Robert Short

Robert Short

Sunday, 23 December 2018 20:26

Joy is an Act of Moral Resistance

Kitty Madden, Affiliate in Nicaragua, sent the message below taken from The Revolutionary Love Project.  Kitty saw it as a very indicated message for this Christmas season.

The government shuts down upon threats of a wall. A child dies in the custody of U.S. officials at the border. The President orders sudden troop withdrawals that provoke global instability. All this took place in the last week alone.

Some may see the holidays as a time to retreat from the cascade of crises facing our nation and world. 

We choose to see the holidays not as a time to try to escape but as an opportunity to ground ourselves in joy. Joy returns us to everything that is good and beautiful and worth fighting for. Joy gives us the energy to continue our labors to make a viable life and more just world. Joy comes when we draw our attention to the present moment -- a child's laughter, a neighbor's cookies, a lit candle. In a time such as this, joy is an act of moral resistance. 

Feliz Navidad

Saturday, 15 December 2018 20:02

Maryknoll Companions Initiative (Update)

Update On The Maryknoll Companions Initiative 

Recently, we told you about the Maryknoll Companions Initiative, the program that can connect a Maryknoll Missioner as a companion to each chapter.  We told you that the Maryknoll Sisters agreed to engage in this process with Maryknoll Affiliate chapters.  More recently, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and the Lay Missioners have also agreed to participate.  We are excited that this will truly be a Maryknoll-wide program.  We know, from personal experience, that we are inspired and enriched when we join together.

To recap:

Possible companion activities:  Communicate by email, letter, conference call, or possibly visits. Share your stories, prayers for each other, encouragement, advice.  By using technology to develop a relationship between a chapter and a missioner, we can overcome any barrier of distance.

Who is Invited? Any chapter worldwide, provided a companion can be found who speaks a common language.

How to Sign Up:

A chapter coordinator or contact person should fill out the brief attached form and send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up for the program.

Please contact us at that same email if you have any questions or suggestions.

And if you already have a Missioner in or supporting your chapter, please fill out the form and tell us that - this way, we can keep better track of how we are connected!

Thanks very much from the Companion Initiative Team:
    Ralph Maughan
    Jean Menton
    Mary Moritz
    Gerry Mullaney
    Paula Schaffner


FORM: Chapter Companions Initiative

Please provide the following information and save it to a file with its name in this format:

CompanionRequest-[Your Chapter Name].docx.

Attach this file to your email reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ask any other questions you might have; you will be helping us shape this process.

Today’s date:
Contact Person

Language(s) in which your chapter can communicate:
     First choice
     Second choice

Would you be able to Skype?

Does your chapter maintain a relationship with other Maryknoll Missioners?




Would you prefer to designate one of these Missioners as your Chapter Companion?

Comments? Hopes/expectations?














Today’s date




Contact Person














Language(s) in which your chapter can communicate:

     First choice


     Second choice


Would you be able to Skype?


Does your chapter maintain a relationship with other Maryknoll Missioners?







Would you prefer to designate one of these Missioners as your Chapter Companion?


Comments? Hopes/expectations?

















Friday, 07 December 2018 13:31

Virtual Chapters

There are now 3 Virtual Chapters in the Affiliate world - 1) mirroring a geographic chapter 2) the contemplative chapter 3) the international (Kenya/US/Europe chapter.  In a recent meeting (video conference) of the first mentioned 1) - chapter members expressed how wonderful an experience this virtual chapter* has been for them and suggested that we invite new members.  This is particularly the case for Affiliates who have moved away from the former Chapter and/or find it difficult to travel to their Chapter.  The virtual chapter model is also meant for those expressing interest in the Affiliates who'd like to join a chapter but do not live close to any established geographic chapter. 

So, if you or someone you know would like to consider joining a virtual chapter, contact Bob Short: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

* All three virtual chapters have proven to be a very positive experience.



