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.
In this series of articles on Formation, we are intentionally not looking at the five themes in the order listed in the website: Affiliate Identity, Mission, Spirituality of Mission, Community, and Prophetic Witness. These themes are not linear or sequential; they are all relational with the other themes and build on each other. In upcoming articles, we will look at how the themes of Community and Mission contribute to our identity as Maryknoll Affiliates. Today, we look at the Formation theme of Prophetic Witness.
We are all prophets, every day. By where we live, what kind of car we drive, everything we do, we proclaim what we hold dear to us. As with all five Formation themes, Prophetic Witness is not so much about knowing things but is a process of discernment.We all make choices about how we live, and that speaks volumes about who we are. Both individually and communally, what we announce and denounce in word and action is what identifies us to the world around us.
Wherever two or three are gathered...but especially when Affiliates have a conference...the Spirit is moving. This issue gives just an inkling of the Spirit of this summer’s conferences. If you weren’t able to make it to one of the two Conferences featured in this issue—The Midwest Regional Retreat Conference or the Western Regional Affiliate Conference—see the advance notice on this page from the New Orleans/Gulf South Chapter. As with any regional conference, all are welcome.
The NSFA still hasn’t received an Affiliate reflection on the Pope’s environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, but we have heard that one chapter is supporting a Campaign Nonviolence action themed, “Caring for our Common Home.” They stand in solidarity with Pope Francis as he addresses the US Congress on September 24th.
Western Regional Affiliate Conference – "The Seattle Affiliates worked as a team, making the weekend flow smoothly for all of us. They looked like they enjoyed being together, and they worked as a single unit, like honeybees."—Kitty Schiltz
Missing Affiliate Marie Parmly – "Although 85 years old when our Chapter first formed, Marie came to our meetings faithfully and often got others to come with her."—Mary Moritz
Friends Across Borders in Brazil – "I set out imagining a country with some native Indian tribes, having been colonized by the Portuguese. I ended up visiting a multi-ethnic, diverse country with a large Japanese population (invited to come as farmers), Italians, Germans, Syrians, people from different countries in Africa, and an indigenous Indian tribe (the Guarani Mbya)."—Mary Morris Williams
Planting Seeds of Nonviolence – "Mary [Hanson] cautioned us to not cross the blue line on the pavement marking the edge of federal property. Crossing would be considered criminal trespass."—Manny Hotchkiss
My Visit to the Casa Materna in Matagalpa – "I thought it would be wonderful to actually see for myself the operation of this wonderful Maternity Home."—Gabriela Maertens
A Day in a Lay Missioner’s Life – "My job title [Communications Coordinator] is hilarious to me, as I feel that at any given moment I am lucky if 80 percent of the conversation is understood by both parties."—Karen Bortvedt
And don't miss the entries in this issue's Features, Events, and The Board and EC Speak!
The Affiliate Board sends its thanks to all who completed Survey of Individual Affiliates which was conducted by your Maryknoll Affiliate Board this summer. The survey results will be discussed at the next Board meeting in October, and a report will be published online and in the NSFA before they move into the next stage of this “getting to know you” process with the Chapter Reflection.
The new Initial Formation program (and process) has been posted on the Maryknoll Affiliates website. The links to materials associated with each module are posted, and some materials can be downloaded for printing.
To open the Formation program, go to the website, maryknollaffiliates.org, and click on the Who We Are tab. On the Who We Are page, go to the Quick Links blue box on the right, click on Chapters and Formation, and look for “Initial Formation 2015.”
We especially thank John Moritz, Southeast Region co-coordinator with his wife Mary, for heading up this initiative.
Pope Francis, asking us to pray with him, has suggested these special intentions:
September: That opportunities for education and employment may increase for all young people.
October: That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Sept. 16-19 Edwina Gateley, MA – Our Call to Personal and Global Transformation (Los Altos, CA)
Sept. 20-25 Edwina Gateley, MA – Soul Sisters: Women Called to Connect, Bond and Heal in a Broken World (Monrovia, CA)
For details, see: http://maryknollsisters.org/maryknoll-mission-institute.
Karen Bortvedt – Maryknoll Lay Missioner, Cambodia
My brain often feels like a station wagon from a 70s movie, loaded down with people, noise, and commotion, cruising along an empty highway until, suddenly, someone notices smoke seeping from under the hood. It pulls over, and someone opens the hood, no doubt burning his or her fingers, and releases a great cloud of steam. At this point, the whole gang realizes they are going nowhere soon or fast.
On a good day, I can make it until lunch without my brain fizzling out—from overheating either literally or metaphorically. Often, I have to push it from behind just to keep it moving forward. Either way, I am going nowhere fast in Cambodia – it is just not the culture.
After my volunteer assignment in San José, Costa Rica, I traveled by bus to visit Kitty Madden, a Maryknoll Affiliate in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She has lived there for 29 years, putting her heart and soul into serving the needs of high-risk pregnant women. Casa Materna, established in 1991 as the very first maternal care center in Nicaragua, offers food, shelter, education, medical care, transportation and support for high-risk pregnant women from rural areas for one to two weeks before and after childbirth.
Only a few miles from Seattle, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action shares fence line with the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world, Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor. This base contains more nuclear weapons than the countries of Israel, North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, England, and France combined. Ground Zero, founded in 1977 by Jim and Shelley Douglass, offers ongoing training in nonviolence and resistance to nuclear weapons. Ground Zero distributes leaflets to folks entering the base almost every week and has influenced some of them to support Ground Zero.
Imagine this: You are in a foreign country, waiting for a van in front of your hotel. You notice a woman who was on the bus from the airport the night before and at breakfast. She smiles and you start talking, haltingly in a combination of gestures, some English and assorted, memorized foreign phrases. You learn that she is on her way to Rome to study Italian for 15 days, leaving her husband behind for this short trip. You try to explain that you are there on a mission trip and are waiting for a van to pick you up. When the bus for the airport arrives, she smiles and gives you a hug “goodbye.”
This was one of my first experiences in Sao Paulo, Brazil, waiting for Catherine Heinhold, the Maryknoll Lay Missioner who would be our guide for 11 days. A hug at the end of a brief conversation! What kind of people are these Brazilians? I told this story to Catherine shortly after she picked up my husband Bryan and me. She commented that the lady I spoke to probably continued to think of me on her way to the airport and wonder about my life.
My husband, John, and I met Marie and Lee Parmly when we made our Cursillo weekends some 40 years ago. Marie and Lee were active in Cursillo, Marriage Encounter, and the Charismatic Movement. We knew their five children were grown and they were retired, but we still marveled at all that they did in service to God.
Several years after we met them, Lee and Marie were in a serious car accident. Lee died and Marie was injured. Marie’s faith sustained her during this difficult time, and after she recovered, she felt called to be a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. Eventually, Marie convinced the Lay Missioners that she wasn’t too old.
Marie went to Mexico as a Lay Missioner, and we didn’t see her for a while. Then we heard that Marie had been shot in Mexico and was returning to the states to recover. Finally, she came back to Florida and we would see her from time to time.
Beginning on Friday evening with a welcome from Northwest Regional Coordinator and Seattle Affiliate Jerrie Drinkwine, on through Sunday morning Mass, the Western Regional Affiliate Conference was a journey into mission, social justice, and community among attendees. We learned of those on the margins: migrant farm workers; trafficked men, women and children; the people of Haiti and El Salvador. Conference goers experienced an atmosphere of community, meeting and making friends.