Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prayer for Haiti

Encompass us beneath the precious veil of your protection
And deliver us from every form of evil
By entreating Christ, your Son and our God That He may save our souls.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Missionaries of Charity in Haiti

Update: All of the MC sisters in Haiti are safe - there's no more detail than that in the story.Below is an e-mail I received concerning them, by way of the Lay Missionaries of Charity in Miami:

"...the Haiti Sisters and Brothers are well in the Capital. No news from the 7 houses in the interior of the island. One of the Sisters houses was flatten completely, it was the newest House. Another MC house( Sanfield) was not damaged but is in a slope area, so very dangerous to be in, so they were instructed to get out. The Regional House (Delmas) has some damage where some walls completely fell, etc., so they have orders to stay outside of their house, but inside the compound which is fenced. They are taking care of their terminal infants and children from outdoors, giving IV's, etc. All the Superiors and Senior Sisters from Haiti, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Croix and Jamaica were there at a Retreat when all happened. So the Superiors of the Haiti Houses were not at their Houses and have not been able to return. The Sisters from the other 2 Houses in the Capital were on their way trying to get to the Regional House in Delmas so that all would be together, homeless.!! I just got informed that they arrived safely. Thanks be to God, they are alive. The people there are hungry and desperate and riots are happening, which makes it very dangerous. It was very dangerous before, so I can imagine now. I have been there with the Sisters 2 or 3 times and have experience the horrible situation that exists. You also read Father Sebastian's letter about his recent trip to Haiti. My heart goes with them at this tragic time. S. Nirmala MC [the previous Superior General of the order] is trying to go to Haiti now. She would need military escort because of the riots, as I was informed. Anyway the Sisters are asking for many prayers... I sent emails to all my Spanish groups and prayers and sacrifices already started. Please, do the same with your groups so that we...can pray together...."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ni hao

Five years ago today, I was just returning from China. I'd gone over there an idealistic college graduate, newly emerged from the Steubenville bubble and ready to take on The World. I lasted, an English teacher with only a native understanding of her subject, for five months. That idealism of mine must have been seized at US Customs, because I never did see it again: my return was the last in a string of decisions I am still less than proud of. I could have done far better than I did; I didn't; there's little else to say.

And yet, failures and all, part of me will always be Chinese. I'll always refer to we foreign teachers as the "foreign teachers". I'll always have a respect for Buddhism that I never had before trekking up to that monastery in its alcove on the mountainside, sheltered from the noise of the city below. I'll always smile when I see Chinese women on the street, with their distinctive take on Western clothing. When in DC, I'll always be drawn to the one really authentic Chinese restaurant I know of, to sit and fumble with my chopsticks and soak in its stripped-down atmosphere and minimalist service with its echoes of "home". It's not so much that we take with us the places we visit, as that we leave part of ourselves. We leave the person we became in that place, the actions and choices and daily patterns of life that will never make sense in another context. We are strangers and sojourners, some of us more obviously than others, but the very journeying leaves us incomplete.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Confessional Silence

No fun, being Zech'rias is
My larynx gripped by an iron band.
'Twas priest and penitent, pen in hand
Bound by our diff'rent silences.

Face of Christ for we poor fools
Father waits, his newspaper a loss
Till I, writing slowly, slide across
My ruled list of willfully, knowingly broken rules.

Contrition - mute, easily missed;
Penance and absolution given
In older terms, I've just been shriven.
Then Ador---I still have the list!

Pieces sift down amidst old trash
To be cast aside, unregarded
My sins - listed, torn up, discarded
Unrecycled scraps of the past.