The Mwanza Affiliates sent colorful cloth bags from one of their women’s projects to the Portland Oregon Affiliates, some of whom have visited them in Tanzania. The Portland Chapter also has helped Affiliate (returned Maryknoll Lay Missioner) Bertha Haas raise funds to support the school for handicapped children that she started there.
Recently I had a powerful interfaith experience at Hartford Seminary near Windsor, Connecticut. The intensive eight-day course entitled Building Abrahamic Partnerships was structured as an interfaith community of learning for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all of whom trace their origin to the patriarch Abraham. Our class of 10 Jews, 8 Muslims, 9 Protestants of various denominations, and 3 Catholics heard lectures by Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams, Christian ministers, and seminary professors.
The highlight for me was a small group experience led by a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim woman, and a United Church of Christ woman minister. We each shared a personal experience that we had of God/Allah, through which we were able to meet on a spiritual level above our differences.
We are currently seeking nominations for appointment to the Maryknoll Affiliate Board. Are you dedicated to serving the Affiliate movement and committed to building a strong and sustainable organization? Please contact us if you, or someone you know, is able and ready to respond to this invitation.
Our annual invitation for you to participate in keeping Maryknoll Affiliates going will arrive soon. We need your help to cover the costs of communicating: newsletters, website, telephone, Executive Coordinator travel, paper clips...
Working together we can do it!
A Review of Just Water by Christiana Z. Peppard, Orbis Books Series on Integral Ecology.
This follow-up to Laudato Si, Just Water by Christiana Z. Peppard, presents very practical, though not easy, steps to protect our most essential resource. Already on page 22, I was challenged to change my way of life. Its principal assertion is that water conservation is a “right-to-life” issue. It is not fair for the first world to use up Earth’s water supply while leaving those most poor to pay the consequences. To reduce the threat to our water supply, we need to stop focusing on domestic use, only eight percent of total use, and attend to industrial and agricultural use.
The Gift of Enough*
I love you and I wish you enough...
[Taken from a story overheard in the airport as a daughter took leave of her elderly mother. When the mother was asked the meaning of these words of farewell, she replied, “that’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone. I am old now and my daughter lives far away. No doubt, her next trip here will be for my funeral.” Then she smiled remembering the message in detail.]
I wish you enough sun
to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain
to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness
to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain
so that the smallest joys in life appear
I wish you enough gain
to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss
to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos
to get you through the final good-bye.
*Excerpted from Sabbath Presence by Kathleen Casey. Copyright 2006 by Ave Maria Press, PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Used with permission of the publisher.
We are a brave and loving community! This issue of the NSFA provides reflections and news from several active Affiliate communities. We also feature an EZ Meeting that asks chapters, or individuals, to reflect on our Affiliate community and ponder its relationship to the Kin-dom of God.
Bob Short provides insights on the Affiliate mission of seeking/creating/forming global community, which can lead us to wholeness. The article on “Family,“ from No Tan Lejos del Horizonte, the Spanish-speaking Affiliates’ newsletter, reminds us that the family provides us the grounding and formation that we need to be able to evolve into wholeness.
But there are impediments to wholeness. Demagogues, cults, and fearsome (and fearful) individuals may seek to maximize their benefits and protect themselves, disregarding the common good. The Affiliate community does not exclude the other but rather is supportive of the quest for knowledge and of care for our earth and its peoples, especially those less able to protect themselves.
Oaxacan Community Speaks – "The opposition to the Education Reform now includes not only the teachers but the parents of the school children."—Mary Gill and Pat Denevan
Will Your Chapter be Represented? – "Perhaps chapters could share the cost for a member to represent them."
Genuine Community – "In a small but important way, here is where the Affiliate vision, Seeking Global Community, can make a meaningful contribution, offering a heartfelt core to the emerging conscious unity."—Bob Short
The Problems with Palm Oil: Human Rights Abuses in Guatemala and Honduras – "The Guatemalans talked about palm oil plantations’ connection to water projects in their communities, and the Hondurans told of state repression and assassinations of indigenous leaders who protest large dam projects that threaten indigenous territories."—Mary Ryan-Hotchkiss
Maryknoll Affiliates in Tanzania – "One of the charter members of the Mwanza Affiliates, Agnes Medard, generously shared with Bertha the importance of Affiliate membership in her life."—Bertha Haas
Korean Affiliates Meet – "The sharing was an opportunity to look at how we as believers can respond to the issues we are faced with."—Lydia Kim
Emphasis on Action – "Several members who are not able to travel overseas are involved in local efforts."
Easy Meeting: Family-The Affiliate Community-The Kin-dom of God – "Nothing can separate us from the love of God and nothing can separate us from each other. We are made in the image and likeness of God."
Family in Guatemala – "For me, family is... The people who love, care for and hug you a lot."
LA Chapter Reflects on Survey – "Being an Affiliate member... Is thinking outside of ourselves—out of our comfort zone."
