Maryknoll Affiliate News (297)

The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates

Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:03

MAC2020 - Postponed

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We have determined that it is time to cancel MAC 2020 now

The decision was not an easy one after so much preparation; and, realizing that many of you have already purchased plane tickets or otherwise took steps in preparation for the MAC.  We considered every available angle and, at the end, the decision to cancel for now was the only viable option.  

The overriding consideration was that there is too much uncertainty to allow any of us (participants, presenters and team members) to continue planning with any confidence. The fact that registrations had essentially stopped is an indicator. Additionally, many experts are saying this virus will go on well into the summer; Graymoor has shut down with no clear idea when to again open; the keynote, Nancy Sylvester agrees; due to the virus, many international Affiliates are unable to get an interview for their visas; airline ticket availability is uncertain, etc. etc.  As one MAC team member (Celine Woznica) wrote, “...even if the pandemic would be on the decrease by June, they (her Chapter) would be hesitant to fly.  Most of them are in their 70s and 80s and would be concerned about some residual chance of infection.”

Two important considerations:

  1. We will set a new date for the MAC - most probably in 2021 – once there is enough certainty to do so.
  2. Reimbursements for those who’ve already paid are being worked out. I don’t yet have a date for when the checks will go out.

Any questions/comments, contact Bob at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you and please starting thinking of MAC 2021. 

Thursday, 26 March 2020 19:22

Letter From Rich Lessard

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Hello Affiliates,
I pray this message finds you well in whatever circumstance you find yourself in right now.  If you are suffering now, whether it be directly from the coronavirus itself, the solitude from being isolated from others, or loss of employment, my prayers especially go out to you.  I'm sure we can all say assuredly that our lives are a lot different now than it was just two weeks ago.  Social distancing, this the new normal?  I don't know about the long term, but it's a big part of our lives right now.  
The reality is that we are in the midst of a global crisis.  While writing this message, I came across Richard Rohr's concluding words in his Daily Meditation this morning.  He says "We cannot face large-scale crises as individuals; we cannot carry the pain of this reality on our own, nor can we only look out for ourselves. The pain is communal and so too must be the response."  When I reflect on this, I realized that this was part of the underlining theme of my message--a communal Affiliate response.  What is it?  What could it be?  As we emerge from this crisis, it is my deepest hope that we are unified with all Maryknollers and strengthened in our collective resolve and commitment to live out the mission of Maryknoll that is deeply rooted in the charism of its founders.
Crises brings opportunities.  There are signs of hope.  Locally, I've seen and experienced two positive and hopeful signs so far: a resurgence of family members and friends reconnecting (virtually) with one another; and for us suburbanites, we are physically leaving our homes and taking walks and meeting our neighbors (at a safe distance), some for the very first time.  After a walk through the neighborhood this past weekend, my wife and I both remarked on how we each felt a real and growing sense of community.  A hope for the future! 
Saturday, 21 March 2020 14:57

Poem for a Pandemic

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Kitty Madden of the Affiliate U.S. based Virtual & presently living in Nicaragua, shared this poem for all of us.

Prayer for a Pandemic written by Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced 
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between
Preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for
Our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
In the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically 
Wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace
Of God 

“Que este virus, sea el virus de la transformación y de la consciencia humana."

All of us are looking for signs of light and words of hope in these very different times.  Marcela's thoughtful and beautifully written article below helps us see more deeply so that light and hope can enter in through the cracks.  Rosa Beatriz,  Affiliate Board member from the Guatemala Chapter wrote of Marcela, "It's a privilege to have her with us as an Affiliate.  She loves the Maryknoll spirituality that is alive within her."

Marcela is an anthropologist and graduated in Literature in Guatemala with a specialization in Europe. Lately she has dedicated herself to ecology, moving into the very being of Mother Earth and all of us who inhabit it. Click Read More below to see the whole article.  It's truly worth it...and we've all got time these days. 

Building New Pathways of Hope

Marcela Gereda, Affiliate, Guatemala Chapter

Just a few days ago, a collective “trip” suddenly began in diverse parts of the world. An inner journey to the center of each of us. Perhaps a descent to Xibalbá (Maya underworld), to go through our own hells and emerge from there victorious, knowing that the answers we have been looking for are within us.

Various sociologists, philosophers and anthropologists who have studied today's society have named it, "the society of the Ego". As a society we cross ourselves and we swear to love our neighbor as ourselves, but in practice we let individual interest prevail over collective interest. We take this “save yourself whoever can” to its ultimate consequences.

Advertising and the media encourage not only the individual experience, but they place as a value the fact of putting the individual interest before the collective; then it becomes socially acceptable...i.e., the culture of the "I" in first, second and third place.

Criminologist Anthony Platt has observed that crimes in the streets of Latin America are not only the result of extreme poverty. They are also the fruit of an individualistic ethic.

Faced with the virus that rules the world today, things seem to be different. We need contact, hugging (Note: social distancing was not a thing in Guatemala when Marcela wrote this – Bob) meeting the infinity (presence) of the Other. That Other that we are also.

Saturday, 14 March 2020 20:17

Covid-19 & MAC2020

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                         Flatten that hump

Before looking into the MAC, our primary consideration is that all of us (and all sentient beings) are well and feeling supported during this time of the Corona Virus.  Although their respective chapter meeting might be cancelled, many Affiliates have already begun to check in on their fellow members. Given that a couple of us fit into the “senior” high risk group, this seems like an especially worthwhile practice. 


Almost 60 people have signed up for the MAC at this juncture. To date, all is a go.  We think and hope that by June any serious threat from the virus will have subsided.  However, because we can’t be sure; and, because many need to make plane reservations, any decision to cancel/postpone MAC2020 will be made by early May at the latest, based on the best information available to us from Graymoor, local, state and national policies and directives?”  We'll inform you about this as soon as we have confirmed.  Again, at this moment, all is a go. Additional details on MAC2020 ...e.g., Intergenerational Voices (young person segment), ground transport/directions, parking, food & diet options, will soon follow.

