December 25, 2012

Feliz Navidad

 Merry Christmas from Peru.  In typical fashion, the house has been cleaned, the turkey cooked, and the gifts opened.  I was on book cleaning duty with Maritza, a once a year task.  The gardens were tended, as it is summer here.  The turkeys were carried down the street to a bakery to be cooked.  We went to mass last night.  I mostly hummed along as many of the tunes were the same but the words were different.  After mass we returned for fruit salad (fresh mangoes, papayas, and canteloupe) and hot chocolate.  Delicious.  The fireworks hit their stride around midnight, but continued for many more hours. 

Christmas Dinner
This morning we went to mass together and came back for breakfast.  We had a great time opening presents--prayer books, cards, and chocolate.  I don´t know why everything is funnier here, but it is.  I´m sure it has lots to do with the language and the facial expressions of the characters here.  After breakfast we got right to work to prepare the big noon meal.  We had turkey, stuffing, potatoes, salad...the usual, with, of course, little Peruvian flavors included.  As you can see from the picture, there is a big group here, a number that will only increase as sisters return from visiting family and more sisters from the states arrive.

From left to right:  Pina, Irene, Sonya, Maria Perla, Sarah
After a little time for cleaning up and rest, a few of us walked through the park and a little market to browse the wares.  We took a bus to one of the plazas.  All of the statues were naked, so I learned a new word--desnudo.  I´m sure to need that one again.  Check out the picture; this is one of the only places where I will be the tallest in the picture.

As I said in the last post, I love having a bit more language, being able to share and ask more.  Last night at the airport, I got to hear from some of the sisters here a little about what it is like to be the first sister to enter after a gap--to share what that is like for me.  Right now, as I am typing, one of my sisters is preparing her program for her final vows in mid January.  Having just made my finals in December, we have talked about the process of getting here and what it means for each of us.  While we cleaned books, I heard about Maria Rubina´s last days here and the presence of her spirit now.  I have gotten to ask about the conversations that our sisters are having here about the future of our congregation and the hopes of our sisters in Peru in relation to their experiences.  I am excited for more mutual understanding and what it will mean for all of us as we live our futures together. 

It is also good for me to orient myself within my vocation as a young sister in the United States today.  When I was first thinking about becoming a CSJ, I was very aware that we had missions in Peru and thought maybe some day I would come to live.  However, now I recognize a very different call as a young sister in the United States.  I don´t know the full meaning of that call, but I do know it is something unique that I need to be in at this time.  So, at the end of my third day here, I am filled with many things.  I am hoping that others will share some experiences on the blog as the time here progresses, so, stay tuned.  

May the God who is incarnate fill you and each of your days with great love.


  1. Merry Christmas Sweetie! It was good to talk to you tonight and hear your voice...even with the crackles in the connection! Your day sounded wonderful. We will miss you being here tomorrow when we are all together at our house. We love and miss you! mom

  2. I can't wait to join you!!! Peace, Amy

  3. Gracias por las noticias. ¡Pavos para la Navidad! ¡Maravilloso!
    Diles a las hermanas que estoy emocionada por poder verlas pronto. Mientras tanto, goza tu tiempo allá.
    Con cariño
    Meri McG

  4. Hi, Sarah....
    We will miss you Saturday as we all gather. The Rosts, Jane and Leigh, the Dave Martins and the Poletes are here today as is Ryan's new fiance, Alyssa. They are playing games and having a ball. The Polete grandchildren are here also to play with Kimberly, Josh, Jacob and Mary Beth.
    Tomorrow we are going to the St George rectory in Hermann to see their Christmas decorations. A nice way to spend our 60th wedding anniversary.
    Have fun on your trip. It sounds great so far. We look forward anxiously to be with you again.
    Love and hugs............. grandpa and grandma

  5. Ah, Sarah Jane! Your message brought back some wonderful memories of my time with you, Andrea, Anne and so many others when we were in Peru. . . .laughter, a few tears, mild confusion, some pretty rough bus movies, delicious food, prayer and more laughter. . . . I am so very happy that you are there now and had your first Christmas in Peru--please greet the other Sisters there for me. I took Sandy to the plane this very morning so. . . .by the time you read this she may very well be in your midst.

    A blessed New Year, Sarah; what a wonderful way to start it off. I will bring this 2012 to an end by being in Kansas City to celebrate Dick's 50th Jubilee as a Redemptorist priest. . . good times for us all. God's Spirit is alive and well. Love, Pat

  6. Well, Sarah Jane, I will try again. I just wrote a rather long comment and lost it "by the way."

    Your shared comments brought back some wonderful memories for me of time spent with Anne, Andrea and you there in Peru. . . as you said, it was then (and again now for you) a trip of a lifetime. I will always be grateful for the opportunity. As I recall. . . lots of laughter, quiet (that is, "without speech" for me!), good food, wild and crazy bus movies, prayer, trips, confusion, fun and again, lots of laughter!

    How wonderful to have your Christmas with our Sisters there in Peru. I remember our trip to the cemetery. . . we would not have thought that dear Maria would be there the next time you visited. . . please greet all the Sisters there for me.

    As you begin your New Year there with our Sisters I will end this year of 2012 in Kansas City celebrating my brother Dick's 50th anniversary as a Redemptorist. . . adventures for us all, eh?

    Love to you, Sarah. Take good care. Love, Pat

  7. Hope your time in Peru continues to be an amazing experience for all of you as you gather to BE the congregation of the great love of God.

  8. Greetings from Hawaii! Haouli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!) As I read and reflected on your blog several thoughts came to mind:
    first of all, memories of my two trips to Peru and how I came away with such respect and hope for the future of our congregation and secondly, I wish I could master Spanish in order to tap into the wisdom of our Peruvian sisters. I know you all will be have, not only lots of fun and laughter, but on a deeper level you will have a bonding of the heart and spirit of who we are as sisters of St. Joseph. Please give my love to all. Eva

  9. So excited for the CSJ mission work, will pray for you and the Peruvians you mission to. Congrats again on your final vows!

  10. Am thinkng of you and all the others as you enjoy being with our Pervian Sisters along with many others gathered there. Will continue to pray for all of you as you gather for such quality conversations, prayers, meals and fun!!!

  11. It's great to revisit Peru via your stories and photos. I read all the captions to see who I knew. Enjoy. Joan Mitchell