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
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.
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.
On Friday noon, after four and a half days of restoring a house with the Houston Chapter Mission project, two of the facilitators, Bob & Ruth Kleeman, took the Affiliate mission members on a trip to give us a taste of rural Texas. We hopped into three cars and headed out on a two-hour ride across the vast, flat landscape of southeastern Texas to a little town called Nada.
For those with even a cursory knowledge of Spanish, “Nada” initially seemed like a perfectly fitting name. The town-folk we spoke with estimated that there were a little over 300 people in town. However, the last available census in 2000 counted only 165. The discrepancy is probably attributable to genuine local pride. Reportedly, Nada boasts a grocery store and US Post Office. All any of us could see that day along Highway 71, which cuts through the center of town, were an auto garage and Leo’s Place, a bar and restaurant. Checking on Facebook for “Things to do in Nada, TX” brings up a photo of an open crop field with a John Deere combine and a truck in the distance. No other photos or text appear on the page.
An exciting exploration of new ways to be Affiliates is blossoming in Kenya. Fourteen prospective Affiliates from Mombasa, Nairobi, California, Chicago, Florida, and Germany have been coming together for formation, discussion and prayer, in person and virtually, since 2017. Interfaith collaboration is a guiding principle of their chapter. Members include Catholic and non-Catholic Christians and a Muslim. The chapter has a strong interaction with various Maryknollers. The Affiliate Board accepted their application in January. We look to learn much from this new chapter.
As Executive Director for Maryknoll Lay Missioners since December 2017, I also serve on the Maryknoll Affiliate Board as its liaison with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners. In this position, I am discovering ways that all Maryknollers can work together in mission.
My mission background started when I was “ruined for life” with a little help from the Jesuits. After my B.A. at Loyola University, Maryland, and M.A. from Bucknell University, I volunteered with Jesuit Volunteers for two years in education and youth empowerment programs in Belize and Guatemala.
Since then, I have served in parish ministry, Catholic high school education, and archdiocesan leadership development for more than three decades. My most recent position was as Catholic Relief Services’ Relationship Manager for Youth and Education and coordinator of the agency’s youth outreach in the US. I’m humbled that the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry awarded me a national award for leadership in youth ministry in the area of gospel values of peace and justice.
Fun Facts: My favorite pastimes include time with my niece and two nephews, following the Baltimore Orioles, and swimming, camping, and hiking, the latter fueling my passion to work for climate justice.
At their most recent gathering of the first virtual chapter*, members spontaneously surfaced the thought that maybe there are just too many words attached to almost everything these days… dishonest political words, manipulative marketing words, sanctimonious religious words, ego words that compare, compete, connive, contrast, contrive and, perhaps the biggest offenders, all those unsettling words and scenarios that incessantly play out in our heads. Understandably, some of you reading this might be feeling that this article is itself quickly becoming an offender in this verbosity plague.
Words are important. Poetic, truthful words, and others like, thank you, forgive me, I love you, whoops, and, for carnivores, medium rare, surely have a place. Still, we haven’t done very well at sticking to the good words. How can we best get hold of all this?
Over-explanation separates us
from astonishment. – Eugene Ionesco
As the conversation evolved, we talked (admittedly, in words) about those wordless spaces – walking in the forest, standing by the ocean, listening to music, sitting in a chapel, holding a newborn – wherein peace washes over us and we come to know in a different, peaceful and compelling way. You too might be tempted to add to the list. Hopefully, neither Chardonnay nor Merlot would get many honest votes in this regard.
Mostly, our time together focused on how each of us has come to a place of deeper knowing. Jim Coady insightfully added that almost always, “We learn more from experiences than from documents.” Although not physically present in this virtual community, Richard Rohr helped us out when he wrote that, “Knowing is the empty space around the words, allowing God to fill in all the gaps in an ‘unspeakable’ way.” That could serve as a definition for faith.
From a distance, all this might seem a bit fuzzy and/or dense. Even that characterization will be euphemistic for some. Still, as 2019 begins to unfold and all of us in Maryknoll strive to live with integrity, love, and groundedness in these very uncertain, noisy times, we can gain strength and courage by visiting these wordless spaces. I think that those in the Contemplative Virtual Chapter would concur.
*Currently, three chapters meet virtually: one of Affiliates who've moved, the Contemplative Virtual Chapter, and an international chapter.
I had been involved with the Maryknoll Affiliates since the first conference of Maryknoll Affiliates held here at Maryknoll and was a part-time member of the Westchester Chapter before I returned to Korea. In Korea, some other Sisters and I decided to invite the Maryknoll Fathers in Korea to join us in starting a Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter there. However, it was not accepted by some of the members, although a couple of Maryknoll Fathers, including Russ Feldmeier, joined us occasionally.
