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.
Mignon Wolfe (82), a longtime Affiliate with the New Orleans Chapter, went home to God on January 2nd with a heart full of love and dressed with her red dancing shoes! Mignon suffered a stroke in October 2015 and worked hard in therapy to recover her loss of memory. She returned home just before Christmas with the hope and motivation of being well again. Unfortunately, she had a second stroke on January 2nd and did not regain consciousness.
Mignon, a free spirit known for her energy, joy, and love of God, loved everyone as her best and “precious friend.” With a brother who is a former Maryknoller, naturally she joined our Affiliate group as soon as we began. As an Affiliate, Mignon was committed to Maryknoll and to our community, praying in earnest for each of us, especially during our involvement in mission immersion trips and other projects. We will miss Mignon—our precious friend.
Chicago Affiliate Renate Schneider has invited many Affiliates to join her in Haiti since 2010. For several years, my wife Ann and I had been spending three cold Wisconsin winter weeks in sunny, warm Haiti, teaching at the University of the Nouvelle Grand’Anse (UNOGA) in the small city of Jeremie, surrounded by very, very, very rural Haiti.
Ann taught conversational English, and I taught a course in basic project management. Ann’s teaching English to Haitians was a no-brainer. Haitians are always anxious to practice their English with others, and knowing English could help them get a position with one of the many NGOs (non-government organizations) that have established residency on the island. There may be more NGOs in Haiti than there are trees. Ann went on to develop a structured curriculum that any future teacher could pick up and follow.
On November 21st, Father John Spain, MM, came to Caminando Por La Paz here in Guatemala City to offer a memorial Mass for our Founder, Thomas Goekler, MM, who died on Thanksgiving Day, 2010.
When Father Tom died, it was believed that Caminando had very little chance of continuing its projects in Paradiso II, one of the most marginalized barrios of Guatemala City. We feel assured God wants the program because it is still here and growing slowly. Yes, of course the loss of Father Thomas was a great tragedy, but so much has happened since.
We’ve read about it, maybe even met them, ...radicals. Some become radicalized at the border, or when working in another country.
Maura, Ita, Francis, and Jesus, were radicals. They embody radical love, radical hospitality, radical mercy —and nonviolence. In this NSFA issue, Maryknoll Affiliates experienced radical hospitality and love when they went to the border, in Haiti, in Guatemala, and El Salvador, New Orleans, or Georgia. Countercultural, radical views often develop through Maryknoll mission experiences, as does nonviolence.
Spirituality, San Diego Style – These Affiliates each have their work—their mission, and they come together not to work on a joint project, but rather to share, receive support, reflect, and enjoy sustenance in a like-minded community.
Together in God’s Mission of Mercy – During the Year of Mercy, as missionary disciples through Baptism, you are invited to share mercy moments that you have witnessed or acts of mercy that you have offered to or received from others.
Northeast Ohio Views the Border – "Dialogue between all the different persons involved in immigration opens up space for growth, deeper understanding and
change.." —Kathy Ress
Building Community & Dialogue – "May we walk into our future together with a commitment to wholemaking that (in the words of the Maryknoll Sisters) 'discovers God’s
energy all around us and celebrates our larger selves.' "—Ann Carr
Resistance at the SOA – "Today, the stronger-than-ever message from the SOAW Vigil is that the issues of the disenfranchised are profoundly interconnected, that we are all accountable for the condition of humanity and the condition of the earth on which we depend."—David Stocker
Martyrs Live on As Inspiration – "The speakers’ very personal stories all shared a common message: the martyrs continue to strengthen them to work for the poor and build the Reign of God here on earth."—Joe Hastings
Martyrs Remembered in the US – "We remember and honor them and hold them close."—Ellie Hays
An Act of Mercy – "It’s what I think Pope Francis calls 'going to the peripheries.' "—Matt Rousso
Are We One of God’s Little Miracles? – "We invite visitors to help in whatever role fits them, including teaching English or working with the children."—Ron Covey
To read this issue in its print version, you may access and download the pdf at Downloads- Not So Far Afield - 2016 01 02 NSFA. And don't miss the entries in this issue's Features and The Board and EC Speak!
People in business carry a business card. As an Affiliate, it makes sense to carry an Affiliate card. When we meet people with whom we’d like to connect in the future, we can offer them our card and ask for their contact information. If they don’t know about Maryknoll, giving them our card presents an opportunity to explain.
You can print your own card or order some over the Internet.
The Mission Institute offers six-day programs (Sunday-Friday) May-October, 2016. The May programs are:
May 8-13 Ann Braudis, MM, PhD
(Sacred Journey of the Earth)
May 15-20 Judith Mayotte, PhD
Stewards of Our Earth in a
May 22-27 Peter C. Phan, PhD
Living Into Death - Dying into Life
For the complete 2016 schedule, go to: https://maryknollsisters.org/maryknoll-mission-institute-2/
A tuition scholarship is available for any Affiliate who would like to attend but needs assistance. To inquire, contact the Maryknoll Mission Institute.
