Robert Short

Robert Short

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.



Sunday, 11 November 2018 12:40

Houston Chapter Mission

The Houston Chapter Mission to repair and restore houses partially destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in the summer of 2017, begins this week.  Affiliates and Father Gerry Kelly from the Houston Chapter as well as several more Affiliates from throughout the US will join in.  Please keep them and the people there in your thoughts.

[Bob Short will be participating in this initiative and, as such, without WiFi in that area, will not be able to respond to emails until returning on the 18th.  If anything is urgent, please contact Rich Lessard, the new Board Chair, at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Saturday, 10 November 2018 00:57

Celebrating Affiliates Who Have Passed On

Affiliate Board member, Ginny McEvoy, along with the members of the Long Island Chapter of which she is a part, have helped all of us to find ways to honor and celebrate the lives of Affiliates who have passed on.  With Ginny’s encouragement (push might be more accurate) we plan to add a new section to the website that will address this. 

It is not meant to be an obituary column.  Websites rarely if ever include that.  But, it will be a way to celebrate the lives our fellow Affiliates. So, in the months and years ahead, please let Bob Short know of anyone who has died in your chapter.  If possible, provide a photo and brief write-up of the contributions s/he has made to mission.

The photos herein are of Jack Connell and Margaret Meehan - both from the Subway Chapter, who died within a few months of each other in late summer and early fall 2018.


Sunday, 04 November 2018 23:20

Affiliate Newsletters - NTLH & NSFA

Many of you recently received the Sept./Oct digital edition of NSFA.  The paper version is on its way. It you do not receive either of both of these editions but would like to, contact Bob Short at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Among many articles, nonviolence and immigration are prominent.  Also, in this edition is an article – On the Way From the Forum - from Rich Lessard, the new Board Chair.

Digital version # 34 of No Tan Lejos del Horizonte (NTLH), the Spanish language Affiliate newsletter also recently came out.  This is an incredibly well designed and substantive newsletter.  If you can read Spanish and/or would like to practice doing so, please take a look at NTLH.  If you’d like to get on the mailing list, go to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Here is the index of this edition:


Invitación de No Tan Lejos del Horizonte para el 2018


Por sus frutos los conocerán


América Latina defendiendo derechos


Oramos con el papa Francisco por el cuidado de la creación


Historia de la creación de la cooperativa ACOMUJERZA


Canonización de Monseñor Romero
Bodas de Oro de Teruko Ito
Solidaridad ante la emergencia en Guatemala
Retiro-reunión Consejo de Afiliados Maryknoll y coordinadores regionales

Friday, 26 October 2018 21:11

Who Are We?

The identity question was one of the areas for discussion during the Affiliate Joint Retreat/Meeting last week.  Both for individuals and for a collective group, defining one's essential identity can be illusive. 

As individuals we often define ourselves via gender, race, nationality, age, work, geography, economic status and so many other ego identifiers.  Of this approach, Rabbi Rami Sharpiro wrote: “… all my suffering is rooted in mistaking my limited and labeled self (male, Jewish, white, American) as my truest Self. I can, with practice, shift my awareness from that limited egoic self to the infinite divine Self that is all Reality.” That seems much closer to our core identity in God.

Similarly, for our collective Maryknoll Affiliate identity, we sometimes begin by describing our organizational structure, historical development or a quantitative listing of chapters and members.  While important and good, they don’t really get at the vital spirit of who we are. Our four pillars (Community, Spirituality, Global Vision & Action) along with our connection to the Maryknoll charism get much closer.  It’s probably even true to say that whenever with other Maryknollers, there is a felt sense of who we are, of being at home.

Finally, a quote from the Liberation theologian Jon Soprino SJ, might be the one most Maryknollers can relate to.  He said, “You ask, ‘Who are you?’…It would be better to ask the crucified people.  They know who we are, who I am – an answer that is not far from another traditional reply: God knows us better than we know ourselves.”  I sometimes wonder if only those from the North and the economically advantaged have the need to ask identity questions.  If the answer (lived and spoken) is inauthentic and heavily colored with ego, the crucified people will spot it right away.

