Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

What's So Blessed about Being Poor?

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Reviewed by Bertha Haas – Portland Chapter

Order this one now! (By L. Susan Slavin and Coralis Salvador, Orbis, 2013.)  And while you’re at it, order copies for your family and friends!  You’ll want to share it without losing your copy.

Let me confess right at the start that I read it because Coralis was my mentor and roommate during my language practice in Mombasa in 2003.  This is a book you will not be able to put down—I read it in one evening.  Its narrative style makes it easy to read on one level, but it will shake up your entire being and stick to you from the opening image of human waste squishing between your toes as you walk through the slums of Nairobi in sandals to Coralis’ final reflection that “This is God’s kingdom bearing the fruit of joy and unconditional love.”

The book answers the title question by interviewing HIV/AIDS orphans and their guardians who have participated in the AIDS Orphan Project that Coralis, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, has administered from 2001 to the present. For example, “Kabeba believes that ‘every day of life holds a purpose to fulfill.  Each moment that I live is the blessing.’” 

In addition, Coralis traces her spiritual development as she “becomes the hands of God” in her various ministries in Mombasa, Kenya.  



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