Overcoming apprehension of new culture, country
Dave Eck • Director of Communications
During senior year at Xavier University in Cincinnati I was part of an immersion experience in Bogotá, Colombia. There were nine of us, all college students, mostly from Xavier, but a few from other schools.
It was exciting, but terrifying. There were so many questions. How would we communicate? How could we possibly learn at a Spanish-speaking university? How would we ever make our way in a strange city when we didn’t even speak the language? We didn’t even know anything about the currency – one classmate exchanged U.S. dollars for Mexican pesos, only to find that Colombia has its own pesos.
Gradually, though, we began to develop a routine and became quite comfortable. The fear gave way to joy as we learned to appreciate the beauty and culture of Bogotá. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Those memories were vivid as I listened to the Sisters serving in Chile talk about their feelings when they first went to Latin America. They had the same issues: a language barrier, lack of familiarity with the culture and some homesickness. They, too, were excited but also felt apprehensive.
However, as they overcame the challenges, their ministry began to thrive. The Sisters originally were missioned to teach at St. Gaspar School, operated by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Eventually, they expanded, bringing their Precious Blood Spirituality to parishioners in Santiago and working with the Conference of Religious. Today, five Sisters continue to minister in Chile.
In this issue of Sharing & Caring we introduce you to those Sisters and share the impact they’ve had in Chile since the first Sisters journeyed there in 1957.
We also meet Sister Lou Ann Roof, who spent years as a counselor, both in a prison and at a counseling center. She shares the stories of the reaching out to prison inmates, offering comfort and healing. She talks of journeying with a young man she knew well who ended up in prison. In another story, she helps a suicidal client – who comes back to thank her.
This issue also includes a story on the A Nun’s Life visit to Salem Heights. This exciting ministry of Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters Julie Vieira and Maxine Kollasch uses social media for prayer and to raise awareness of women religious around the world.
Finally, we give a fond farewell to Sisters Virginia Hebbeler, Mary Kathryn Gurren and Dianne Skubby. May they watch over and guide us on our earthly journey!