Talking Points – "Being a Maryknoll Affiliate... Gives you the opportunity to rub elbows with veteran, lifelong missioners and draw on their wisdom."—Ken Eppes
FOSNA/Maryknoll Links – "Stand for truth and justice without violence. Resist evil without doing evil."—Naim Ateek
Book Group Suggestions – "I look forward to ‘seeing’ everyone each week.”—Gabriella Maertens
Welcome Home Party for Bertha – "Now, in her retirement, she spends about a month each year at the school..."
Option for the Poor in County Jails – "An estimated 30 percent of the debit cards holding released prisoners’ own money are never used and are completely consumed by the fees."
And don't miss our Features:
A poem: The Homeless
A book review: A Theology of Peace
Editor: After many years in mission in Oaxaca, Mexico, four former Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Mary Gill and Pat Denevan remain in Oaxaca, and Kathy and Phil Dahl-Bredine spend part of the year there. They all wrote in recent newsletters of the conflicts in Oaxaca. Mary and Pat provided this August 17th update.
Ninety-four days have passed since the teachers in Oaxaca began large-scale protests against the federal government’s “reform” of the educational system. The protesters in Nochixtlán (a city north of Oaxaca City) blocked a main highway to Oaxaca, which caused a huge traffic problem. The Federal Police came to forcibly remove the protesters, resulting in 11 persons being killed (in two locations). This action received international attention and strengthened the resolve of the protesters. The opposition to the Education Reform now includes not only the teachers but the parents of the school children. In Nochixtlán, the local town authorities, along with the rest of the Mixteca Region, have joined the protests and have led marches to the Zócalo in Mexico City. Protests are also happening in 22 other Mexican states.
Are you coming to MAC 2017 in Guatemala?
Regional Coordinators (RCs) in the US have been asked to survey the chapters in their region to find out how many members plan to attend and how many might attend. If you plan to attend, contact your RC to add your name to the list.
Watch for details about travel grants if you’d like to attend but will need assistance. Perhaps chapters could share the cost for a member to represent them.
This preliminary information will help the Guatemala MAC 2017 Committee make MAC 2017 a great experience for all involved.
Seeking Global Community is our Affiliate vision statement. “Seeking” might not be the perfect verb (up until a few years ago, it was “Creating,” but that seemed a touch grandiose). Nevertheless, global community was and is at the heart of our intention.
So, we ask if the world today is more unified or less unified than it was yesterday? Is there a sense, if still faint, that we are a part of a wondrous whole, an integral, connected global community? The evidence for and against this supposition is abundant.
Palm oil, an important export for Central and South American countries, is produced by large corporations. To increase production, the corporations buy land that has been privatized from indigenous communities. Increased production also requires massive amounts of water, for which dams and reservoirs must be built. These water projects destroy rivers and rob subsistence farms of irrigation water. Palm oil production practices have also contaminated water sources.
The conflicting interests of corporations, governments, indigenous people, and the very environment are being discussed in various forums, with Maryknollers at Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) and in Guatemala providing valuable insight into this issue.
Costansia Mbgoma hosted a gathering of the Maryknoll Affiliates of Mwanza, Tanzania at her home this July. US Affiliates may remember Costansia from the conferences she has attended and her time in San Francisco.
Six Mwanza Affiliates shared scripture reflections, food, and fellowship with guests Maryknoll Sister Celeste, Portland Affiliate Bertha Haas, and a Maryknoll Sisters candidate. Many of the Mwanza Affiliates are former students of the Maryknoll Sisters at Rosary College. They stay connected to the Sisters and their fellow students as a means of retaining their Maryknoll ideals and values in a society that often doesn’t share them. They attract many younger members, including men, who are attracted by Maryknoll spirituality and are called to see social needs and respond.
Ten members of the Korean Chapter gathered at the Maryknoll Sisters’ house in Seoul on June 11, 2016.
We began with a sharing on the Sunday readings for that week, as well as on our activities for the past month. There are many tragic issues in society these days, which demonstrate a lack of concern for others and a marginalization of many people. In particular, we spoke about criticism and indifference towards others, the inability in daily life to overcome prejudices, and the frustration that in such circumstances we are often unable to find the true way to respond. In addition, we reflected upon the reality of many women who suffer from social structures that continue to discriminate against women. The sharing was an opportunity to look at how we as believers can respond to the issues we are faced with.
We usually meet monthly, but due to summer vacations, our next meeting was on August 27, 2016 when we gathered for a day-long retreat.
While California Central Coast (CCC) Affiliates share a potluck meal, they talk of their passions and missions. Affiliate Joan Bogle worked with the Alzheimer Association and helped lobby for successful legislation that secured funding for related programs. By facilitating a small Alzheimer support group, she repaid the support she received when her husband was suffering with Alzheimers and she was his sole caregiver. Now she looks for ways to involve the Senior Adult Ministry of her parish in mission.
Joyce Miller’s passion is the Montessori preschool she and her husband founded 35 years ago. She was happy to hear that the Maryknoll Sisters in Tanzania were involved in a Montessori school. Over the years she and her husband have also helped raise thousands of dollars for Alpha, a right-to-life organization that counsels pregnant women and supports mothers.