It was a small group of just 30 participants, but it was clear from the start that we were connected by and committed to the Maryknoll charism of accompanying (at home and cross-cultural settings) those who have little or no voice in our clamorous, disjointed world. In Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, he said this of Francis of Assisi:
His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and ever creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection (¶11).
That rings very true.
Finally, although many of us hadn’t met before, we soon realized that we were at home together. New vocations are not flooding into any of the expressions within Maryknoll these days, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this would be reversed if new people—young or old—spent the weekend with us. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking. Minimally, it couldn’t help but make heads turn and speed up the heartbeat a bit. Of course, for those not from that region of the country, the grits, biscuits and gumbo couldn’t hurt either.