The Las Vegas Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter formed 15 years ago after Los Angeles Affiliates Lee and Punch Fermin moved to Las Vegas. The group has now grown to ten people, including four nurses and a recently retired doctor. We were fortunate to gather over a casual dinner with Lee and Punch Fermin, Nicet Santos, and Evelyn Pua. Nicet explained, “Many of us knew about Maryknoll and the Sisters and Fathers from when we were growing up in the Philippines.”
This is a chapter of busy, mostly retired people. They gather to share their lives and support each other. Many of their other activities are spiritually oriented. Their dedication belies the Las Vegas nickname of Sin City.
You can make your RCs* very happy just by adding their email address to your Chapter distribution list. Then they will automatically receive the notices and notes of your Chapter gatherings. RCs want to know how they can help you and connect your chapter to others with similar interests. If you have a change in membership or contact person, let them know.
* RC = Maryknoll Affiliate Regional Coordinator. Find your Regional Coordinator’s name and email
With my highlighter in hand, I read the NSFA, marking things that especially interest me. I loved seeing the suggestion to use the Maryknoll Affiliate pillars of Spirituality, Community, Global Vision, and Action at meetings. Sr. Norie’s January article, “Norie—A Presence with Past Connections,” reminded me of an article I wrote for the February 1995 Not So Far Afield. At that time, I had given away 5,700 Presence cards by Sister Joan Metzner, MM. I was a casino floor supervisor (pit boss) at Harrah’s Casino and I gave them to any and all I thought to be receptive. I retired in 2002, but it is still my mission. I just had 2,000 more Presence cards laminated, bringing my total to around 17,000.
Hello, we twenty Affiliates of Capítulo Niño Jesús are former catechists of the Parish of the Child Jesus, where Maryknoll Fathers worked in the past. We meet the first Sunday of each month.
We are collaborating and helping in a couple of areas. A group of us collaborates at Casa Bartimeo, which is directed by the Maryknoll father, Kyungsu Son, MM. There they train the visually impaired in massage therapy through both theory classes and practice.* In other projects, we work with elders and with young people at the secondary level of Colegio Estatal.
* See the article, “Casa Bartimeo, A light of hope for the blind in Peru,” in the March 2017 issue of
Maryknoll Magazine. The above photo was reprinted from this article.
On February 18, 2019, 13 of the 15 members of the Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter Misioneras Hispanas Santa Maria, founded in 2011, gathered together. They renewed their Covenant to be missionaries in the spirit of the Maryknoll Mission Movement: to bring Christ’s words and love to where it is not known, especially to the poor and unempowered, while living a life of simplicity, spirituality, global vision, community and action. They are unique among the 36 Affiliate Chapters in the United States in that their membership is comprised of all Latina women, working within a Parish structure. Their mission is the evangelization of Hispanic people living in the fourteen trailer parks around the Wilmington Area.
Melita Angel and Gloria Tan, the present and past coordinators, worked with Norma Rivera, the Basilica of St. Mary’s coordinator of Spanish Ministries, to define this unaddressed need. Father Chesco Garcia, the Parochial Vicar of the Basilica of St. Mary’s, blessed the women before their Covenant was received and accepted by Gail Kelley, representing the Maryknoll Affiliates’ local Regional Coordinator and the Executive Coordinator.
Gail pointed out that these women were walking in the footsteps of the “Tar Heel Apostle”—Father Thomas Price. Father Price, the first North Carolinian ordained to the priesthood, was born in Wilmington. Eventually becoming the Co-Founder of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, he is being proposed for canonization and is represented by the Raleigh Diocese.
The Northeast Florida Affiliate Chapter was blessed to have Sister Mariana Clemence from Tanzania speak at the April meeting. She is a Franciscan Sister of St. Bernadette, and a parish in St. Augustine, Florida sponsored her trip to the US. Sister Mariana said the order has 220 active Sisters and almost 50 more women are preparing to join them.
Sister spoke of the many ways the Sisters reach out to the poor and needy in Tanzania, in the spirit of both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Bernadette. These include educational and medical work, as well as caring for orphans, lepers, and refugees. The Sisters don’t wait for poor people to come to them for help but travel to the smaller villages to “find them in their environment.” She noted that the many African dialects make communication difficult and impressed us with her command of English, her third language.
Sister Mariana helps unemployed youths and single mothers become self-employed and works on projects to provide reliable and clean water, the lack of which leads to water-borne diseases.
As Affiliate Brian Schoonover drove Sister Mariana to our meeting, she asked him the cost of the minivan that they were riding in. When he told her that it was a $30,000 car when new, she gasped and said, “Do you know how many houses that could buy where I live?”
We were all reminded of how much we have and how our lives are very different from those of the people whom Sister Mariana serves. But despite the poverty that Sister confronts daily, her smile never left her face. As we listened to her, we shared a wonderful bag of cashews that she had brought from Tanzania. We also enjoyed seeing her wear a Flagler College sweatshirt over her habit, a gift to her from Brian, her “chauffeur.” Affiliate Shelby Miller concluded that “Sister is a warm, generous, and joyful woman, firm in her faith and vocation.” Our understanding of life in Tanzania was enhanced by Sister’s open sharing with us.
