The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
Until yesterday, Sunday, there were two affiliate virtual chapters. The first formed has six members crossing three U.S. time zones and has met three times. The second is a contemplative virtual chapter that focuses on reflective conversation and prayer. Members from both these chapters have spoken very positively about how meaningful the experiences have been.
On Sunday, October 1st, a third, hybrid affiliate chapter entered the virtual Maryknoll Affiliate world. Approximately 15 members from three continents and as many countries – Kenya, Germany and the U.S. (crossing too many time zones to count) – held their first meeting.
This hybrid virtual chapter evolved from the creative vision and organizational acumen of Gerry and Marita Grudzen, connected to Maryknoll in several capacities for many years. Both have been involved in higher education, and there has been a particular focus in the area of interfaith – in spirituality, academics, trainings and personal investment. Gerry’s most recent book in this area is: Spirituality and Science: Greek, Judeo-Christian and Islamic Perspectives
I don’t think the Affiliate Board could have anticipated that virtual chapter could take such a far-reaching character when it was first proposed. It’s a very encouraging development for mission. Here’s their first meeting agenda:
October 1, 2017, 3:30-5:00pm (Kenyan Time)
Formation Process for the Affiliate over 12 months: What it will look like.
Five Themes: Affiliate Identity, Mission, Spirituality in Mission, Community and Prophetic Witness.
Emphasis on four pillars: Spirituality, Community, Global Vision and Action.
Small group discussion at each site (15”)
Then we go back to the big group and each person introduces themselves and shares something in response to the program. (25”)
This dynamic webinar will help diocesan and parish leaders learn how to form a mission council in their parish or diocese.
(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. .
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
where a new consciousness of God in all things
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: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/news/not-so-far-afield/item/1686-easy-meeting-visioning-the-affiliates.html]
This 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)
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
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.
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
There will be two sessions:
The chosen book is: Trails of Hope and Terror by Miguel de la Torre
Each of seven sections (Borders, Economics, Myths, Family Values, the Politics of Fear, Christian Perspectives, Ethical Responses) opens with an examination of an issue and then includes a story or testimony by an undocumented immigrant, a story by someone who works with the undocumented, and a poem, prayer, or a song that expresses the hope and the terror involved in crossing the border. This combination of analysis, story, and artistic expression opens up the complexities of immigration. Cost is $12 at the Orbis site (link above).
We will be starting in under a month, so please respond soon.
Thank you and peace,
Paula Schaffner, Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss, Bob Short
MK Affiliate Book Group Committee
For a few years we dance around on the stage of life and have the chance to reflect a little bit of God’s glory. As a human, I’m just a tiny moment of consciousness, a tiny part of creation, a particle that reflects only a fragment of God’s love and beauty. And yet that’s enough. And then we return to where we started—in the heart of God. Everything in between is a school of love. (Richard Rohr)
We received word today that Mary D'Arcy of the Subway Affiliate Chapter passed on to New Life. Mary was a beloved friend to Maryknollers of all four expressions. She was an Affiliate from the early years; a psychologist consultant for the Lay Missioners for over 30 years; and, before that, a Maryknoll Sister. In a note a few minutes ago from Mark Koening, a former Director of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners, who served with his family in Venezuela, he wrote, "Mary was a person of wisdom, humor and insight and was never reticent to share those gifts. So happy she was a part of my life." For sure, that is something that many reading this can say of Mary.
The message from the Maryknoll Society today said this:
August 2, 2017
Please remember in your prayers the repose of the soul of
who died today, August 2, 2017, at the age of 86. Mary was a former Maryknoll sister and worked for many years with the Maryknoll Affiliates and Lay Missioners. Mary was the widow of Paul D’Arcy, former Maryknoll priest, Class of 1946.
