the Coming One return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide all little human wills
The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the human race
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
So, perhaps, like Wonder Woman and Eleanor Roosevelt, we can each be a hero/heroine in our own way by daily recitation of the Great Invocation and by being our best self.