Wilton, a young unschooled boy, lives across the road from our community garden in the back corner of barrio Santa Ana in the town of Esquipulas, Guatemala. Wilton stays with his mother and father in a very simple two room house—it has only a single light bulb hanging in the front room and one water faucet, which seldom gives water, attached to a make-shift sink. Because of drought during most of the year, the municipality does not receive enough water from its source for all the inhabitants of Esquipulas, especially those who live on the outskirts. Wilton also has a 19-year-old sister, Wendy, who lives in an adjacent structure with her 2-year-old baby.
During a recent mission immersion program in Santa Ana, I was working in the garden with eight of our seminarians from St. Joseph Seminary in Covington, LA, along with Don Chencho, our gardener, and his young helper, Pablo. Several years ago we had to hand-dig a well in our garden because we could only get a little water from the nearby stream where women come daily to wash clothes. In the midst of the morning work, Wilton walked up to me shyly and handed me a folded piece of paper, saying it was de mi papa. I opened the paper and read the scribbled Spanish note, having to decipher some of the words which were badly misspelled. The letter was a heartfelt plea for help!
“Dear brother Mateo and the other brothers. I make a cordial greeting in the name of Señor Jesús and our mother, always virgin María. The objective of the present (note) is to beg a favor that if you can give us water because my wife and children are dying of thirst because there is no water. Jesus says in his word that the one who gives a glass of water to these little ones makes it with me. Signed: Catalino Vasquez, husband of Josefina Hernandez.”
In March, Kitty and I welcomed asylum seekers from Latin America on the Texas-Mexico border at McAllen, Texas.
Lazarus teaches us that other persons are a gift. A relationship with people consists in gratefully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but a summons to conversion and to change.
– Pope Francis, Lent 2017
Bienvenido! Welcome! We welcomed the families, moms, dads, and kids with smiles, handshakes, and kindness. Moms and dads were immediately relieved to be in a safe, kind, and loving place—the Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. We felt like real Americans with our history of welcoming strangers into our country and real Christians with love in our hearts.
Sr. Ann, a Sister of Mercy from Philadelphia, oriented us to the well-used former nursing home. We followed her wondering what task we could do as volunteers. The first room was packed full of donated clothing from all over the US that needed to be sorted into women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing. Someone had to do this separation of clothing. Next were the rooms for clean clothes, a separate room for infants’ clothes, shoe room, coat room, and men’s clothing rooms. The women’s room was a special place for the women volunteers and women to meet. They fitted and refitted clothing considering style and preference. What a beautiful and loving experience for all. I didn't think I would be of much help here.
Do you ever wonder what other Affiliates think about a particular topic? Curious about how alike or different Affiliates are from each other? Are there things that other Affiliates are doing that could have some impact on you personally or on your Chapter life? As members of the Maryknoll Affiliates, belonging to different Chapters and separated by distance, traditions, culture, and language, we may sometimes ask ourselves and/or other Chapter members similar questions.
The Affiliates’ “Question of the Month” (QTM) initiative provides a forum that responds to these questions and is an opportunity for Affiliates to be in dialogue with the greater Affiliate movement. This dialogue is one of the ways that each of us can become better informed about our movement, discover the wisdom within and among us, and ultimately have a part in guiding, supporting and strengthening the bonds of the Affiliate movement. We hope all Affiliates share in this desire and will participate in this QTM initiative.
Each month, along with the responses to the previous month’s question, a QTM form will be e-mailed to all Affiliates who have their e-mail addresses on file. Responses are anonymous, unless you wish to share your name and contact information. And since it is the intent and hope that QTMs will come from individual Affiliates or Chapters, you can also suggest a question that will be considered for a future QTM. The questions are as important as the responses to them and will generally be selected by considering whether it will have the effect of evoking responses that will foster and enhance our Affiliate movement.
This month’s QTM is really one question, but asked three different ways:
“What does it mean to you to be a Maryknoll Affiliate? Why are you an Affiliate? What meaning or purpose, if at all, does being an Affiliate bring to your life?”
We thank you for your participation in helping to make our Maryknoll Affiliate movement stronger.
What do orange water, coal dust, and American chestnut tree seedlings have to do with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si?
Join the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers from August 5-9 on our annual immersion trip/pilgrimage to the holy land of Appalachia to find out.
This 5-day immersion trip, in collaboration with Glenmary missioner Father John Rausch, who has lived and ministered in Appalachia for decades and is an expert on the issues there, includes:
Estimated cost: $650.00 This includes room, breakfasts, lunches and transportation. Dinners are the responsibility of the participants. We will begin the trip in Lexington, Kentucky, and travel through the nearby Appalachian region.Participants are responsible for their travel to and from Lexington, KY
I am so happy to have found the Maryknoll Affiliates. It was an answer to prayer. After returning from a semester in Lima, Peru, where I went to finish my requirements for a Master of Arts degree in international development, I was looking for an opportunity to combine my interest in international issues with my Catholic faith. While searching online for a language program that would help me continue to improve my Spanish, I stumbled upon The Language Program at the Maryknoll Mission Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia. That led me to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and information about the Maryknoll Affiliates. I was thrilled to find out that there was an Affiliates group in Washington, DC, which is close to my home in Columbia, Maryland. After contacting the coordinator for the group, I began attending the monthly meetings and the rest is history.
