Maryknoll Affiliate News (297)

The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates

Saturday, 30 June 2018 12:52

Gracias de Guatemala

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The Guatemala Chapter of Maryknoll Affiliates

Is very thankful for the commitment, love and expressions of solidarity from the Maryknoll family during the current crisis and resulting consequences from the volcano. Your thoughtful concern for our brothers and sisters brought to mind Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” (Mt. 25, 40)

We formed the Fire Volcano Committee that will study which project will best bring a sense of dignity to those who are most vulnerable.  The donations sent by you will make possible the relocation of many people who have lost their homes.  Once we determine the specifics of the project, we will be in communication about the process from beginning to end.

Your solidarity keeps alive our HOPE!

Saturday, 30 June 2018 12:35

What's Happening in Nicaragua

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Below is a letter, slightly abridged, from Julio Martinez, nephew of Robert Ellsberg, publisher of Orbis Books.  Kitty Madden provided the initial paragraph in italics. 

As a Maryknoll Affiliate who has been living and working in Matagalpa, Nicaragua for the past 32+years (3 of those years as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner), I totally concur with Julio’s letter of concern and am grateful for the careful documentation he provides as a way of helping to educate the Maryknoll community about the desperate situation of Nicaraguans today.  Please also keep us in your daily prayers. (Kitty Madden)

Hi family, 

As mentioned on the phone, the situation in Nicaragua hasn’t improved over the past 2 months, and the latest death toll has reached 285 since April 18th. I won’t describe the circumstances much, since you’ll read that in the articles, but I’ll at least mention that these deaths have occurred almost exclusively among unarmed protesters who were met by heavily-armed government forces. 

While international press seems to be reporting fairly, we are seeing an unexpected response from progressive groups with historical ties to the Sandinista Party (because of what this party used to be during the 1980s), some of which go as far as touting government talking points and blaming the situation on a right-wing, CIA-funded campaign, rather than a popular uprising against government authoritarianism. This has us in Nicaragua very worried since the situation seems to be getting worse, and it is important for this government to be isolated internationally if it is expected to back down. This is why I was hoping that I could ask you for help. An important objective now is to get as many international progressive groups as possible, especially those that have historical ties to the Sandinista party, to denounce this government repression in Nicaragua, and where applicable, publicly cut ties with the party. If any of you had ties to these kinds of groups, and could help me get this message to them, i would be extremely grateful. I could facilitate any information that they would need in order to clarify, including getting them in touch with former Sandinista leaders (virtually all of whom are now against the regime) if that would help.   

Please let me know if you would have any comments or questions and thank you so much for your help. 

Much love, 


News Sources

The Atlantic: The Unraveling of Nicaragua (June 6)

Amnesty International: Shoot to Kill: NICARAGUA’S STRATEGY TO REPRESS PROTESTS. (May 29)


Sunday, 24 June 2018 11:48

Some Notes on the Future

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In a recent conversation with Teresa Baldini MM on possible new directions for Maryknoll, she shared the thoughts (not the cartoon) below:

I believe the future has invited us to embrace communal contemplation anew so that we can enter the crucible herein our unknown future and the Love that compels us forward are being put to the fire! (Nancy Sylvester, IHM)

Dwell in Possibility…

Not knowing when the dawn will come,

I open every door of my heart this day.

(Emily Dickinson)

Our role is not only to ease suffering, bind up wounds and feed the hungry, but through every form of effort to raise the powers of LOVE upward to the next state of consciousness!  (Teilhard de Chardin, SJ)

Please pray for me, one whose life is filled with many tasks, while her soul is lost in God. (Mother Mary Joseph)

We need to be among those who have courage to go out on a limb, for that is where the fruit is. (Mary Luke Tobin, SJ)

We are called to a new vision of collaboration involving a communion of people with the maximum of diversity. (Cletus Wessels, OP)

Deep within we long for unity because, at the most fundamental level, we are already one. We belong to one another because we have the same source of lover; the love that flows through the trees is the same love that flowers through my being… We are deeply connected in this flow of love, beginning on the level of nature where we are the closest of kin because the Earth is our mother. (Teresa Baldini MM)

The need for justice and peace for the Palestinian (and Israeli) people is way overdue.  We need all of those interested in helping bring about a more just situation to join together and try to make sure the U.S. government becomes a positive player for justice and peace in that region.

To do this, we need many advocates in every Congressional District in the country to let our Senators, Congress people and other pertinent government leaders know what they can do to promote justice and peace in this area of the world and that we oppose U.S. government actions that further the injustice and lack of peace in the area.

