“My son was brutally murdered for bringing electricity to a few poor people in northern Nicaragua. He was murdered because he had a dream and because he had the courage to make that dream come true. ... Ben told me the first year that he was here, and this is a quote, ‘It’s a wonderful feeling to work in a country where the government’s first concern is for its people, for all of its people.’ ”
Elizabeth Linder spoke thus at her son’s funeral in Nicaragua after he was shot at close range by the Contras in 1987. Ben Linder’s death at the hands of the Reagan-supported Contras made headlines in his hometown, Portland, and around the nation. The death of Linder, coming as Congressional hearings investigated the Iran-Contra Affair, fueled the debate in the US over the covert war in Nicaragua. The next year, Congress refused to renew aid to the Contras. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Linder)
Ten attendees at our annual summer picnic began with a casual conversation over appetizers that turned into deep reflections on what it means to live out a call at this stage of life. In The Great Work of Your Life: a Guide for the Journey of Your True Calling, Stephen Cope examines the life visions and struggles faced by such visionaries as Jane Goodall, Harriet Tubman, Mohandas Gandhi, and several ordinary folks and encourages us to reject the modern idea that ‘we can be anyone we want to be’ and instead to discover and fully pursue their inner self’s calling.
We assume life is a mission of service;
Transforming dreams into reality.
OUR HISTORY – In 2007, Sister Connie Pospisil, MM, visited us and introduced us to the Affiliate Movement, as a further expression of the Maryknoll Family. The following year Father Thomas Göekler, MM (decd.), visited us and questioned us, saying: “You live the Maryknoll spirituality, you have to form a Chapter of Maryknoll Affiliates”.
Affiliates are people of prayer committed to continually forming in their missionary spirituality from the creative tension between “being” and “doing.”
WHO ARE WE? Who are the Maryknoll Affiliates in the Guatemala Chapter?
MARYKNOLL SISTERS – Making Gods love visible in Guatemala.
These courageous women have come from other regions, from other countries, and from other missionary projects to start new missions. They expended great efforts to identify needs, find funds, identify places for projects, and train people for their work teams.
These excerpts are translated from the Guatemalan Maryknoll Affiliate website: http://afiliadosmaryknoll.wixsite.com/guate.
An extraordinary edition of No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, posted in November, was dedicated to honoring Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios for her 50 years in education.
Sunday, November 13, 2016, Rosa Beatriz Castañeda de Larios, Coordinator of the Guatemala Chapter of Maryknoll Affiliates (as well as editor of the NTLH and chair of the MAC 2017 organizing team), received a well-deserved tribute for her life of service in education, in Guatemala and in the world. She was feted in an event replete with music: marimba music, choreographed dances, and songs by a choir of former students, all composed and produced by her friend Miguel Angel Duarte and his artistic team. Graduates of the Sister Elizabeth McDermott Applied Arts School and Monte María School, where Rosa Beatriz had served, presented her orchids. Her colleague, Maryknoll Affiliate Anabella Penados, of the Monte María School, gave her a bonsai, explaining that it was a metaphor for the duration of her career and the artistry with which she kept it alive.
November 9-12, 2017
Guatemala, Central America
Registration is now available. For the forms, go to http://afiliadosmaryknoll.wixsite.com/guate/nossos-professores
After the conference, consider a Mission Visit…
You can visit missions of Maryknoll Sisters, a Priest, Lay Missioners, and Affiliates who serve in different areas of Guatemala or in El Salvador. Visiting a mission, you will be salt and light in exchanging the joy of the Gospel, living the beatitudes, and letting yourself be evangelized more than wanting to evangelize others.
Four post-conference options are offered (each needs a minimum of 5 participants):
The Communications Committee addresses all the avenues of communication used by the Affiliates: the Not So Far Afield (NSFA) and No Tan Lejos del Horizonte (NTLH) newsletters, the Maryknoll Affiliates’ website, the Monday update email, Facebook, the Book Group, and the Affiliate databases. Members of the committee recently reviewed each medium and commented:
Newsletters: The NSFA is distributed by mail six times a year to over 300 households and by email to over 750 addresses. The NTLH, a separate newsletter written by our Spanish-speaking Affiliates—not just a translation of the NSFA—is made available online at www.afiliadosmaryknoll.wixsite.com/guate/ntlh and in pdf form. The NTLH newsletter in Spanish is now also available on our website, at downloads/no-tan-lejos-del-horizonte.html
Web site: Executive Coordinator Bob Short regularly updates the website, posting news items of current interest. He also highlights different chapters to give a feel for our various ways of approaching mission. Affiliates are asked to contact Bob if they would like to have their chapter highlighted. Also, let Bob know if you encounter broken links or other problems at the website so that he can address them.
Monday Email: To get the most recent Affiliate news, Affiliates are invited to sign up for the Monday email at this website, under Contacts.
Facebook and other social media have great potential, but so far the Affiliates’ Facebook page is not well used. We need a capable volunteer with ideas and social media skills to make better use of Facebook.
Affiliate Databases: Ginny McEvoy continues working with Bob Short to harmonize them. If you want to be added to the membership list or update your information, please email Bob.
Excerpted from the article, “Internalizing Justice, Not Just Acting for It,” in The Peace Current, Summer 2016
Am I willing to change my internal landscape and my lifestyle in the pursuit of justice? I wonder sometimes if there are “safe” social justice issues that don’t require very much change. Does a focus on issues like nuclear disarmament, human trafficking, or abortion allow me to feel good about working for social change but not require much personal change?
