Not So Far Afield is a bimonthly publication of the Maryknoll Affiliates. The name is a play on the title of the original Maryknoll Magazine: The Field Afar.
You may subscribe to Not So Far Afield by email or to be notified when it is posted on our website.
You may also download PDF versions of Not So Far Afield here.
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?
As of January 2019, the Maryknoll Chapter Companion Initiative had its first successful Chapter Companions match: Fr. Bob Carleton, MM, has been matched with the Northeast Florida Affiliate Chapter that he started years ago.
“We are very excited to connect with Fr. Bob again,” said Mary Moritz, the Chapter Coordinator. “We believe that our chapter will be blessed by this connection.”
Five other chapter requests are pending with the Sisters and the Lay Missioners, and those matches will hopefully be finalized soon. In addition, three chapters have elected to formalize their ongoing relationship with a Maryknoll missioner as their Chapter Companionship.
Judy Pinney of Walla Walla, Washington, writes: Currently, we are working with our Catholic Social Concerns Committee on holding a possible bilingual prayer service to Our Lady of Guadalupe to pray for immigrants and asylum seekers. Our parish is over half Hispanic yet has been virtually silent regarding what is happening at the border and the call for Catholics/Christians to support immigrants. Some of us from both the Anglo and Hispanic communities have come up with a format for this possible service using materials from the USCCB website and are contacting the pastor this week for approval. If this comes to fruition, we would be happy to share the meeting outline with you in case any of you would like to use it in your parishes or in one of your meetings.
NSFA editor Paula Schaffner responds: My parish needs opportunities to bring our Anglo and Hispanic communities together, too. We’ll be looking forward to receiving your meeting outline!
Hugh Menton, Regional Coordinator for California, suggests: In the spirit of Affiliate connections and global vision, Jean [Hugh’s wife] prepared for our Affiliate meeting potluck the New Zealand-origin dish, Bean & Tomato Stew—Square Edge, that you [Paula Schaffner] shared in an email to your Chapter participants and copied me some time ago. It was delicious, as all in our Chapter who attended today’s meeting testified.
Has NSFA ever included an international potluck item recipe column? My impression is that almost every Chapter gathers around food and it is an easy avenue to introduce global awareness.
NSFA editors respond: We agree that sharing food can both build community and increase global awareness. We’ll start with this issue—look for the Potluck Recipe Exchange on page 8. It will also appear in occasional future issues.
So Many Books, So Little Time...
Because of a light response and busy schedules, Book Group 2019 is being delayed until fall.
Be with us at the
Maryknoll Affiliate Conference!
SAVE THE DATE:
June 25-28, 2020
The site, Graymoor Spiritual Life Center at Garrison, NY has easy access from the Metro-North train line and is less than 25 minutes from the Maryknoll Center.
A small, initial Planning Team of Celine Woznica (Chicago Central), Ginny McEvoy (Long Island) and Bob Short (Greater Boston) will provide updates as plans evolve.
Watch for invitations to contribute your skills and help make this conference memorable in the fine MAC tradition!
Do you “Like” us?
Visit www.facebook.com/maryknollaffiliates/ and LIKE or FOLLOW us. Post your Affiliate photos, activities, or an inspiring quote or article you’ve seen.
Another View of Leadership
Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter Movement founder, says, “We are not leaderless, we are leader-full.” ...It is difficult to infiltrate, undermine, or disrupt an organic movement that draws its power from regenerating communal cells.
—Richard Rohr, 4/13/18
What makes America great?
Military might or material wealth?
Democratic ideals or Republican values?
Freedom to say and be and do what you please?
A history of helping those in need?
The right to criticize elected officials and
government policies without fear?
The peace in which to worship God
or the choice not to believe at all?
Tolerance for those who disagree?
All, some or none of the above?
What makes America different?
That we are a nation without faults or
that we have the wisdom and courage
to acknowledge and correct them?
That we close our minds and borders
or that we welcome all who come
—as once we or our ancestors did—
seeking freedom and a better life?
That in America all must think, talk, eat,
dress, act, love, pray and live alike?
Or that each individual can pursue
his or her own vision of happiness?
What makes America different?
Our tolerance for differences.
Diversity makes America great.
Diversity makes America strong.
Each addition to our ranks enriches
and empowers the whole.
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
Reprinted from Maryknoll magazine Vol 89, Number 7, 1995, Maryknollmagazine.org.
We received a holiday update from David Stocker who participated in the Affiliates Mission Nonviolence Conference in Oregon this fall and shared “The Art of Nonviolence” in the Nov/Dec NSFA. He tells us:
I visited Rivera Sun (another speaker at Mission Nonviolence) in Taos after the Encuentro. We shared stories, and she is a great voice for the Insurrection.
On December 11th, one of our organizers in Tucson—Alejandra, a powerful advocate for immigrants’ rights and a woman who led part of the protest at Eloy Detention Center—was ordered to be deported. We are sure her activism has made her a target of ICE. What to do if all vulnerable people are silenced?
David also thanks readers of the NSFA for their donations to the SOA Watch Puppetistas:
With your support, Puppetistas were able to present the drum making workshop in two community centers in Mexico and at three locations in the US. Our music, arts, and drums were present at the Eloy protest and at the trial in Tucson of the border guard who killed a Mexican teen six years ago. Many of the children and their parents from the Mexican schools attended our Sunday gathering where the kids were featured in song and dance.
This is groundbreaking for SOAW and I’m proud that we were a part…. Through it all kids are still kids. In this world there can be no ‘others’ because all of the children belong to all of us. It really does take a village…. Thanks.