Associate Blog

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Will Your Legacy Be a Great Resume or an Inspiring Eulogy?

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

Striving to Inspire

I heard a beautiful eulogy last week:

He “worked to bring the hope of Christ to people’s lives. He also built bridges of solidarity to people of other faiths as a leader in ecumenism and inter-religious affairs…. The most fitting tribute we can offer is to carry forward his episcopal motto in our daily lives: ‘Do the work of an evangelist.'”

Those words – uttered by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo (of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) about his dear friend Cardinal William H. Keeler (retired Archbishop of Baltimore), who died last Thursday – struck a chord in my heart.

I thought – “Wow! I hope someone somewhere can say something like that about me” because I am striving to lead a life in which I am inspired and I can inspire others. I was reminded that each day we are writing our eulogy – the foundational document of our legacy – with our lives. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog

My/Your St. Joseph Story

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

For many it would have seemed a happy coincidence, but for me it was an answer to a desperate prayer. It happened on the break day midway through the IRF (Institute for Religious Formation) 30 Day Retreat held in Sedalia, CO, at which I was one of the retreat directors. A native of Kansas, I was eager to take a short trip into the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, and then meet friends in Denver for an afternoon lunch and visit before returning to continue the retreat.

Stopping at a close-by gas station, I asked the locals for some directions. Suggesting I drive over the pass to Georgetown – a quaint mountain town with interesting gift shops and a cute ice cream parlor – they gave me a map and I set out. The road was clear as I began the climb, but about halfway up the slope it began to snow – at first a flurry, gradually growing into a full-fledged blizzard as I continued the ascent. Just as I was beginning to doubt if I should keep going, a snowplow appeared in front of me, clearing the way. As I reached the top of the pass, it pulled aside, and I started down the other side of the mountain. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News

The Power of One Voice

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

We are all blessed with different talents

There’s something exhilarating about being in a room with people who have put their trust in God and are devoted to doing good.

I experienced that invigoration this past weekend while meeting with our Associates Council. The meeting started on Friday evening and the agenda was packed, so my expectation was to come home exhausted.

Instead, I returned home on Sunday feeling energized and encouraged.

On the drive home, as I reflected on our time together, I was reminded that we have all been blessed with different talents and gifts and unique voices and that we can use those voices, gifts, and talents – individually and collectively – to change the world. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News

What Difference Can One Person Make?

Where Does One Start?

Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP

This sentence by Paul Rogat Loeb – Soul of a Citizen was recently quoted in PACE E BENE’s daily e-mail:

“We do not know where to start… we mistrust our own ability to make a difference. The magnitude of the issues at hand, coupled with this sense of powerlessness, has led too many of us to conclude that social involvement isn’t worth the cost… it’s what psychologists call learned helplessness.”

It reminded me of how overwhelmed I had felt when I spent three months visiting my Mother’s birth country, the Philippines. The trip was a silver jubilee gift from three western Kansas parishes where I was ministering at the time. It was in and around Quezon City, PI that I saw firsthand the extreme poverty and terrible conditions that millions of our brothers and sisters live in daily. I remember the feeling of powerlessness that gripped me in the face of so much oppression and suffering. Where does one start? and is there anything at all I can do that would make a difference?

These thoughts were heavy on my heart as a Dominican Sister from Pampanga traveled with me to northern Luzon to see the Banaue rice terraces.
Upon our arrival in the Banaue viewing area, we were greeted by the tiny Ifugao farming people who have lived  in the region for over 2000 years. I felt tall standing next  to them! We learned how they had cultivated the rice  terraces field by field as their families and villages grew,  cutting away at the mountains as their needs arose, catching  and channeling the water to grow their rice, doing what was  needed right in front of them to feed their family and villagers.  And doing just that over time had transformed the entire  mountain region into what we now commonly refer to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”!

Working Side by Side, Does Change the World

Rice Terraces of Banaue

I’m sure the small farming people of the north did not have in mind to build a “wonder of the world”; but by each of them doing what he/she could do right where they were—and with their primitive hand tools– they had done it. What an image for me to hold onto as I returned to the overcrowded poverty area of Quezon City where I was staying, and as I came back to my home in Kansas! I still keep a picture of these rice terraces in my bedroom to remind me that one person –and other persons cooperatively working side by side—DOES change the world, DOES make a difference, even if we can’t see/imagine the final outcome. My daily challenge is: how am I using my ‘tools’ and gifts to do what is right in front of me to change the world into God’s kingdom on Earth; to BE PEACE, BUILD PEACE, PREACH PEACE?

We don’t want intolerance, discrimination, and racism to continue permeating our society; we disagree with and reject the anti-immigration, the denial of climate change, the disregard of people’s rights to clean air and pure water. Instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of these issues, let’s ask: what one thing can I do right where I am to contribute to the change I hope for?

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!”

Posted in Associate Blog

Loving Without Counting the Cost

Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA – Co-Director

A Good Samaritan

I added a new name to my list of Good Samaritans last week: Ian Grillot.

As I watched a television interview with the 24-year-old Kansas man – while he lay in a hospital bed wearing a neck brace and recovering from gunshot wounds to his hand and chest – his words warmed my heart: “I was just doing what anyone should’ve done for another human being.”

Anyone? I don’t know too many people who would stand up against hatred and take a bullet for a stranger. Do you?

Well, Ian Grillot did. According to news reports he is the man who intervened when a gunman opened fire on two men of Indian descent and of the Hindu faith, killing one and injuring the other, inside an Olathe, KS, sports bar. The gunman reportedly thought the two men were of Middle Eastern descent and made bigoted remarks to them (including “get out of my country”) before opening fire. Continue reading →

Posted in Associate Blog, News