The translation for the hanging, which is a representation of the previous gatherings in 1991, 1995, 2000, and 2005 (northern Brazil , Mexico, southern Brazil, Peru) starting from our roots in LePuy, France, in 1650. "Extending our Nets We Weave Unity".
"I'm the easiest to spot..'happy jacket' standing on extreme left...Marie Hogan, topmost 'head only' in back row...Dianne Fanguy, sitting a little left of center with bright pink shirt....Kathy McCluskey, to my left. Jan must have been elsewhere at the time of the photo. The two Haitian sisters seem to have 'not received the translation' and three others had betaken themselves to Toronto, Rome and Philadelphia! So much for large group photos!!"
We returned from the two week gathering of 101 CSJs who minister in Latin America and the Caribbean, on Thursday evening after nine hours of flight time and a there hour time difference. Arriving at 7:30pm (really 10:30pm in Buenos Aires) gave us some extra time to sleep, eventually. It was good to be home but the gathering, sharing and enjoying of so many of our sisters – fifteen different countries represented and nineteen different congregations of CSJs – were indeed gifts and very enriching. We ranged in age from the ‘early 30’s’ to the ‘over 80’s’. Youth and energy, mixed with wisdom and experience, was a wonderful blend! Spanish (at least two versions), Portuguese, Creole (spoken in Haiti), French and English were the languages you could hear at any one moment. Translators were kept ‘on their toes’ to keep everyone understanding. One connection was translating from Spanish or Portuguese to English and then into Creole!
We were blessed to have four of our sisters – two Haitians, one Canadian (English speaker), one Canadian (French speaker) - present so that we could enter somewhat into their experience of the earthquake and this time of reconstruction and healing. We also had among us, three from Chile who had experienced the earthquake there. These natural disasters take on a different feel when you hear first hand of the trauma and suffering along with the resilience of the people. Needless to say, we now feel much more connected and interconnected.
We had two days when we visited some of the ministry sites of our Argentinian sisters. They are connected with so many wonderful ministries with the very poor….yes, there is poverty in Argentina in spite of the fact that it more resembles a European country rather than a typical South American one. We also had some time to see parts of Buenos Aires and to spend time on their rivers that lead into their capital and then flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
Our time with our own congregation prior to the international experience was also very enjoyable. There were about four hundred of us gathered in Chicago right after Easter….so resurrection joy continued on as we met and shared and planned for our future together. There were opportunities to see some family members during this time and that’s always a joy.
Now, it’s back to ministry in Nica land. It will be good to see co-workers once again and get caught up on Nicaraguan life during the past month. I’ll check in again in a couple of weeks. Thanks for following the journey of this itinerant woman!
Peace within and without, at home and abroad and throughout our universe….that’s a big order but attainable if we each do our piece of peace-making.