Recently, a colleague and I had the opportunity to attend the Northern California Faith Formation Conference “Cultivating Disciples”. We arrived with ample materials to share our message of the mission of Maryknoll with the conference attendees. As the second day was coming to a close, we decided that we were going to try and get as many of the magazines we had left into the hands of those that passed our booth. So, we each filled our hands with copies and as people hurried past us to the last session asked them “English or Español?” and offered them a magazine. We asked them to do two things, read it and share it.
A woman approached us pulling a full bag on wheels behind her. The convention center host site was a large venue and people had to move quickly to make it to their destinations in a timely manner. This woman was moving at a rapid, determined pace with her high heels clicking a rhythm en route to the end of her day. We greeted her as the other attendees with the same invitation and extended our hands with the magazine. Her eyes went wide with surprise and wonder, she put her hand to her head and said “Oh my gosh! Maryknoll magazine! My nonna used to get this! I remember sitting on the front steps and just flipping the pages and looking at the pictures before I could read. When I was older, I would read to my nonna in the kitchen while she made gnocchi. Oh my gosh! I know Maryknoll!”
At that moment, this woman was transported back to a memory with her family and those moments when she began to learn about mission. She wasn’t even going to go past our booth, but she believes she was guided there through divine intervention. Before she hurried off to her last session of the day, she signed up to receive the magazine in her house, took a copy for each of the teachers in her school and as the DRE signed up for the classroom program for all of her students in her parish.Sharing those last few magazines made our boxes to carry much lighter, but ending the day with this joyful memory lifted us all.
Marie Lawler is a Maryknoll Mission Animator and Educator stationed in the San Francisco.