Friday, 07 December 2018 12:39

3 Announcements

Three Announcements:

  1. New Email Address - Board Chair, Rich Lessard has a new email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Rich welcomes questions, comments and any level of feedback that would help to sustain and grow our Affiliate movement.   
  2. Family Coffee - If you would like a Christmas gift of delicious Honduran coffee, while also supporting Affiliate Ron Covey and his work with others in the education of children in Guatemala - Caminando Por La Paz, go to: Order by December 18th. To learn more about this wonderful initiative (and practice a bit of Spanish) see the video on the home page of the website.
  3. Contemplative Retreat (Mwanza, Tanzania) - If you have been thinking about participating in this retreat - July 2019 - with the Maryknoll Family (see:,-tanzania-july-2019.html) Contact Bob Short before December 20.


Saturday, 01 December 2018 19:50

The Maryknoll Companions Initiative

You’re Invited to Be Part…

Would you like a Maryknoll Missioner to be a companion to your chapter? A team of five Affiliates have formed to help you make such a connection. The Maryknoll Sisters have agreed to engage in this process, and we are in discussions with the Society and Lay Missioners.

Possible companion activities: Communicate by email, letter, conference call, or possibly visits. Share your stories, prayers for each other, encouragement, advice.

Who is Invited? Any chapter worldwide, provided a companion can be found who speaks a common language.

Matching process:

  • The contact person of interested chapters emails us.
  • We send you a short form to provide the information we need to match you to an interested companion.
  • The Sisters’ Companion Coordinator gathers the names and information of Sisters willing to be a companion.
  • The Companions Team suggests matches, which the Sisters’ Companion Coordinator verifies would be a good fit. She then shares the Chapter information with the Companion, who affirms that she is still ready and willing to be a Companion.
  • When the Companions Team hears back that a match has been made, we share the Companion’s contact information with the Chapter Contact Person, who makes the first contact with their new Companion.

How this program came about. During the October meeting/retreat of the Maryknoll Affiliates Board and Regional Coordinators, one theme that was discussed is the importance of making all kinds of connections, not only with those we meet on (Click READ MORE below to see all)

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 15:46

Christmas Gift Idea

                                         Family Coffee

John Moritz, member of the Northeast Florida Chapter and the Affiliate Board, suggested this gift - Family Coffee would be something everybody can use that will support a very worthwhile cause. 

Family Coffee is a project of Caminando Por La Paz. Ron Covey, from both the Houston & Guatemala Chapters, oversees this initiative - the only Maryknoll Affiliate-run such program.  The profits from the sales of this excellent Honduran Coffee support the Education of Children in one of the most marginalized areas of Guatemala City.  

To purchase and/or learn more, go to:  You can choose from regular or dark roast - ground or beans.
Orders need to be received by 18 December!

Maryknoll Contemplative Retreat Mwanza, Tanzania (July 22-29, 2019)

There are two remaining spots for Affiliates who would like to participate in this retreat.  If interested, contact Bob Short ASAP & before Christmas.  The Affiliate Board has offered to provide a stiped to help defray the cost of air travel.

[You’ll see below that this retreat entails significant time in meditative silence.]

Mission Vision (Jim Elbe MM)

 RATIONALE: The challenges of living and working in a globalized world of climate change, inequality in all its forms, ethnic conflict, racism, reactionary nationalism, religious fundamentalism, terrorism, and poverty create an environment that demands a more contemplative approach for Maryknoll Missioners.

  1. VISION: To foster a more contemplative way of being Maryknoll Missioners that would empower us to be Contemplatives in Action in our broken world.

