I’m back in Nicaragua for a few days before betaking myself, along with over 100 other Sisters of St. Joseph, to Argentina where we’ll spend two weeks together. All of us are involved in ministry in Latin America or the Caribbean area. This ‘encuentro’ occurs every 5 years in a different country.
While I was home for our annual Assembly I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of young folks in Royal Oak. They are students at Shrine Catholic Academy and High School. It wasn’t the best of times…it was 8:30 in the morning on a Monday…the day after the final presentation of their annual play!! Need I say more? I had been so informed, in case I noted nodding heads. Also, the Spanish students had to leave at a given moment in order to take a computerized test. However, all that being said, it was a wonderful experience for this woman who has not taught junior or senior high students since 1972! They were attentive, asked intelligent and thought provoking questions and were enjoyable to spend time with. They had been carrying out projects and collecting money for our ‘pregnant cow’ program during Lent. They raised $940.00 which will comfortably purchase cows for 2 families. We are grateful for their generosity, interest and hard work, to say the least!
More than introducing them to the country and people of Nicaragua, I wanted to share some of my passion for ministry with our sisters and brothers who are less fortunate than ourselves in the realm of economics and opportunities enabling them to have a decent, respectable and healthy life. I had no desire to make them feel guilty about what they have but rather wanted to encourage them to examine and act upon the numerous opportunities available to them as they begin to form their plans for their careers, their futures. No one of us is created for ourselves alone. We are a significant part of this small, global village and have a responsibility to make this world a better place for our sisters and brothers of whatever land or clime. And so, I asked them to explore their options for experiences in other countries…not the developed lands…but the large majority of our earth where folks do not have enough to eat or safe water to drink, where they don’t have quality education – or basic education - provided for them, where they don’t have the luxury to dream of a future that’s hopefully going to come somewhere close to those dreams.
Such an experience will leave them much more aware and help to round out their plans. No, I don’t expect folks to come to Latin America en masse. However, by leaving oneself open to the experience attitudes are altered and formed and decisions can be made based on a broader perspective, a bigger picture of who we are and what we are called to do during our ‘one, wild and precious life’ in Mary Oliver’s words.
Photo: Courtesy of Wiki Commons