BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Rocks don't change. They're hard, tangible products of pressure and time. It's why they're used to build foundations; why you call a strong person your rock. The stone surface is a reassuring presence of the familiar and that's what makes rocks a perfect platform for a new project spreading some positivity in a sometimes-hard world.
"One thing I know, one act of kindness can turn life around for a person," said Sr. Martha Ann Abshire, VP of Mission Identity for Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University. "I've seen it so many times."
The FMOL Sisters sponsor a unique mission to turn rocks into a constant reminder of love and hope and happiness. It's called the Baton Rouge Kindness Rocks Project.
It began with a woman in Massachusetts who was inspired to write inspirational messages on small rocks and leave them along the beach where she often walked. Soon, people were taking those rocks, leaving them in new places and replacing them with more decorated rocks. The idea of random "rocks" of kindness spread across the country.
In Baton Rouge, the Sisters found many eager partners to help fill the city with these rocks, including Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Mary Bird Perkins OLOL Cancer Center, City Year of Baton Rouge, St. Joseph's Academy, LSU University Lab School, Cristo Rey Franciscan High School, and Covalent Logic.
Volunteers paint smooth rocks with colorful messages of encouragement or humor. Then, they're left anywhere and everywhere for strangers to discover. Our Lady of the Lake has a small garden filled with the rocks outside the hospital's entrance. Sometimes, rocks show up in patient rooms, elevators, or the cafeteria to deliver messages like "you're not in this alone" and "stay strong."
"Even if it only helps one person, isn't it great? It could very well turn someone's life around at the moment," said Abshire.
Abshire hopes the rocks are a reminder of the good in the city that should never change.
"This is who we are. I really believe this is just a little bit of a reminder to keep us going on that track," she added.
If you find a rock, you can keep it or share it or replace it with another kindness rock of your own making. You can even share your rock on social media with #BRKindnessRocks or join their Facebook group Baton Rouge Kindness Rocks.