As mentioned in last week’s post.  All payments made will be reimbursed if we need to cancel.


Sunday, 08 March 2020 16:30

MAC2020 - 3 Notices

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Communication & Courageous Conversations

All 5 workshops at MAC2020 fit into a unique category.  This one, facilitated by the ever engaging and ‘bubbly’ Karen Bortvedt Estrada, clearly fulfills that categorization. 

In her synopsis of the workshop, Karen wrote: As our world becomes more and more divided in politics, religion, and around our own family tables, effective listening can be a crucial tool to draw us back together.  In the workshop we will look at strategies for effective listening, examine our own ways of listening, and engage in various activities to think critically about how we can better contribute to building unity instead of increasing division.

 Karen, recently married, is passionate about ensuring everyone has a seat at the table as we face the many challenges of our day.   She is a strong believer in living an intentional life and the power of one person to create ripples that can. To learn more about Karen’s background, go to:

Registration – two comments (

  1. Receipt - If you have already registered and did not automatically receive a receipt (and want one) contact Bob at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  2. Covid19 – while the reality of Coronavirus might be over or significantly diminished by late June, the MAC2020 team wants to assure everyone registered or planning to register, that should we need to cancel, the full amount paid will be reimbursed. We don’t anticipate this but want to clarify.
Sunday, 01 March 2020 21:33

Greater Boston Chapter Annual Retreat

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Clearing (Martha Postlewaite

 Do not try to save the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world so worth of rescue.

Last weekend the Greater Boston Chapter held its annual Retreat at the Maryknoll Sisters Watch Hill, RI summer home.  They have been doing since almost their inception over 25 years ago. The retreat theme was taken from Margaret Wheatley’s book, What Do You Choose to Be - Facing Reality – Claiming Leadership – Restoring SanityTheresa Baldini MM from the Maryknoll Sisters Cloister facilitated the weekend. Her presentation and presence along with interaction from the group made for a profoundly restorative time for everyone. Due to scheduling and the sudden death of a family member, just 9 from the Chapter were able to participate.

Theresa (Terrry) helped us to remember that we come to the retreat not so much for insights or for more information but for transformation – to have a dwelling mind, a contemplative mind, not a surface mind, disturbed and distracted by mostly frivolous happenings all around us.  It can be a time when unhealed wounds are touched within us through our shared silence and by the sacrament of each other’s presence. It’s also a time of shared meals prepared by each other, quiet walks alongside the southern Rhode Island ocean, a profusion of humor and community prayer.  The poem above by Martha Postlewaite, was part of the concluding reflection.

Sunday, 23 February 2020 15:04

MAC2020 - Young Person Session

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The MAC2020 Young Person Saturday Morning (2/27) segment is in place.  Several young people (20 – 30’s) have already committed to be with us.  The MAC team is looking to have and even larger contingent and has developed this flyer to be distributed to young people who might be interested.

Realistically, as most of the young people in attendance at the MAC will only be there for that Saturday morning, most or all of them participating will be within traveling distance to Garrison, NY (20 minutes north of the Maryknoll Center).  Alternatively, some might have friends in the area with whom they can stay.  Please distribute the flyer to any young person whom you think could be interested. We really believe that this Saturday morning session will be an exciting and important one for all of us.  Go to:

If you'd like physical printed copies, email Bob Short at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thursday, 13 February 2020 22:31

Quo Vadis - Le Moyne College Experience

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Quo Vadis, Latin for Where are you going? It is a program meant to help those (most often college students) who have been on an immersion trip, to process and incorporate the experience into their lives going forward. 

Santa & Albany Chapter members

Santa Orlando and a team from the Albany Chapter met on February 9th with thirty students from LeMoyne College in Syracuse NY to help them process their immersion trips to Jamaica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. This Day of Discernment was meant to be a forum for the students to spend time remembering the surprises, events and gifts that will forever remain etched upon their hearts. Affiliates believe post-reflection is one of the most important aspects of cultural immersion trips. Many programs focus on preparing groups prior to their trips, yet time to process the experience after returning is often omitted. Affiliates are providing this service to groups returning from immersion trips to encourage them to share their experience with those who have taken trips such as these and have been changed by the experience.

An Albany Affiliate team of six facilitated this day, encouraging the students to remember events that touched them, to share these experiences with those present and to let the experiences speak to them in the silence of their hearts. The students were thoroughly engaged throughout the day, sharing with each other in pairs, small groups and large group discussions. We felt privileged to hear their stories, many of which brought back similar memories of immersion trips that we ourselves have taken.

Sunday, 09 February 2020 16:59

MAC2020 - Caring For The Earth

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There will be 5 workshops at MAC2020 plus an Open Space session.  Each workshop will be repeated twice, giving participants the opportunity to attend two. In one way or another, all of them align with the Conference theme – Witnessing Love in the Interim Time.

One of those workshops is entitled: Caring for the EarthIt’ll be given by Jim & Ann Coady, presently members of the first Affiliate virtual chapter.  For a Synopsis of the workshop, Ann & Jim wrote: How are we invested in the most critical issue of our time? A Contemplative Approach to the Climate Crisis: Falling in love again with the earth and its creatures.

This is a unique approach to looking at the Climate Crisis.  In large part, that uniqueness is a reflection of the Coadys themselves…thoughtful, substantive, caring people who bring a unique perspective to almost any topic. And too, odds are Jim won’t be able to stop himself from tossing in a sizable morsel of humor along the way.

To see all the workshops and the entire MAC2020 schedule, go to:

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