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Showing posts from November, 2012

Reflections from Yangon

Seattle Maryknoll Affiliates Bill and Janie O'Dwyer reflect on their time volunteering in Myanmar (Burma)
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We flew to Yangon from Singapore on Oct. 29, 2012. Our visa allowed us to stay in Myanmar (Burma) for 28 days. Brother Lawrence Goh met us and we rode by taxi to the La Salle Brothers House located at the north end of InyaLake just off Parami Road. We had separate rooms in the Formation House with private bathroom and air conditioning. No hot water. We washed our clothes by hand. Internet access and TV were available in the Brothers House.
The Brothers House provides food and lodging for five La Salle Brothers and about 10 young men who attend La SalleCenter. Meals are served at 7am, noon and 7pm. Rice, vegetables and meat (beef, chicken or pork) are available at all meals. We often attended mass at nearby St. Joseph Major Seminary. Evening prayer is at 6:45pm. We had many enjoyable conversations with the brothers and enjoyed their hospitality.
We le…

Mission Here or There: Where is God Calling You to Serve?

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In speaking to a group of undergrads at a Catholic university recently about mission and Maryknoll, I mentioned my background teaching in low-income areas of the US, and then working at a non-profit serving families in the Seattle area.  I noted that it was a transition for me to begin working for Maryknoll, which works to promote the love, peace, and justice of God beyond our borders in some of the poorest nations in the world.  Having seen so much struggle within our national borders, I at first wondered what had called me to this new ministry.

I mentioned this only briefly, going on to explain how my faith has been enlivened by a sense of global awareness and by visiting with people in places like Guatemala and Haiti, as well as learning of the ways that Maryknollers and others live the Gospel throughout the world.  Later, though, one of the students asked me to talk more about the tension between addressing the needs of those in our own communities, regions, countries, etc., and a…

How Can I Share the Gift of Mission?

Recently, a woman in a diocesan ministry told me about traveling to Shanghai with her father when she was fifteen years old. She remembers waiting outside a market stall while her father conducted business. Suddenly, she felt a tug on her skirt and looked down to see an elderly woman begging. The woman, who suffered quite visibly from leprosy, was missing some of her fingers and even her nose. Terrified, the teenage girl ran. She did not mention the incident to her father or anyone else for many years. Now in middle age, she told me that she has spent the rest of her life asking, "What is my responsibility to people like that woman?"    

Having recently returned from Haiti, I find myself asking the same question. While there, I was overwhelmed not only by the poverty that people suffer, but also the strength and faith with which they face it. It was a true blessing to experience. Still, like many of you, I know that I am not called to live in Haiti, or Guatemala, or any othe…