III. MISSION: To create a Maryknoll culture of Contemplative Mission through a Contemplative Intensive Retreat.

  2. To have an Intensive Meditation Retreat (6hrs. sitting meditation a day except for the first day when we will have a combination of talks and meditation).
  3. To invite all entities of the Maryknoll Family: Congregation, Society, Lay Missioners and Affiliates (14 participants in all)
  4. To invite Fr. Alfonso Kim, MM to lead this retreat. (He has already agreed)
  5. To structure the retreat in such a way that it will foster a contemplative way of being in Mission by:
  6. Setting the context for a retreat in Africa by having speakers from the African experience on the first day.
  7. Six hours a day of silent meditation
  8. Daily evening conversations on the differing realities of fostering a culture of Contemplation throughout the Maryknoll World.
  9. Dates of the Retreat: 22-29 July 2019; arrive 21 July; depart 30 July
  11. The Lake House of Prayer will provide for the following:

                        -Plane ticket, room and board, stipend for Fr. Kim

                        -Room and board for all participants

Thursday, 22 November 2018 19:09

Houston Mission - two more photos

Dick Horstman, Affiliate from the Houston Chapter, provided before & after photos

of the house in Brazoria, TX that 11 Affiliates worked on - November 11 - 17.


Sunday, 18 November 2018 21:45

Houston Mission

…send down your grace upon us as we enter the Vasquez home.  Help us realize that this is not just a house, but rather the home where their family ate their meals together, raised their children, spent holidays together and told stories to each other…” *

At the invitation of Houston Chapter members, eleven Affiliates from throughout the country came together in Brazoria, TX (about 1 ½ hours south of Houston) for a week of mission to help restore a home very seriously compromised by flood waters around the time of Hurricane Harvey in the summer of 2017. Countless elements had to fall into place in order to pull off such an ambitious undertaking – skill levels, personality styles, energy levels, the right tools, faith commitment, etc.  Looking back on our time together, all exuberantly agreed that they did.  Thank you, Houston Chapter!!

The work site - FEMA paid to have this 1962 mobile home raised some 3 ½ feet off the ground post flood.  To say the home was seriously compromised or a fixer-upper, would be a gross understatement.  It was a shell of a house with floors, walls, plumbing and electric (essentially everything) barely, if at all existent.

The crew (Mrs. Vasquez in red. Dick Nortsman, very active member of the crew had to leave early to teach his college class) – we were a senior workforce.  Senior here is a reference to age, not long-standing ability.  No one was under 60 and for a couple, 80 was just over a very small hill.  Skill levels ranged from a former licensed contractor to those who might, on a good day, be able to distinguish a flathead screwdriver from a Phillips. The psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihalyi (author of Flow) wrote that, “It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.” In truth, our foreman, Bob Kleeman kept us focused and on track (a euphemism for drove us hard 8 – 9 hours each day) so that by the end of the week, all the floors were down, sheetrock up, electrical in good functioning order, windows spiffy clean and the yard in much better shape. Throughout, levels of cooperation and mutual respect never left us. Small amounts of blood did, but, amazingly, there was nothing close to a significant injury.

The community – equally as wonderful as working together on the house was the sense of solidarity and mutual commitment during prayer and liturgy each morning and evening led by Fr. Gerry Kelly MM, and the heartfelt camaraderie during and around meals. Ruth Kleeman purchased the food and planned & prepared all the meals.  Judy Norstman quietly supplied all the linens and had the rooms all ready when we arrived. I think it’s fair to say that all the 4 Affiliate pillars (community, spirituality, action and global vision) were present during this sacred adventure.  If global vision might seem like a a stretch here, remember that for those of us outside of Houston (CA, NJ, FL & CT) Texas was a culture unto itself. 

Going forward (Our "foreman" Bob Kleeman with Mrs. Vasquez) – This was such a life-giving experience that we all wondered if something similar, if less ambitious, might be duplicated in other chapters, other areas.  While it's never possible to capture the breadth and depth of feelings that all of us experienced on this mission, it is clear that such experiences truly advance the Affiliate movement.  Something to seriously think about. Again, thank you Houston!!

* Line taken from a prayer originally composed by Matt Rousso of the New Orleans Chapter.



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