The latest news about the Maryknoll Affiliates
“…send down your grace upon us as we enter the Vasquez home. Help us realize that this is not just a house, but rather the home where their family ate their meals together, raised their children, spent holidays together and told stories to each other…” *
At the invitation of Houston Chapter members, eleven Affiliates from throughout the country came together in Brazoria, TX (about 1 ½ hours south of Houston) for a week of mission to help restore a home very seriously compromised by flood waters around the time of Hurricane Harvey in the summer of 2017. Countless elements had to fall into place in order to pull off such an ambitious undertaking – skill levels, personality styles, energy levels, the right tools, faith commitment, etc. Looking back on our time together, all exuberantly agreed that they did. Thank you, Houston Chapter!!
The work site - FEMA paid to have this 1962 mobile home raised some 3 ½ feet off the ground post flood. To say the home was seriously compromised or a fixer-upper, would be a gross understatement. It was a shell of a house with floors, walls, plumbing and electric (essentially everything) barely, if at all existent.
The crew (Mrs. Vasquez in red. Dick Nortsman, very active member of the crew had to leave early to teach his college class) – we were a senior workforce. Senior here is a reference to age, not long-standing ability. No one was under 60 and for a couple, 80 was just over a very small hill. Skill levels ranged from a former licensed contractor to those who might, on a good day, be able to distinguish a flathead screwdriver from a Phillips. The psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihalyi (author of Flow) wrote that, “It is not the skills we actually have that determine how we feel but the ones we think we have.” In truth, our foreman, Bob Kleeman kept us focused and on track (a euphemism for drove us hard 8 – 9 hours each day) so that by the end of the week, all the floors were down, sheetrock up, electrical in good functioning order, windows spiffy clean and the yard in much better shape. Throughout, levels of cooperation and mutual respect never left us. Small amounts of blood did, but, amazingly, there was nothing close to a significant injury.
The community – equally as wonderful as working together on the house was the sense of solidarity and mutual commitment during prayer and liturgy each morning and evening led by Fr. Gerry Kelly MM, and the heartfelt camaraderie during and around meals. Ruth Kleeman purchased the food and planned & prepared all the meals. Judy Norstman quietly supplied all the linens and had the rooms all ready when we arrived. I think it’s fair to say that all the 4 Affiliate pillars (community, spirituality, action and global vision) were present during this sacred adventure. If global vision might seem like a a stretch here, remember that for those of us outside of Houston (CA, NJ, FL & CT) Texas was a culture unto itself.
Going forward (Our "foreman" Bob Kleeman with Mrs. Vasquez) – This was such a life-giving experience that we all wondered if something similar, if less ambitious, might be duplicated in other chapters, other areas. While it's never possible to capture the breadth and depth of feelings that all of us experienced on this mission, it is clear that such experiences truly advance the Affiliate movement. Something to seriously think about. Again, thank you Houston!!
* Line taken from a prayer originally composed by Matt Rousso of the New Orleans Chapter.
The Houston Chapter Mission to repair and restore houses partially destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in the summer of 2017, begins this week. Affiliates and Father Gerry Kelly from the Houston Chapter as well as several more Affiliates from throughout the US will join in. Please keep them and the people there in your thoughts.
Affiliate Board member, Ginny McEvoy, along with the members of the Long Island Chapter of which she is a part, have helped all of us to find ways to honor and celebrate the lives of Affiliates who have passed on. With Ginny’s encouragement (push might be more accurate) we plan to add a new section to the website that will address this.
It is not meant to be an obituary column. Websites rarely if ever include that. But, it will be a way to celebrate the lives our fellow Affiliates. So, in the months and years ahead, please let Bob Short know of anyone who has died in your chapter. If possible, provide a photo and brief write-up of the contributions s/he has made to mission.
The photos herein are of Jack Connell and Margaret Meehan - both from the Subway Chapter, who died within a few months of each other in late summer and early fall 2018.
¿QUÉ ENCONTRARÁ EN ESTA EDICIÓN? QUIÉNES SOMOS
Invitación de No Tan Lejos del Horizonte para el 2018
Por sus frutos los conocerán
AMÉRICA LATINA: HECHOS Y DESAFÍOS
América Latina defendiendo derechos
EL BUEN VIVIR
Oramos con el papa Francisco por el cuidado de la creación
POR UNA VIDA DIGNA
Historia de la creación de la cooperativa ACOMUJERZA
MARYKNOLLERS EN ACCIÓN
Canonización de Monseñor Romero
Bodas de Oro de Teruko Ito
Solidaridad ante la emergencia en Guatemala
Retiro-reunión Consejo de Afiliados Maryknoll y coordinadores regionales
The identity question was one of the areas for discussion during the Affiliate Joint Retreat/Meeting last week. Both for individuals and for a collective group, defining one's essential identity can be illusive.
