Sister Mi-Kyoung looks back on her ministry in Chicago

Currently I face a new ministry in Columbus, Ohio, and I think it is good to reflect on the ministry I did in Chicago.

I had two ministries in Chicago. First, I began to share life with the core members of L’Arche Chicago in July 2022 as a volunteer. Second, I already committed to part-time work at Catholic Theological Union as an adjunct faculty member which was to begin in September. There, I facilitated theological reflection for a small group of students in the Field Education Program every Tuesday. In the beginning, I worked three days per week as a volunteer at L’Arche. Later, I worked four days per week after I got a work permit card as a Direct Service Professional, which enabled me to commit more deeply in sharing life with core members. Since I spent most of my time with L’Arche in my ministry in Chicago, I will focus on sharing my experience with core members at L’Arche.

In brief, L’Arche is a community for intellectually disabled people who are the core members. L’Arche Chicago has three houses and a house in construction. I used to share life at the Angel House. There were four core members at the Angel House: Christianne, Anders, Davey and David.

Christianne has been in L’Arche for around 20 years. She is funny and lovely. She loves to dance the Macarena. She blesses people and knows how to entertain people. She loves to color and paint. She apologizes when she feels that she hurt others, as well as expressing her love. I wrote about her in the L’Arche yearly report about her childlike disarming humor. She has the gift of childlike innocence.

Anders has been working at Jewel-Osco for 10 years. He is very good at decorating the house for seasonal events. He writes cards for people for their birthdays and special occasions. He loves to walk and do gardening. He also cleans the house and takes the trash and recycling bins out. He values working hard to take care of the community, yet never tries to get attention for himself. He has a gift for building community.

Davey is interested in politics and books. He is good at doing jigsaw puzzles. He is interested in food and travel. He collects food recipes and likes to cook. Especially, he likes to eat different cultural foods like Greek, Thai or Korean. He likes to go out to explore and visit different places in the city. He has the gift of seeking something beyond where he is.

David has a most beautiful smile. He is a good companion for walking around the neighborhood. He is a good listener and easygoing with everyone. He recently has been working for a pickle-making organization. He is content wherever and whenever. He seems to appreciate the value of little things. He has the gift of peace-making in the community.

When I remember them, I am so glad that I shared life with them in L’Arche as they shared their life with me. We ministered to each other by sharing our vulnerabilities. Sharing life’s vulnerabilities was not always easy, smooth, comfortable, funny and colorful. However, I realized that sharing our vulnerabilities is the key to touch a glimpse of the sacredness in each of us, which is the truth of the Blood of Jesus. I thank God who allowed me to touch the sacredness of them.

— Story by Sister Mi-Kyoung Hwang

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