This Advent, may we make room

Months ago, while my mind and heart were whirling after moving from rural Wisconsin to Chicago, I attempted to run a simple and quick errand: buy some shampoo. Another sister went with me, and we carried along a short list of things we needed for our new household. At the store, we found little ofContinue reading “This Advent, may we make room”

On parenting, poverty, and privilege

It’s been two months since our family abruptly said goodbye to the mission we were serving in Honduras. We left because our five-year-old daughter came down with dengue fever, a nasty mosquito-borne illness that becomes even nastier if contracted a second time. In someone who has already had the illness, a second exposure can resultContinue reading “On parenting, poverty, and privilege”

Breaking down the walls because ‘tú eras mi otra yo’

I once stood near the United States-Mexico border. In the journey to this edge, I witnessed the evidence of militarization: guns, checkpoints, armored vehicles, cameras. The steel fence rose from the sandy earth like a misplaced mountain. I felt my body tense from the feeling of surveillance. I felt the unease and sorrow that seemedContinue reading “Breaking down the walls because ‘tú eras mi otra yo’”

Christian resistance in the style of St. Francis

It’s indisputable that today’s signs of the times point to heartache, injustice, division and confusion. The truth seems to be debatable. The persecutions of the little ones — from immigrant children, refugees, victims of natural disasters and targets of sexual assault; those who are on the margins — often are the ones who bear theContinue reading “Christian resistance in the style of St. Francis”

Listening to and praying with the cries of the children at the border

Like everyone else who understands that the Bible is a book that calls us to love without limit, I am heartbroken by the splitting of families at the U.S./Mexico border.

The words of Oscar Romero for our Lenten conversion

Around here, deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, the signs of spring are starting to emerge — quite appropriately, since Lent means spring. The deep snow piles are gradually starting to shrink and reveal a little green life around their edges. Tiny buds are forming on tree branches. Buckets are lining paths, making more visible theContinue reading “The words of Oscar Romero for our Lenten conversion”

Love in the midst of the mess

You are dreading another meal of ramen noodles and canned vegetables, but you know that’s all that’s left in the cupboard, that it’s the best you can offer your son tonight. You’re thinking about this as you enter the dimly lit child care center to pick him up, with hunger pulling on your stomach, onlyContinue reading “Love in the midst of the mess”

Dead man on the sidewalk

He is lying in the middle of the street, wrapped in a blanket, semiconscious. Earlier, someone was concerned enough to call the paramedics. The paramedics picked him up by the arms, dragged him to the sidewalk, determined he did not need medical transport, and left. When the paramedics find him, nobody is with him. NoContinue reading “Dead man on the sidewalk”

Locked up in different prisons

The heavy metal door bangs behind me, the electric buzz locks the bolt in place. After a pause, another door buzzes and is unlocked, controlled by a police officer sitting near a video monitor in another room. I cross the florescent-lit linoleum and open the next heavy metal door, making my way through this thresholdContinue reading “Locked up in different prisons”

Finding St. Francis and choosing to stand on the margins

It was early 2013 and I was fresh from three months of formation with Franciscan Mission Service. I had just arrived in Bolivia, South America, to live and serve for at least the next two years as a Franciscan lay missioner. I had spent the autumn months of 2012 in daily classes learning about FranciscanContinue reading “Finding St. Francis and choosing to stand on the margins”