Online registration is available, or write for forms:
Maryknoll Mission Institute, Maryknoll Sisters
P.O Box 311, Maryknoll, NY 10545-0311
Tel: 914-941-7575 @ 5671
Ossining NY: At their August, 2015, 40th Anniversary celebration, the Maryknoll Lay Missioners (MKLM) highlighted mission outreach in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, emphasizing that all are united in God’s mission. Approximately 150 guests, including other Maryknollers and friends and supporters of MKLM, heard Dr. Susan Nagele’s views on Leading by Example: Shaping the Future of Mission.*
Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, my wife Janet, along with a friend and co-volunteer from the St. Vincent de Paul Learning Center, took over our kitchen and began a feverish cooking spree. Several hours later, they filled the trunk of their car with huge pans of bread stuffing, bowls of salad, cranberry relish, etc., and headed for a center in one of the impoverished neighborhoods of New Orleans. There they met up with five other Maryknoll Affiliates and five volunteers from the Catholic Worker House. Along with Janet and Francis’s pans of food, more pans of mashed potatoes, baked turkeys, bread, and desserts were brought in and set up for serving.
In commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the death of the Martyrs in El Salvador, Ita, Maura, Dorothy and Jean, who died on Dec 2, 1980, I will be taking my 28th annual Vow of Nonviolence at the Carmelite Sisters in Reno.
Jessie Poynton, MM, reminded many of us, “My friend Maura Clark entered Maryknoll the same year I did, in 1950, and was a close friend. And Ita Ford who worked in one of the most difficult missions in Chile for some seven years. Another dear friend. I also knew the other Sister and the lay-person, Jean, because I went to El Salvador when Carla Piette died there about six months earlier, in a flash flood. So I met all those great women. They are people of peace and reconciliation.”
We remember and honor them and hold them close.
On December 2, all the branches of the Maryknoll family in El Salvador gathered in the rural town of Santiago Nonualco to commemorate the lives of four churchwomen—Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, a lay missioner for the Diocese of Cleveland—on the 35th anniversary of their martyrdom. All Maryknollers and the people of El Salvador, and many beyond share the inspiration these women offer.
Jesus, perhaps disappointingly, gives no abstract theory of social justice. Instead, Jesus makes his life a concrete parable about how to live in this world. He demands of his first followers that they be living witnesses to a simple life on the edge of the dominant consciousness.
Jesus did not call us to the poor and to the pain only to be helpful; he called us to be in solidarity with the real, for our own transformation. It is often only after the fact we realize that they helped us in ways we never knew we needed. This is sometimes called “reverse mission.” The ones we think we are “saving” end up saving us, and in the process, redefine the very meaning of salvation!
Only near the poor, close to “the tears of things” as the Roman poet Virgil puts it, in solidarity with suffering, can we understand ourselves, love one another well, imitate Jesus, and live his full Gospel. The view from the top of anything is distorted by misperception, illusions, fear of falling, and a radical disconnection from the heart. You cannot risk staying there long.
As Thomas Merton said, “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
David Stocker* – NSFA Staff Editor
Just back from a week in Georgia, I went to Columbus to attend the annual School of the Americas (SOA) protest and to meet the remarkable and controversial Roy Bourgeois, former Maryknoll priest and founder of the SOA Watch. As a priest, Bourgeois was an outspoken critic of US policy in Latin America. Subsequent to the murder of four American churchwomen, two of whom were Maryknoll Sisters, by SOA-trained assassins, Bourgeois founded SOA Watch and has maintained a 26-year tradition of civil disobedience and protest, including documentation of atrocities in Latin America linked to SOA training programs.
Northwest – Ralph Maughan and Janet Quillian
California – Joe & Peggy Santos/ RC needed
Great Plains/Southwest – RC needed
South Central – Ken Eppes
Midwest – Patty Hinton
Southeast – John & Mary Moritz
Northeast – Beth Begley
Mesoamerica – Cecilia Quijano
Peru – Maria Faran
Philippines – Ed Caharian
Pamela Cibik – “We must secure the border.” Is this not the refrain we so often hear when US politicians are asked to comment on immigration? Pam Cibik, Kathy Ress, and Gerry Mullaney—Northeast Ohio Maryknoll Affiliates—travelled to Douglas, Arizona, in late April to see the border. It is indeed secure, thanks to huge sums our government is spending on miles of “Keep Out” fencing, surveillance cameras, ground sensors, and the ubiquitous US Border Patrol presence. Our gracious hosts, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, gave us a view of this “border security.”