As individuals we often define ourselves via gender, race, nationality, age, work, geography, economic status and so many other ego identifiers. Of this approach, Rabbi Rami Sharpiro wrote: “… all my suffering is rooted in mistaking my limited and labeled self (male, Jewish, white, American) as my truest Self. I can, with practice, shift my awareness from that limited egoic self to the infinite divine Self that is all Reality.” That seems much closer to our core identity in God.
Similarly, for our collective Maryknoll Affiliate identity, we sometimes begin by describing our organizational structure, historical development or a quantitative listing of chapters and members. While important and good, they don’t really get at the vital spirit of who we are. Our four pillars (Community, Spirituality, Global Vision & Action) along with our connection to the Maryknoll charism get much closer. It’s probably even true to say that whenever with other Maryknollers, there is a felt sense of who we are, of being at home.
Finally, a quote from the Liberation theologian Jon Soprino SJ, might be the one most Maryknollers can relate to. He said, “You ask, ‘Who are you?’…It would be better to ask the crucified people. They know who we are, who I am – an answer that is not far from another traditional reply: God knows us better than we know ourselves.” I sometimes wonder if only those from the North and the economically advantaged have the need to ask identity questions. If the answer (lived and spoken) is inauthentic and heavily colored with ego, the crucified people will spot it right away.
The Affiliate Regional Coordinators (RCs) and Affiliate Board met for a Retreat/Meeting from October 18 - 21, 2018 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. The Contemplative retreat, utilizing Theory-U as a framework for the process (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMJefS7s3lc.) It was a very different way to approach goals and objectives wherein heart learning becomes at least as important (and operative) as what we would normally do in our heads. More will follow in the months ahead on the realized learnings and outcomes. In the end, all present agreed that it was an especially positive and meaningful 4 days together.
This was also a time when Dave Schaffner completed his time as Board Chair. Saturday evening was set aside as a time to express our deep appreciation for all Dave has done for the Affiliate Movement over more than six years as Board member and, in the last few years, Board Chair. Rich Lessard (1st photo - back row - last person on right) was chosen as our new Board Chair. Rich is presently in his second term on the Board and, along with his insight and passion for the Affiliate movement, has already in those years made major contributions.
The letter that follows was written by Karen Bortvedt, Recruitment Manager for MKLM. It's a wonderful invitation for all expressions within the Maryknoll Family. Karen mentioned in a subsequent email that his includes events at the chapter level. See Karen's contact information below.
Greeting my Maryknoll Collaborators,
I hope you are all doing well. As a part of my job, I attempt to keep up the discernment section of our MKLM website. My hope, going forward, is to include a section with “Other Maryknoll Opportunities” as our discerners are around the country and we would love them to connect with your programing and opportunities around the country. Since we are all a part of the Maryknoll family, involvement with your events will help them to understand who we are and serve as a kind of formation (before we even get an application).
This is my ask, if you have events, training programs, retreats, speaker series, advocacy opportunities, or anything else you think could use some promotion that has a specific date, please send me a link (or PDF of the information) and a one to three sentence summary that I can just copy and paste to a website. Please also feel free to share this with others on your team/staff so they can send along opportunities as well.
I will do my best to get events sent to me posted weekly, though have mercy if that doesn’t always happen. As soon as I have the page live, I can send you the link as well if you would want to reshare it in anyway.
You can reach Karen at:
THANK YOU KAREN
The Maryknoll Affiliate Board Meeting of October 18-21 will include a contemplative retreat that will focus on discerning the future course of the Maryknoll Affiliates. We are hopeful that this will be a special time of inspiration for the Affiliate Board and the Regional Coordinators, as we open our minds, hearts, and wills to God’s movement within each of us. We ask each of you to join us in praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we meet and discern together. We thank you in advance for your prayerful support.