Funeral Mass will take place Saturday, 8/5 at the Maryknoll Society Chapel
Condolences to Peter D'Arcy/ 7 Oxford Rd./ Larchmont, NY 10538
A short time ago, a family member, Michel, gave me a pack of 100 cards known as Oblique Strategies. Each card has a “worthwhile dilemma” to, excuse the pun, shuffle the mind off in a different direction. He’s writing a book and uses these oblique strategies when writer’s block sets in. Here are four examples:
Gardening, not architecture
Remove the specifics and convert to ambiguities
Not building a wall, but making a brick
Humanize something free of error
Michel gave them to me thinking they could provide an occasional distraction from todays frightening political arena. Today in the space of ten minutes I heard political pundits use the expressions, “soap opera”, “circus train” and “insane asylum” in reference to the present U.S. administration. Who doesn’t need a distraction these days?!
But, distractions have little chance of putting us back on the heart journey we’ve been called to. Thankfully, in recent days a few Affiliates copied me on their responses to Rosa Beatriz, the lead person on the Guatemalan Conference Committee planning for MAC 2017, who had the inspiration to arbitrarily choose a few registrants and ask them to respond to two of three questions posed. Below are parts of three different responses to one of those questions:
In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement?
…Whole-hearted, transformative strategies that help bring us back to what can bring peace and harmony in our world. Proud to be a Maryknoll Affiliate.
One of the Quick Links (blue box) sections on the home page of the website <maryknollaffiliates.org> is entitled "Developing Global Consciousness". Most of the content for this section over the last year or so has come to us thanks to Sr. Theresa Baldini of the Maryknoll Sister Contemplative Community. As the section implies, these readings are substantive and reflective. If you open this section now, you'll see Sr. Helene O'Sullivan MM's précis for Chapters 4 & 5 of Diarmuid O'Murchu's insightful new book, Religious Life in the 21st Century - The Prospect for Refounding. For those of you who have read any of O"Murchu's books, you'll know that, while his focus is religious life, so much in the book extends beyond religious life and has application for all of us. To check out this section, go to: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/developing-global-consciousness.html
Below is an excerpt from the 1st paragraph of this section.
Chapter 4. Parable and Paradigm in the History of Religious Life
We now move into the story of Religious Life as we have known it for almost two thousand years. Most history books tend to prioritize those who advanced the church’s progress and defended it against heresy and attack, namely, outstanding patriarchal males. Women in general and vowed women specifically were not meant to be visible in the church’s agenda of power and control and therefore for most of Christian history (down to the 19th century) women were officially “silenced” by monastic enclosure. The historical texts rarely, if ever, acknowledge that throughout Christendom women Religious made significant, even major, contributions. This grave injustice needs to be addressed and rectified.
Registrations have now reached full capacity for the venue - Casa de Retiros Verbo Encarnado. In many ways this is good news. However, unfortunately it also means that if you were thinking of attending but haven't yet registered, that window has closed.
There is a waiting list (3 so far) in the event that someone previously registered is no longer able to attend and withdraws.
An MAC update and a reflective passage:
Right now there is one Maryknoll Affiliate Virtual Chapter. * The members of that Chapter held there second “meeting” last Wednesday. As there is no geographic location for the chapter, as yet it remains nameless.
The decision to move forward with a virtual chapter surfaced over a year ago in a Board meeting with the realization that many who had been inquiring about becoming Affiliates lived too far from an existing chapter to join. Additionally, several Affiliates who moved away from their original chapter and hoped to join another, also found themselves geographically distant from any current chapter.
So, the first virtual chapter was born. There are 5 members who “gather” via conference call. There is some thought to also including a video connection like Zoon, Skype, etc. in the future. Those members are from Colorado, Minnesota, upstate NY, Connecticut and, aren’t we lucky, Sr. Ellen McDonald MM, co-founder of the Affiliate movement. For now, they have decided to meet quarterly. Minus seeing each other’s faces or sharing potluck delights, the first two virtual sessions appear to mirror the spirit and shared solidarity of local chapters. Very encouraging.
* There is also a pilot Contemplative Virtual Chapter in its initial stages of development.