Therefore, the Pax Christi International Washington Working Group, of which PCUSA is a key member (along with the Columban Center for Advocacy & Outreach, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd), is setting up a national grassroots advocacy network.  Its initial aims are simple - to get at least two Catholics in as many of the 435 Congressional districts in the country as possible to agree to try to advocate by e-mail (or in other ways) with either their Senators and Congressperson (or another relevant government leaders) at least once per month.  

Thank You for your prayers, love and concern.

The eruption of Fuego Volcano on Sunday noon was the biggest in more than four decades, forcing the closure of Guatemala´s international airport and dumping ash on thousands of acres of coffee farms on the volcano´s slopes. Two cities where devastated.  As of Monday 6/4, 62 are dead  (as of 6/7, 76 have died and 200 are missing).  Sadly, the vulnerable people were the most affected. They have lost family members. Their houses are underground.  There is no food and some have terrible burns over their bodies. The fire fighters continue to search for bodies…perhaps a few will still be found alive.

For you to have a reference point of one of the cities affected - it was Sacatepéquez, a site approximately twenty kilometers from the Retreat House where many of you participated in MAC 2017.

The people of Guatemala are very supportive of their country men and women, and a lot of help has been in evidence since the date of the tragedy. Some of us are supporting with money, because one of the affiliate is a doctor and she will collect the money to buy medicine needed by the people.  Most of the people are helping with food, clothes, and any other material.


[From Bob Short... The Albany Chapter has been in close contact with the Maryknoll Sisters working in the area, providing many different levels of support.  If you like to see more go to:]

This is a very tragic situation for our beloved people. As always, the vulnerable people gets the worst.

In the name of the Guatemala Chapter and the people from Guatemala I thank you for your -


Rosa Beatriz

Guatemala Chapter & Affiliate Board Member

Thursday, 14 September 2017 13:10


Written by


(Vision photo by Paula Schaffner)

Join the Maryknoll Affiliate Board in envisioning our future.


1. Read through these two pages.

2. Plan who will read the passages and prayers.

3. Determine who will lead the discussions.

4. Gather markers, a ip chart or large sheets of paper and tape, and pens and paper for individual use. .

Meeting Plan

Opening Prayer:

A member reads these excerpts from Marlene Marburg’s poem, “Dreaming a Grace”:

I imagine a place
people gathering, sharing their deep desires
for the way things can be
in this world at this time
in places
where a new consciousness of God in all things
is emerging.


While visioning at their May meeting, our Maryknoll Af liate Board discussed:

  • Where will the Af liates be in 5 years?

  • Where do we want the Af liates to be in 5 years?

  • Name 1-3 action steps to get there.

    The Af liate movement, as are all of us, is challenged by an evolving world. The Board was excited by the possibilities presented by the actions of international chapters and our ever greater collaboration with the other Maryknoll entities. The Board wants to broaden the conversation to include input from Af liate chapters and individuals. In response, Bob Short posted the article, “Where Will We Be in 5 Years (or less)?” It reads:

    A key question scheduled for the recent conference call between Board and Regional Coordinator members was: “Where do you want the Maryknoll Af liates to be in ve years?” Board Chair Dave Schaffner suggested that to that question, we attach a second one: “Where do you think we will be in 5 years?” They are critical questions for all of us to consider. Hopefully many Af liate Chapters will take up the question as well.

[To see the full Easy Meeting plan you can: (1) go to the latest (September/October 2017) printed edition of NSFA - pages 6 & 7.   (2) go to the online version of NSFA at this link:]

Saturday, 09 September 2017 15:32

Our Earth & Its People

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P. Ignacio Ellacuria's vision of taking the crucified people off the crossThis post is being written after hurricane Harvey; after Mexico’s most devastating earthquake in half a century; after the devastating floods of South Asia; during hurricanes Irma and Jose, but before Irma makes landfall in Florida.  All these have taken place within weeks of each other. We are undoubtedly leaving out other horrific ‘natural’ events in places that rarely make the news.  Tens of millions of lives have been affected. 

All this could lead us in many directions about what in the world is going on – the impact of climate change, humanity’s kindness to each other, humanity’s exploitation of the poor and marginalized, etc. – but at this moment we simply hold all these people in our hearts, particularly those who have little resources or support.

Considering our sister/brother Affiliates and other Maryknollers, we pray for the recovery of those in the Houston Chapter; for the safety of those (many evacuated) in the Northeast Florida Chapter; and most especially, for Mary (79) & Pat (82) Gill-Denevan from the Portland, OR Chapter who have been working  in Oaxaca Mexico for many years.  Some of us received their 51st Newsletter a few days ago.  Thankfully, word just came in from Mary that they are well and with little damage to their house.  She asks for prayers for those near the coast who experienced significant damage. Here’s a quote from Mary copied from their newsletter: 

“The biggest lesson in my life right now is the holding in tension all the best and worst of reality. I know the big plan is beyond me but trust it will work out in Let us all keep the learning that love triumphs in crisis and hope we don’t need continual crises to remember that the present evolution..”

