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.
Most of this issue of the NSFA relates to Father Jim Madden, MM, who passed away this January. He initiated our Movement and formed Affiliate chapters in the US and Peru. Even if you didn’t have the blessing of meeting him, we trust that you will be inspired by his article and the challenge which he wrote as his last words to us Affiliates. He envisions us growing, on a mission of love and life.
Please read Father Jim’s message in its entirety and meditate on your role in the aspects he lovingly details. Perhaps your chapter could reflect on them as the basis for an upcoming meeting.
Love is a consciousness of belonging to another, of being part of a whole. To love is to be on the way toward integral wholeness, to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter the other-not as stranger-but as another part of oneself. When we enter into the heart of love, that integral wholeness of love that is God, we enter into the field of relatedness and come to see that we are wholes within wholes. This is the consciousness we need today, an integral wholeness of love that is open to new life; a being-at-home in love that can evolve.”
—The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio, OSF.
The most critical decision humanity needs to face in the first half of the 21st century is whether we will chose life or continue on the current path toward suicide for our human species and many other life forms.
If mission is going to continue past our lifetimes, we must reach young people, and young people live in the culture of social media.
Social media is a culture with its own language. As missioners, we must learn this culture and language, just as we learn the cultures and languages of peoples in foreign lands. That was the wisdom of the United States Catholic Mission Association conference held in St. Louis in October, 2013. Much of it is applicable to our Affiliate chapters and ministries.
Communication, good or bad, will significantly influence whether we succeed or fail as an organization, local group or as individuals.
In today’s world a hefty amount of communication is electronic via the Internet: email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. For Affiliates, given that a few of us are over 17 years old, electronic media, particularly social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, could be foreign, perhaps frightening. Some among us might even have emotional or spiritual reasons to reject the digital world, feeling it is just too soul smothering and dehumanizing. I sometimes have those thoughts myself.
I am sitting at my dining table on All Souls Day evening in the silence of my home, remembering with joy the time I spent in Santa Ana with a wonderful community of Maryknoll Affiliates. I want these memories to never leave my heart and soul. I am so thankful to have been part of this Affiliate mission pilgrimage to Guatemala. It was a time of prayer, forming community and being with those who are materially poor. We crossed borders to discover the meaning of mission spirituality, and we experienced walking with the poor by living among them in a simple mission house.
Dan Driscoll-Shaw – Chicago Central Chapter
Our Chicago Central Maryknoll Affiliates community has been blessed to share many times in one of the highlights and most significant experiences of all the Maryknoll entities, the Sending Ceremony.
Our most recent Sending Ceremony took place December 15, 2013. We blessed Merwyn and Kirstin DeMello as they go forth to begin a three-year commitment in Afghanistan with the Mennonite Central Committee.
In 1991 I began a three-year service position in the newly created joint Maryknoll Mission Archives. I had barely been assigned a desk when Fr. Jim Madden came in looking for two things: the book, The Maryknoll Movement, by Fr. George Powers, and Sr. Barbara Hendricks’ article on the Maryknoll charism. Jim liked to recall that moment as the beginning of our collaboration. Apparently I said something about being interested in what he was doing, and he immediately pulled up a chair to talk about it. He admitted that he wanted the Affiliates to be called “Maryknoll” Affiliates, but that that could only happen if the new movement was collaborative within Maryknoll.
Stories were told at the wake of Jim’s humility, inspiration, and vision. One described his courage. Once, in Peru, armed local leaders confronted Jim in a public square, accusing him of being a spy, challenging his presence. “Why are you here? You don’t belong here,” they screamed. Jim walked right up to the group, stood tall before them and flipped their challenge saying, “It is YOU who don’t belong here. You have cheated and exploited the people. Why are YOU here?” The people then rose up and said, “He’s with us and we’re with him.” Confronted by this cool, daring young priest and his supporters, they backed down. A co-worker later asked Jim if he’d been scared. “Terrified,” he said.
[Translated by Bob Short]
You will always be with us, our dear Father Jim.
Our Mass in celebration of the life of Father Jim Madden was held in Arequipa, Peru, on January 16th, the day that Father Jim was waked [in New York]. Father Edmundo Alarcón, a friend of Father Jim, presided over the celebration. In attendance were Affiliates from the three chapters in Arequipa and some Affiliates from Puno, Peru.
Chicago affiliates held a beautiful reflection this afternoon on the life and gifts of Jim Madden MM. After some initial sharing of stories and personal experiences with Jim, we let Jim speak to us as we read together his essay on “Visioning with the Maryknoll Mission Movement.” We ended with the following chant:
At wind-swept gatherings of the Aymara community on the Altiplano, ¡Presente!
At cross-cultural celebrations that find the Sacred in all peoples and traditions, ¡Presente!
At chapter and conference meetings of Maryknoll Affiliates all over the world, ¡Presente!
At vocation seminars and one-on-one accompaniment, ¡Presente!
At Society gatherings, fellowship, and liturgical services, ¡Presente!
At Congregational collaborations and joint visioning, ¡Presente!
At local and national actions to live and promote social justice, ¡Presente!
As long as we live, he too will live; for he is now a part of us, as we remember Jim. ¡Presente!
Pat Denevan: I was 19 years old when I entered the Maryknoll Seminary in Mt. View, CA, to study Latin for one year. With a young heart burning with missionary zeal, I completed 8 more years of study and was ordained a Maryknoll priest in 1963. However, in 1970, after seeing the hopes of Pope John XXIII fading and the windows of the 2nd Vatican Council being closed, I decided to leave the priesthood. With a sad and confused heart, I left Maryknoll and was “reduced to the lay state,” according to the official document I received from Rome.
New chapters in South Korea, Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Lima, Peru, were recognized in 2013. The Cochabamba Chapter has close ties with Bolivia’s Maryknoll Mission Community. Korean Chapter Affiliates work in mission with adults with special needs, abused women, children at risk, Hansen’s disease patients, and others. The Lima, Peru, Niño Jesus Chapter, a group including dedicated catechists, educators and pastoral workers, has a rich history of formation with Maryknollers. Please greet these three new chapters and more than 40 new affiliates at www.facebook.com/maryknollaffiliates.
Sr. Eleanor Keeney, who died on Nov. 29, was born in NJ, trained as a nurse and then joined Maryknoll in 1948. Her medical expertise took her to Ceylon, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and the US, where she established various programs: AIDS support, rural clinics, hospice, home care, and more.
Sr. Joan Campbell died on Dec. 14, 2013, after 66 years as a Maryknoll sister. Born in NJ and educated in PA, she served in Tanzania as a teacher/headmistress.
Sr. Elizabeth Lee, a Maryknoll sister for over 70 years, died on Feb. 4, 2014. Teaching gradeschool, ESL, and teachers of ESL, she worked mostly with Chinese populations in the US and Taiwan.
Compassion. It’s the theme of this issue, and the emphasis of Phase One of the JustFaith program. Compassion is a missioner’s hallmark and the first step to loving service. Appropriately, compassion is evident in the articles in this issue.
We feel a special compassion for Fr. Jim Madden who has done so much to spread and support the Affiliate Movement. A few years ago we roasted Sr. Ellen MacDonald as the mother of the Affiliate Movement. Jim Madden, who was co-coordinator with Ellen, should be considered our father. Remember him in your prayers as he deals with his illness.