Guest blogger: Sarah Hennessey, FSPA

We have entered the holy time of the O Antiphons.  Like a mysterious extra holiday something is special and different today.  Expectation is heightened.  The glory is near.

For you, O lord, my soul in stillness waits.

My soul may be still, but the world is not.  The chaos only seems to grow.  A parishioner shared this morning that it is hard to enter the joy of Christmas with so much sorrow and tragedy in the world.

I am holding an image in my heart that speaks to me of persistent hope in this darkness—freshly washed hair neatly combed and a crisp clean dress.

I returned yesterday from 10 days in a rural province in Bolivia.  With several of my FSPA sisters I went to present a retreat on Franciscan love and humility to 24 Bolivian and Austrian sisters.  My heart was stretched and the world became wider as I entered into their rhythm of life in the Bolivian jungle.  Every night we gathered in the church for mass.   Twenty-two altar servers assisted the priest in perfect precision.  Teenagers played the violin and guitar and drums with great joy.  And everywhere there were children.   This is the Bolivian daily mass where children come with consistency to practice their faith.

Bolivian village. photo by Jean Moore, FSPA
Bolivian village. photo by Jean Moore, FSPA

Every child was prepared for church.  Every head of hair was freshly cleaned and smoothly combed.  Every face scrubbed and every shirt clean and pressed.  I noticed it even more because it was 95 degrees out, hot and sticky, and I felt like a mess.    Sr. Janeira pointed out to me that many of the children have no running water in their homes and no washing machine except for the river.  The chaos of daily life in a remote village in the jungle could not stop them from preparing to be in the presence of Jesus.

This is the indomitable Advent spirit.  Jesus is the good news and we are getting ready!

1 comment
  1. I appreciated the details about daily Mass in Bolivia. It certainly speaks of a great commitment on the part of the women in preparing their children. I’m so glad you could have this experience and share your wisdom, too.