Ad Hoc Committee (Rosa Beatriz Castaneda de Larios, Rich Lessard, John Moritz, Mary Moritz, and Bob Short)
This article is taken from the website page of the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns (MOGC). MOGC is an incredibly valuable resource within the Maryknoll family. If you haven't yet visited their website, you can do so at: https://maryknollogc.org/
Please also keep in your thoughts and prayers, Gerry Lee, MOGC's Executive Director who, along with his family was a Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Gerry was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He and his wife Patty, also diagnosed with a serious health concern, are wonderful, deeply committed people.
Immigration: Families are still separated Yvonne Dilling, Mission Educator for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in San Antonio, Texas, recently volunteered to provide hospitality for a mother and son from Honduras who were reunited after having been separately detained by the U.S. government as part of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The following article was published in the September-October 2018 issue of NewsNotes.
At the height of the family separation crisis on the Southern border this summer, before judges had forced the Trump administration to suspend the cruelest tactic of its ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, Border Patrol agents pulled an eight-year-old Honduran boy away from his mother so they could prosecute her as a criminal, sending the boy alone into a parallel detention system with no plan or method to reunite mother and son.
Second Report from the Volcano Appeal Committee
Three months after the eruption of the Volcán de Fuego (Fire Volcano), survivors of the catastrophe have taught us to open our hearts to Joy, since in spite of the sadness and uncertainty that they live every day.
¡Their life is full of hope!
When they receive help from the donations that were sent by the Maryknoll family, friends, U.S. friends.
These are the words expressed by them: God Bless you always, thank you very much! I appreciate what you have done for my family!
Below we explain how your donations have been used and how we shall continue to respond to the needs of the people.
If you have been considering the Houston Mission Trip - See: http://maryknollaffiliates.org/news/recent-postings/item/1810-houston-a-week-in-mission.html ...
Friday, October 12th is the last day to sign up. To date, 12 have committed to this week in mission - NOTE, if you are unable to come for the entire week, you may choose to participate for a shorter time. In addition to the service project - helping to restore housing for those who still have not recovered from Hurricane Harvey, it will be a time of reflection, meals together and camaraderie.
On September 16th the 8 remaining Maryknoll Sisters from the group of 1968 gathered in the Sisters’ chapel to celebrate their Golden Jubilee, 50 years of making God’s Love Visible. Sr. Teruko Ito MM, one of that group as well as member of the Sisters’ Governing Board and the Affiliate Board, gave the homily. Teruko’s words – for the loving way she spoke about those in her group and especially for the depth of insight into the journey they (all of us) are on - became for so many at the Jubilee Mass (including me) a pivotal moment in time. She helped all of us get a contemplative glimpse into an evolving consciousness that sometimes eludes us.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
We heard a call “Come follow me!” And we began our journeying of becoming WE.
I was in Japan, raised in a home of several religious traditions, Catholicism, Buddhism and Shintoism! Prior to the Vatican Council II, this mix was not an easy one. Religious boundary line was very clear and thick and separated who was saved and who was not. But my mother believed in more flexible boundary. And I was nurtured in the spirit of becoming WE as one family.
In taking a long loving gaze at each other, we were led to accepting each other’s wounds. Tear-filled embrace between the two followed. And what emerged was our yes to brake the boundaries created by national and historical domination. We were awakened to the fact that we are truly One , truly WE.
In the past 50 years we crossed over many cultures and seemingly succeeded in becoming We, but deep in our hearts we felt a sense of limitation. And this sense of limitation became very clear by a contrasting sense of expansiveness of our world by developing sciences. The beautiful picture of Earthrise taken by the Apollo 8 Astronauts and subsequent picture of earth as Blue dot spoke our smallness to so many people. In these pictures we saw a call to expand and move our understanding of WE beyond human-centered to cosmic-centered We. A book, Divine Milieu, by Teilhard de Chardin, a geologist and paleontologist, came out in English in 1960 and his message helped our minds and hearts to expand, leading towards a highlighted new horizon. He called our attention to a delight in scientific discoveries, joy of human development, and the universe evolving in the unconditional love. We were beginning to hold the message of science and the insight from the wisdom of the indigenous people. The conversation between religion and science was helping to break another boundary of right and wrong. And all along we had been guided by different life styles and world visions of those people, especially indigenous people, to whom we were sent. They are calling us to shift our mission model of human development based on economic sustainability to a mission of co-creation towards a regenerative culture.
We are grateful for scientific discoveries and wisdom of the indigenous people.
It was in 2006 Maryknoll Sisters made a public choice to turn to the new relationship, and accepted and proclaimed the Maryknoll Sisters Land Ethic. It broke open a key boundary between human and other living beings in becoming WE with the land, the Mother Earth.