I met a wonderful group of people that have helped expand my spiritual life, and in time, I became the group’s coordinator. While the role of coordinator for the Washington, DC Maryknoll Affiliates is demanding, I find the opportunity rewarding. I am also blessed to have had the opportunity to attend MAC 2014 in New York and MAC 2017 in Guatemala along with my husband, John. Since 2018, I have been serving on the Maryknoll Affiliates Board, which has given me the opportunity to expand my association with the Maryknoll Affiliates and contribute to maintaining the viability of the Maryknoll Affiliates movement.
Personal Facts: I am married and have one adult daughter living in Canada who is a computer scientist. I also have a private psychology practice in Maryland. My favorite pastimes include reading, traveling, listening to music, attending religious retreats, keeping abreast of concerns being addressed at the United Nations, and walking in nature.
Even in the cold of winter Affiliates feel a deep, lasting joy, hope, and love. That’s what Affiliates are about.
Noel Krebs tells us about the lasting joy that he and fellow Affiliates experience in their accompaniment of residents of the New York State prison system, giving the prisoners hope. After a home restoration mission, Bob Short and Affiliates journeyed to Nada (which
means hope), Texas, inspiring us to include our US neighbors in our global vision. Maryknoll Sisters and Los Angeles Affiliates try thinking wrong to make things right. They commit to collaborate, practicing their loving care for creation.
The presence of refugees and migrants continues to challenge our values. British poet Brian Bilston in his work, "Refugees," turns pat statements about refugees upside down and forces a look at them the from another direction. The Pinneys in Walla Walla are planning a service to connect their parishioners with migration concerns and each other. They offer to share that service template with us. Affiliates from Seattle travel to McAllen, Texas, showing love and compassion to recently released detainees.
That’s what Affiliates are about: joy, hope, and love, impelled by our Affiliate pillars of Spirituality, Community, Global Vision, and Action.
Articles in this issue:
The Biggest Joy of My Life - "They say they are always spiritually better than before the retreat..." – Noel Krebs
Chapter Companions Team Up - “We believe that our chapter will be blessed by this connection.” – Mary Moritz
“Thinking Wrong” in Monrovia - "Pando believes that a hopeful vision of the future is possible, and that the Maryknoll compound in Monrovia can model it for Los Angeles County." – Hugh Menton
News from Encuentro and the Border - "What to do if all vulnerable people are silenced?" – David Stocker
Compassion and Hospitality on the Border - "At the Respite Center, people from all over the US provide a continuous flow of love and outreach—and the need is immense." – Jerrie Drinkwine
Seeking Peace in Peru - "During the March of Nonviolence, we are sensitized against using violence toward children, men, women, animals, or Mother Earth, ..." – Carlos Apcho
What a Few Affiliates Can Do - "Without your help, we could not have continued the work that was left to us by Fr. Tom’s untimely death." – Ron Covey
Learn more about your Maryknoll Affiliate Board and Executive Coordinator in these articles:
And be sure to enjoy the Features in this issue:
Notices March/April 2019 (Book Group, MAC 2020, and more);
and a prayer - Old Monastic Benediction.
Maryknoll Mission Institute – 2019 - /news/not-so-far-afield/item/1846-maryknoll-mission-institute-%E2%80%93-2019.html
Preparation for a Kairos retreat consists of three hours on each of eight Friday nights. Each of the 20 times I’ve done these 24 hours of preparation, I am greatly rewarded with a deep, lasting joy.
In a New York State prison, we give a four-day active retreat of talks, discussions, posters, and explanations. The Kairos Christian, interdenominational retreat welcomes all Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc. Each table of four residents (prisoners) and two Kairos volunteers becomes a community—a table family. We punctuate the retreat days with hymn singing led by a Kairos band, meals, and a break outside the gym in the fresh air and sunshine of the yard.
“Thinking Wrong” is a process to generate creative ideas, thinking outside the box. Where better to find such thinking than among retired Maryknoll Sisters in Monrovia, California, and ten or so undergraduate Kansas University design students—members of a Studio X project? Studio X projects use “Thinking Wrong” to create new possibilities.
The Sisters invited Greater Los Angeles Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter members to participate in “Thinking Wrong.” Three Affiliates—Jane Bivona, Hugh Menton, and Jean Menton—joined with the Sisters, KU students, and Pando Populus members to envision new happenings at the Sisters’ Monrovia community located against the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, on a beautiful November day. Four groups presented their ideas after a day of reflection and dialogue. Do you hear the Affiliates’ sense of spirituality, community, action, and global concern in the story?