The photo reflects a vision by Padre Ignacio Ellacuria S.J., who was murdered in El Salvador (1989)





Saturday, 02 September 2017 01:57

September 2017

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Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." (Genesis 9:16)

Our hearts and prayers go out to all in southeast Texas and beyond who have suffered from the hurricane and the floods it caused.  Fr. Gerry Kelley MM of the Maryknoll house in Houston has been a primary contact for us in this.  In a recent email Gerry wrote: "The house did not get any water. I had electricity the entire time. Dick Horstmann (Affiliate) had to be evacuated by the Coast Guard from his house. He is staying with one of his sons in Houston. Ron Covey (Affiliate) is stuck in Guatemala with the closure of the airports in Houston. He was supposed to stay at the house and have a cataract operation this past Tuesday."  We also heard from John and Sandra Stables, formerly from the Houston Chapter: "Good afternoon Bob.  My wife Sandra and I have moved on to the Foreign Service and we are currently working in the Embassy in Mexico City. We are watching the events closely and praying for our friends and family.  It's going to be a rough few weeks and months ahead. Glad to hear from you Father Gerry we really miss our Maryknoll family."                                                                                                                                                                      
As people of global vision and hearts, our prayers also go out to the peoples of India, Bangladesh and Nepal who were experiencing horrific floods at the same time that Harvey was moving through Texas.  It killed 1,200 and left millions homeless

MAGAZINE ARTICLE - Something Good in Mission (By Dave Schaffner)

Beginning on Page 40 of the September/October edition of Maryknoll Magazine, this article celebrates Maryknoll Affiliates marking 25 years of connecting with others at home and abroad. This email came in tonight (9/1) referencing the article.

My name is Rita Mitchum. Fr. James Madden, MM, and I were first cousins born and raised in Indianapolis, Ind.  Our families were very close as we were growing up. I want to thank David Schaffner for writing the article in Maryknoll Magazine as a tribute to Fr. Jim's hard work in initiating the Affiliates program. His extended and close relatives miss him greatly. Maryknoll has lost a truly dedicated missionary.    Gratefully, Rita Mitchum


Author Judith Valente wrote of this already successful novel by Lynn Monahan, Editor-in-Chief of Maryknoll Magazine, "Reminiscent of the finest Graham Greene novels..." There will be a book launch and signing at the Maryknoll 39th Street house on Sept. 28 from 6 to 9 pm. All Affiliates in the area are very welcome.


There are still a few openings for the Friday Book Group (1:00pm ET - 10:00am PT) Starts on September 8th. Book for this session: Trails of Hope and Terror by Miguel de la Torre. 

Orbis link:  If interested, contact Bob Short at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Sunday, 27 August 2017 15:25


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Last November the New York Times picked up 130,000 new subscribers - 10 times their average monthly growth rate. Subscriptions at The Wall Street Journal spiked 300 percent and the LA Times went up 61%. The now-profitable Washington Post is hiring 60 new writers. Part of this is attributable to the dismal record of adverting on the internet. But, given that organizations like the A.C.L.U., Southern Poverty Law, Planned Parenthood and Amnesty International have also seen a spike in membership, it’s clear that the new administration in the White House has provided a primary rationale.

I just finished reading a copy of the September/October NSFA. Co-editors Mary and Paula ask me to review it for any needed edits before it goes to print. Given their writing and formatting skills, I’m lucky if I find a spacing error or a letter missing. It's pretty certain that neither NSFA or NTLH (No Tan Lejos del Horizonte) picked up 130,000 new subscribers last or hired 60 new writers, but after having read the upcoming edition of NSFA, I honestly think the world would be in a better place if more people had access to either of these Affiliate newsletters. Neither of them are designed to give direct political commentary; nevertheless, the very thoughtful, substantive, and moving articles inevitably provide a strong commentary against the, to say it euphemistically, small-mindedness of the present Administration. Self-giving and love trumps (sic) narcissism and hate. The paper and online versions of the next NSFA will be out soon.

Para aquellos de ustedes que leen español, NTLH está formateado maravillosamente y es un comentario igualmente sustantivo y reflexivo sobre lo que debe suceder en nuestro mundo. Muchos de los que colaboran en la producción de NTLH están actualmente comprometidos con el MAC 2017, pero la próxima edición saldrá pronto

Sunday, 20 August 2017 22:00

Prayer for Peace in Our Time

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The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns posted this prayer on their website for this month. To access the MOGC website go to:

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