The old lines - national, ethnic, religious -are no longer true to our experience. We are in age of boundary meltdown. We are becoming global human beings who understand that we are not separate from one another or from the earth -who understand that there are no lines. It will take time for us to catch up with this new reality, but it’s already here - whether we like it or not.”
We are grateful for our trials, temptations and desert in our lives.
50 years ago, Thomas Merton said at Calcutta conference, shortly before his tragic death: “My dear friends, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.”
With grateful heart for all those who taught us about Oneness, and who awakened us to that Oneness, let us come together to this Eucharist, the Open Table and celebrate our Yes to continue our journey of becoming One.
* Ann, also a member of the 68 class, was a recent member of the Affiliate Board
John and Mary Moritz are members of the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Chapter as well as Regional Coordinators for the Southeast Region. John is an avid reader (particularly of Orbis Books) and periodically provides this review of books from Orbis. (Bob Short)
Is not an original thought, but continues and develops theological systems that link back to popular theologians from the 1980’s like Matthew Fox and the concept of original blessing. His developments focus on the economic and political world that we live in as a consequence of the process of land acquisition and distribution beginning with the agricultural revolution about 10,000 BCE when we began to settle from being hunter-gatherers to farming as a staple of food source. The author enumerates seven strategic alternatives to his list of those things that have corrupted or coopted human creativity. I am forced to wonder after reading them what would really push him into saying something positive. Like so many of us, he lives in the benefit of those things that he would decry. I would place this offering along with its author in the category of prophetic witness of the half empty variety who has yet to discover an adequate means of being filled.
This is a book that is best consumed in small quantities. The book is a compilation of, as the title suggests, sermons delivered by this very talented and soul filled preacher. While they have a distinct style of the period in which they were presented (the 1950’s) these reflections evoke both self-examination and experience of the presence of God, expressed in the life and message of Jesus. His writing quickly moves the reader from the religion of the center to the quite dangerous Gospel of the periphery. This is a book that I plan to put on my bookshelf and pull out again for Lent.
A sister of Saint Joseph, the author uses anecdote and story to vividly portray the deep spirituality and theological insight of one who has lived as well as studied the Christian message. What I like most about this book, was the facility with which she was able to move from Karl Rahner to Oscar Romero, from Pema Chodron to John of the Cross. Her considerations about Eucharist are well worth our time and attention. It seems to me, that this is a person who has well integrated the best of our tradition with an engaging zest for the world she inhabits.
This is the apostolic Exhortation on the universal call to holiness that is worth purchasing for the introduction by Orbis Editor Robert Ellsberg. At a time when we all feel the pain of discord within our Church, this is a read that will say “Yes” to those so ready to be the voice of no. We all want to rejoice and be glad, Pope Francis reminds of why this is our mission call.
Written by the long-time chaplain of the Sing Sing prison near Maryknoll, NY, tells the stories of his “parish” life. Stories of joy and pain, describe humanity at its worst and best. Within the broken criminal justice system, Fr. Lemmert portrays a picture of hope born of forgiveness, reconciliation and liberation from the hell of addiction, and violence. This “parish” gives flesh to Pope Francis’ description of “field hospital” as the paradigm for our communities.
This book is the compilation of lectures given by the author at the University of Birmingham, UK. A serious scholarly endeavor, Phan nevertheless, injects this work with his personal life experience as a Vietnamese immigrant to the U.S. For those who have not spent a lot of time investigating Asian spirituality and religion, this book gives a broad introduction to a world that is completely foreign to American attitudes and values. When I read this author, I begin to have some concept of what we Affiliates refer to as the pillar of global awareness.
An opportunity to spend a week with fellow-Maryknoll Affiliates in prayer, reflection, comaraderie, and service to the poorest of the poor. A week in Mission!
If you are thinking of joining other Affiliates in Houston, please contact Dick or Bob (emails below) to register or for further information. The number of participants is limited to 24
Sponsored By – Houston Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter
When – Sunday, November 11, to Saturday, November 17
Where – Brazoria County, Texas (just South of Houston)
FURTHER INFORMATION (repeated from previous post):
Tools – Will be provided (unless you are driving, then bring them if you have them)
What to Bring – Clothes (including work clothes), toiletries and towels
Weather – average high in November is 74 and average low 52
Capacity – 24 missioners – The Cameron House has six suites; each suite has two rooms, a full bath, and four single beds