The Maryknoll Sisters decided to have a retreat with the prospective interested members, and at the end of the retreat, we explained about the Affiliate program—its covenant, etc., and each one of them decided to join. There were about eight to ten members at that time. We had monthly reflection and study of the covenant and other articles about the Affiliate movement. They had faithfully come to monthly meetings, even though they were not officially accepted as Maryknoll Affiliates. After ten years, they finally got approval, when the Maryknoll Affiliate Board were given the responsibility to approve new chapters.
About my background: I was born in the Philippines. After I finished Nursing training and worked for a year in the Philippines, I ventured out to work in the US and Canada. It was in Montreal that I decided to become a missionary. I entered Maryknoll in 1976 and was assigned to Korea in 1978, where I worked in a Psychiatric Clinic. In 1984, I did pastoral ministry with the urban poor, living in an integrated community of clergy, religious and lay people. We made home visits, listened to people’s issues and needs, organized scripture study groups, and gave spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. From 1988-90, I continued to work with the urban poor and with Korean factory workers in other areas. Then I returned to Maryknoll, NY, for Congregational Service, and when I went back to Korea, I continued my work with women and also with migrant workers and women married to Koreans. After several years I returned to NY to do another Congregational Service and later on was elected to our leadership.
Because of my interest in our Affiliate movement, I am happy to be one of the liaisons to the Maryknoll Affiliates. It has been a delight to get to know many Affiliates and see the wonderful works you are involved in for the sake of the Gospel.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum! Not the Broadway musical; this Forum is a room in the Maryknoll Sisters’ Center House in Maryknoll, NY—where our Board gathered in October, and I was elected Chairperson of the Affiliate Board! I would never have imagined myself as chairperson when I began as a Maryknoll Affiliate 11 years ago.
On my way home that day, I reflected on my life as an Affiliate, and about how best to positively impact the Affiliates. So, by way of introduction, I am sharing some thoughts as I begin this new endeavor with you.
What Do You Think?
* Does your Chapter want new members?
* If so, who is most likely to be interested in Maryknoll Affiliates?
* How would you find these people?
* What would you say to them?
* What activities would attract them?
* What image or photo would attract them?
We want to hear your ideas. Drop a note or email to a Board member, your regional coordinator, or our executive coordinator,
Three years ago, Pope Francis released Laudato Si (Praise Be to You), his encyclical on “Care for Our Common Home,” to “communicate above all a sense of deep urgency and profound concern for the precarious state of our common planetary home.” [P. Francis - 1]
Nine months ago—at MAC 2017 in Guatemala—the Buen Vivir cosmovision helped us realize that we are citizens of different countries, belonging to one world that urgently needs love and care!
“The cosmovision shared by indigenous communities tells us that we are interdependent with one another. Harming any natural resource is harming us”.—Quechua, Peru Native
I’m not at all sure what prompted it, but on a phone call yesterday afternoon, a close friend asked me if, simply by association, “Maryknoll” had become for me a vicarial way of convincing myself that I was living out a committed life of service in a global world. Now, this friend is a smart person (who else uses vicarial these days?) who knows and loves Maryknoll. Still, his question initially disturbed me. What prompted him to ask? What did he mean by it?
We talked for some time. Unfortunately, the glass of wine poured earlier was out of reach from the chair next to the phone. While the question could have rather complex psychological and theological implications, I simply understood it to mean that I shouldn’t allow my connection to Maryknoll, most especially in those days of past glories, to become a vicarious substitute for all the commitments in and around me (some global and some domestic and rather unexciting) that I needed to attend to.
The present-day consensus among biological and social scientists is that race is a social construct, not a biological (genetic) one. It is estimated that as a species, we humans share 99.9% of our DNA with each other. The few differences that do exist reflect variances in environments and external factors, not genetics.
We might assume that the advances in human genetics and the evidence of such trifling differences (0.1%) between all people would put an end to racist arguments. On the contrary, genetics has been used to further racist and ethnocentric views and, for those so inclined, offer justification for discriminations and atrocities. As we know more than ever in these times, for many in power, facts and solid evidence are of little consequence when it comes to behavior and policy. What is it about race (primary eye and skin color and height) that has so very deeply tarnished our history and our relationships with each other?
I attended the most recent Maryknoll Affiliate Board meeting at Maryknoll, NY, as a new board member. It was a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with the other board members and see firsthand the level of dedication and hard work that is required to support the Affiliate members who carry out the Affiliate mission in their individual communities. Prior to arriving at the meeting, I certainly had many questions. What could I contribute to the board? Did I have enough experience as a Maryknoll Affiliate to be an asset and an effective board member? It is through this lens that I viewed my trip up to Maryknoll, NY, from just outside Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, April 19, 2018.
I arrived at Maryknoll on a cool and cloudy afternoon, and later that evening, after the other new board member—Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios from Guatemala—and I received a warm welcome, the work of the board was underway. The meeting began with reflections from every board member regarding salient events and people who shaped their lives.