We all need to be willing to be personally uncomfortable in the pursuit of justice, too. We cannot shy from important justice issues that also challenge those of us who have built a life on white privilege.
*Sister Rose Marie Tresp, RSM, of Belmont, N.C., has advocated for fair treatment of immigrants in the US for many years. In 2013, she joined the Fast for Immigrant Justice, commenting, “Our purpose is to push for immigration reform. We’re hoping to get more people who will support immigration reform and work for it.”
The Maryknoll Affiliate Board and some of us individual Affiliates are reflecting on what it means to be an online community, a virtual community, in Maryknoll.
The Chandler–Isacksens run the Be the Change Project in Reno, Nevada. They live in voluntary poverty, grow lots of food, serve in their community, are war-tax resistors, and attempt to live their lives in alignment with their values. They attend the Reno Friends Meeting and have frequent contact with the Reno Affiliates. (See two previous articles in the NSFA: July/Aug 2015, p. 5, and Sept/Oct 2014, p. 6.)
We reached the Dakota Access Pipe Line construction site at about noon on September 27th. This was an hour after prayers and reminders from native leaders at the frontline camp and after driving 30 dusty miles over empty North Dakota back roads. The front line camp is just a mile up from the large Oceti Sakowin camp, home to a couple thousand people while we were there. “We have many warriors with us today who will protect the elders, the women, the children. Remember, this is a nonviolent action.”
One hundred packed vehicles made it to the action that day: overflowing pickup trucks with masked youth from the Red Warrior camp (those willing to get arrested and in it for the long-haul) sitting alongside gray-haired elders holding signs that say “Protect the Water,” horse trailers with horses, license plates from across the country, our family in a rental car getting dustier by the mile.
MAC 2017: The international Maryknoll Affiliate Conference to be held from November 9-12, 2017, at a retreat center outside Guatemala City
Registration. Forms for registration and many more conference details will be available soon. The Conference Committee—members of the Guatemala Chapter—are putting the final touches on their conference website and expect to have it up and running by the third week in January. Watch your Monday Morning Website Update emails for an announcement of its opening date.
Conference Fee and Travel Grants. To encourage representation from as many as possible of the over 50 Affiliate Chapters worldwide, the Maryknoll Affiliate Board is again offering Conference Fee and Travel Grants for MAC 2017. Because funds are limited, applicants should first explore and consider all possible funding sources. For example, their chapters might help with either funds or frequent flyer miles. In 2014, over 15 attendees benefited from grant assistance; we hope that as many or more will be assisted through the 2017 program.
The Greater Boston Affiliate Chapter held their annual retreat in mid-November at the Maryknoll Sisters’ retreat/vacation house in Watch Hill, RI. The retreat followed the 2016 election by only a few days, and the 14 Affiliate participants from five New England states arrived feeling rattled, despondent and holding emotions not felt in a long time. Thankfully, retreats, if they are good, have a way of opening our minds and souls to deeper, more hope-filled realities. This retreat surely did that. What’s more, the physical setting, with expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean accessible from many vantage points within the spacious house; and, outside, a leaf covered pathway that led one to that ocean shore in just minutes, politely colluded to usher in a sense of, “It’ll all be ok.”
Translated and condensed from No Tan Lejos del Horizonte Special Edition, November 2016.
On November 3, 2016, Claudia Samayoa, a Maryknoll Affiliate of the Guatemala Chapter, received the Myrna Mack Chang Order from Human Rights Ombudsman Jorge De León Duque on November 3, 2016. He established the Order in 2014 to honor Myrna Mack Chang, a Guatemalan anthropologist murdered by Guatemalan military forces for her investigative work and commitment to the population displaced by the Internal Armed Conflict in Guatemala.
Recognizing Claudia as an activist who raises her voice to defend the human rights of Guatemalans, Duque praised Claudia’s concern for her fellow man and her placing her academic training at the service of the cause of human rights. He said, “Today is an auspicious day to deliver this recognition because attacks on human rights defenders have increased. And today there is also an inappropriate use of criminal law to imprison defenders. Being a human rights advocate is a high-risk job.”
Human rights have always been part of my being. I had a problem with the dogma that only Christians are saved; If God created us all equal in dignity, we should all be recognized as equal and respected. I did not accept the terrible reality in which I grew up: the exiles of my parents’ friends, the murders of doctors known to my father, images of massacres collected in Amnesty International magazines and surreptitiously shared with my father by the priest of Chimaltenango.
Nonviolence is the theme of Pope Francis’s Peace Message.
Pope Francis recognized the 50th annual World Peace Day, January 1, by sending us the first Catholic document on nonviolence, entitled: Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.
Francis’s concise and readable seven-page message has sections on:
Find Pope Francis’s document on nonviolence at Vatican.va or with additional resources at usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/war-and-peace/world-day-of-peace.cfm .
More than 120,000 people of Japanese descent were infamously rounded up and sent to Internment Centers in various western states, by Executive Order from the President, February 19, 1942, 75 years ago.
Immediately after Pearl Harbor, Seattle’s Japanese community found a staunch supporter in Bishop Gerald Shaughnessy. In a pastoral letter read in every church in the diocese on December 14, 1941, the bishop called for a whole-hearted support of the war effort—and of people of Japanese descent: “Our Catholic heritage especially inculcates upon us in these momentous hours that we embrace our fellow American citizens of Japanese extraction in a special bond of charity.” (See www.stjames-cathedral.org/history/holythings/18maryknoll.aspx )