Search Results for: Advent 2017

Read all blogs for the 2017 Advent blog series of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Advent Week 4: Praying for People Who Feel Isolated

December 21, 2017

By Sister Christine Kavanagh

The theme of our Advent 2017 blog series is “welcoming the stranger.” Please pray along with us! New reflections and art will be shared each Thursday throughout Advent. View the whole Advent 2017 blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Contemplation

 “Bullying,” art by Andrew, a client at ReFocus, Inc.

“Bullying,” art by Andrew, a client at ReFocus, Inc.

I have been privileged to minister with people with developmental disabilities for 45 years at ReFocus, Inc. I would like to share with you a story of a young man we support who has developmental disabilities, is transgendered and is a fabulous advocate for himself and the disability community. His name is Andrew, and this is his story in his own words.

5 years old: I know I am not like other girls. I just feel I’m very different, but I don’t really understand why.

11-14 years old: My body is changing. They call it puberty. I hate my body. The kids at school bully me. They call me awful names because I have trouble learning.

20 years old: I meet people online. I run away from home. They take advantage of me. I feel so alone.

Early 20s: I’m so depressed; I don’t want to live anymore. I don’t know anyone else who feels like I do. I am cutting myself to help ease the pain. I attempt suicide. I take pills. I end up in the psych ward of the hospital. The doctors find me a therapist. For the first time, I tell someone what I’m feeling. She understands.

24 years old: I meet many people who are like me. What a relief it is to know that I am not the only one who feels like I do. I meet people who are gay, lesbian, transgendered. I start to talk to my Mom and Dad again.

Today I am 37 years old. I am proud to be Andrew. I live in Shared Living with Kate and Kelly. They are so accepting and encouraging to me. I have a great life. I have friends. I am a Special Olympian and play several sports. I am who God made me to be. I know that is true. That is what God wants for me.

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Advent Week 3: Praying for Victims of Human Trafficking

December 14, 2017

By Sister Jeanne Christensen

The theme of our Advent 2017 blog series is “welcoming the stranger.” Please pray along with us! New reflections and art will be shared each Thursday throughout Advent. View the whole Advent 2017 blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Contemplation

“I Am Not for Sale,” art by Sister Mary Daly

“I Am Not for Sale,” art by Sister Mary Daly

When I think of Advent, three words come to mind: anticipation, waiting and savior. I am waiting with anticipation for the Savior to come.

  • Anticipation—excitement about or looking forward to something (usually good) that’s going to happen.
  • Waiting—staying in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something; to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon.
  • Savior—person who saves someone or something from a danger or harm; a person who saves, rescues or delivers.

When I think of someone who is trafficked, I can also think of these three words, but the context is so radically different that I am stunned.

Emma is a trafficking victim, an exploited child. Here’s her story as she tells it.   Read More »

Advent Week 2: Praying for Immigrants

December 7, 2017

By Daniela Rojas Florez and Dania Lisette Cervantes Ayala, College of Saint Mary

The theme of our Advent 2017 blog series is “welcoming the stranger.” Please pray along with us! New reflections and art will be shared each Thursday throughout Advent. View the whole Advent 2017 blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Contemplation

Art by Sister Marianne Hieb

Earthenware ceramic sculpture and acrylic painting by Sister Marianne Hieb

Daniela Rojas Florez, a staff member at College of Saint Mary (CSM), writes: “I remember standing before the immigration officer and thinking, how in the world is this ever going to work? Am I going to be arrested? The fear and uncertainty of being by myself in the most dangerous city in Mexico, plus the panic of not knowing if I would make it to see my family again, were all I could think about during my journey from Juarez to Kansas City to be reunited with my mother and sister.” Once Daniela made it into the United States, she faced other challenges. “I had to dive into an unknown culture, and learn a new language to be able to go through the most basic conversations. I learned to go through the challenges of a new education system and was able to graduate in the top percentage of my class. … Regardless of how good my grades were, I continued to face rejection and financial struggle because of my lack of legal status. It was through this disheartening and crushing process that I was able to find mercy through CSM’s mission.” Now a staff member at CSM, Daniela feels blessed to “invite other students to join a community full of compassion, love, and support.”   Read More »

La Sagrada Familia, by Kelly Latimore, Used with Permission

Advent Week 1: Praying for Families Displaced by Flooding

November 30, 2017

By Sisters Marielena McKenna and Roxana Contreras

The theme of our Advent 2017 blog series is “welcoming the stranger.” Please pray along with us! New reflections and art will be shared each Thursday throughout Advent. View the whole Advent 2017 blog series.

View and print this reflection as a PDF.

Contemplation

“Weeping for Mother Earth,” art by Sister Corlita Bonnarens

“Weeping for Mother Earth,” art by Sister Corlita Bonnarens

Many people know of the drama that the people of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have lived due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We who live in Peru also had a flooding disaster when, due to climate change, we had rains from the end of January until June 2017. It rained every day from 4 p.m. until 6 a.m.—not a soft rain, but downpours.

As Sisters of Mercy we were so blessed to be able to assist our neighbors who lost so much—distributing food and water, accepting and sorting donations. The pain of seeing so many people lose their farms, their only source of income, due to the change of the river’s course was outweighed by the solidarity of so many people.

Although it is very hard to see people lose almost everything, we also saw a glimpse of what the Beatitudes mean: “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:3). Imagine a family that lives in one big room made of mud and sticks, and that room falls down. Wouldn’t you expect them to be depressed? Instead, using donated building materials, the families got to work and with great pride are showing off their new rooms. In one family the father showed us the dirt floor where he and his wife sleep so that their children can sleep in lean-to. He was grateful to be able to care for his children.   Read More »