Monday, 22 October 2018 00:57

Joint Contemplative Retreat

         Board and Regional Coordinators - Oct. 2018

The Affiliate Regional Coordinators (RCs) and Affiliate Board met for a Retreat/Meeting from October 18 - 21, 2018 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.  The Contemplative retreat, utilizing Theory-U as a framework for the process (see: It was a very different way to approach goals and objectives wherein heart learning becomes at least as important (and operative) as what we would normally do in our heads.  More will follow in the months ahead on the realized learnings and outcomes. In the end, all present agreed that it was an especially positive and meaningful 4 days together.

               Paula & Dave Schaffner

This was also a time when Dave Schaffner completed his time as Board Chair.  Saturday evening was set aside as a time to express our deep appreciation for all Dave has done for the Affiliate Movement over more than six years as Board member and, in the last few years, Board Chair.  Rich Lessard (1st photo - back row - last person on right) was chosen as our new Board Chair.  Rich is presently in his second term on the Board and, along with his insight and passion for the Affiliate movement, has already in those years made major contributions.



Saturday, 13 October 2018 16:15

Other Maryknoll Opportunities

The letter that follows was written by Karen Bortvedt, Recruitment Manager for MKLM.  It's a wonderful invitation for all expressions within the Maryknoll Family.  Karen mentioned in a subsequent email that his includes events at the chapter level.  See Karen's contact information below.

Greeting my Maryknoll Collaborators,

I hope you are all doing well.  As a part of my job, I attempt to keep up the discernment section of our MKLM website.  My hope, going forward, is to include a section with “Other Maryknoll Opportunities” as our discerners are around the country and we would love them to connect with your programing and opportunities around the country.  Since we are all a part of the Maryknoll family, involvement with your events will help them to understand who we are and serve as a kind of formation (before we even get an application).

This is my ask, if you have events, training programs, retreats, speaker series, advocacy opportunities, or anything else you think could use some promotion that has a specific date, please send me a link (or PDF of the information) and a one to three sentence summary that I can just copy and paste to a website.  Please also feel free to share this with others on your team/staff so they can send along opportunities as well. 

I will do my best to get events sent to me posted weekly, though have mercy if that doesn’t always happen. As soon as I have the page live, I can send you the link as well if you would want to reshare it in anyway. 

You can reach Karen at:

   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 914-467-8857 (phone or text)




This article is taken from the website page of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns (MOGC). MOGC is an incredibly valuable resource within the Maryknoll family.  If you haven't yet visited their website, you can do so at:

Please also keep in your thoughts and prayers, Gerry Lee, MOGC's Executive Director who, along with his family was a Maryknoll Lay Missioners.  Gerry was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer.  He and his wife Patty, also diagnosed with a serious health concern, are wonderful, deeply committed people.

Immigration: Families are still separated Yvonne Dilling, Mission Educator for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in San Antonio, Texas, recently volunteered to provide hospitality for a mother and son from Honduras who were reunited after having been separately detained by the U.S. government as part of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The following article was published in the September-October 2018 issue of NewsNotes.
At the height of the family separation crisis on the Southern border this summer, before judges had forced the Trump administration to suspend the cruelest tactic of its ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, Border Patrol agents pulled an eight-year-old Honduran boy away from his mother so they could prosecute her as a criminal, sending the boy alone into a parallel detention system with no plan or method to reunite mother and son.

Sunday, 30 September 2018 17:14

Guatemala - Volcano Update

Second Report from the Volcano Appeal Committee

September 2018

Three months after the eruption of the Volcán de Fuego (Fire Volcano), survivors of the catastrophe have taught us to open our hearts to Joy, since in spite of the sadness and uncertainty that they live every day. 

¡Their life is full of hope!

When they receive help from the donations that were sent by the Maryknoll family, friends, U.S. friends.

These are the words expressed by them: God Bless you always, thank   you very much!  I appreciate what you have done for my family!

Below we explain how your donations have been used and how we shall continue to respond to the needs of the people.

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /var/www/vhosts/ on line 260
Page 9 of 22