April 26, 2013
Mystics & Prophets: Beguines Old and New: The world's last Beguine died in Flanders on April 14, 2013. The movement lasted nearly one thousand years. See a report on this ...
April 12, 2013
February 23, 2013
January 04, 2013
"Contemplating the Dear Neighbor" is not going to be a day that is easy to explain. We went by bus this morning to Canto Chico, a neighborhood outside of the central part of Lima. Little by little, Peruvians coming to Lima have widened the city's borders. These new settlements are called "invasions." The people claim a plot of land, plant a Peruvian flag, and begin their new home. The homes begin as huts made of straw mats and are built of something more substantial one room at a time as money allows. In the background of the picture below, taken from the roof of our formation house in Canto Chico, one can see the tiny, one room beginnings of someone's dream home being built on the hill. The homes at the front of the picture most likely began like that years ago.
|Canto Chico from the roof of the formation house|
Notice the rebar protruding from the roofs of many of the homes. One of our sisters said these are signs of hope; they are a sign that the family hopes one day to build another floor.
|Jill, Nancy, Agrepina, and Sarah visit with some|
of our dear neighbors
Our sisters took us in small groups to visit families that they have gotten to know living in the formation house during their time as novices. The sisters, although no longer novices, continue to return to the neighborhood to tutor, to visit with families, etc. The families welcomed us with great generosity into their homes where they shared their stories and often a bit of something to eat with us. They are a people very creative in their survival and very strong in their faith.
We reflected today as we shared around the realities of all of our ministries, that while we serve the dear neighbor, it is actually they who serve us in all that they teach us and all that they call us to be and to do. One group shared that the neighbor with whom they were visiting said to them, "Pardon my poverty." The group said that their response should have been, "No, pardon our wealth." We asked ourselves, what would it be like to welcome these families into our homes, our lives?
I wrote a poem during some silent reflection time about the experience in Canto Chico, about the experience of the poor, and, really, about the dreams of each of us:
They'll take the land that no one wants
and build their hopes there.
The grand dream but a sliding dirt mound,
becomes a straw mat hut,
a room, one at a time.
sometimes actually building
into reality what wasn't before,
but what could be.
|The sisters watching enjoying the dancing of one of another dear|
neighbor, 12 year old Liz, who might one day make a great
Sister of St. Joseph
Sister Mary Luz shares this around some of her reflections of our time: Somos mujeres embarazadas de Dios, de nuestra cultura y todo lo que brota de esa experiencia es nuestra Identidad como mujeres, como religiosas, como iglesia. Que somos diferentes y desde esa diferencia puesta en comun es una riqueza que brota para vivir en comunion respetandonos unas a otras. Una de los desafios que encuentro es conocernos mas escribirnos mantener comunicacion con cada una para crecer en vinculos.
My translation: We are women pregnant with God, with our cultures, and everything that flows from our experience is our identity as women, as religious, as church. We are different, and from this difference is a commonality that is welling up to live in communion and respect with each other. One of the challenges that I find is to write and maintain communication with each other and grow the bonds between us.
It has been an amazing experience to be here with peers, sharing, learning, growing together. We have many questions about how we will carry this experience, how we will continue to build relationships, and how we can continue being the "Congregation of the Great Love of God" for and with the dear neighbor and all of creation.
|Yoli, Lucia, and Amy doing a Japanese dance|
done by fishermen.
Lest you think the day was all seriousness, we found time for some Japanese dance and even an evening of Bingo both led by our Japanese sister Lucia.
January 03, 2013
Thirty-one of the youngest Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have gathered at the St. Rose of Lima Retreat Center in Lima, Peru to share who we are and how we want to be together as the future unfolds. Many sisters spoke of the initial concern around the language barriers among us; we have sisters speaking English, Japanese, and Spanish, and for many of our Spanish-speaking sisters, Spanish is actually their second language. We have been happy to discover that the language has not been the problem many expected. The seven sisters acting as translators as well as the personal headsets are a great help, but, as one sister put it today, "We actually speak the same language--the language of the great love of God and the dear neighbor is the same in any language."
The day's focus was around the question, "Who are We?" In the morning, we shared about our families, our cultures, our customs as individuals and around the assumptions we held around those same items about one another and how we are challenged in those assumptions. The afternoon led us to share around the common values we hold and that hold us as Sisters of St. Joseph, values including hospitality, service, prayer, simplicity, and communion among others.
|"Seeding Our Future" participants.|
|Felicita, Maria Elena, Sonia, and Nancy teaching native dances. |
This photo doesn't show the rest of us dancing with them in the audience.
Deanine Medina (LA) shares of the day: "I had a great time today getting to know our Peruvian sisters. The powerpoint packed with personal photos was better than a thousand words! There are no language barriers when we share ourselves and our families."
|Agrepina created the image for our gathering. The ambiance is amazing!|
Jill Underdahl (SP) writes: "The values we hold as CSJs are manifest in word and action among the gathered: inclusion, mutuality, hospitality, and care for those on the margins of church and society. It is a positive experience of seeking and finding understanding and building relationships."