"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion,
and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
James A. Michener
I love this James Michener quote . . . The Pulitzer Prize winning author captures, with humor, some of the tension and many of the challenges associated with traveling.
I've been away from home for some time now - bringing student nurses to Guatemala since 2011 and living here, full-time, for the past three years. This brief reflection is to let you know that I have returned to the United States.
Living in a different culture, learning another language, being in relationship with new people and observing other ways of doing things is never easy. Still, the past three years has been an incredible experience and I look to the future with a respectful nod to the past.
I will always remember the kind, loving and hard working Guatemalan people who have welcomed me into their lives. And, perhaps I'll take things a little less for granted. Simple, basic needs, such as having enough food to eat, and clean running water and sufficient electrical power are rarely taken for granted in rural Guatemala.
Introducing students, adult volunteers, Associates and Sisters to the people here and to our various Sister of Charity activities has been a privilege and a joy.
As of August 1st, I will live and work at Saint Patrick Villa, a Sister of Charity convent in Nanuet, New York. Home for 15 semi-retired Sisters, these women enjoy a wide variety of backgrounds - in education, science, the arts, administration, etc. and each is a living example of what it means to be "Charity Alive" in the world. I look forward to sharing prayer, community and ministry with them - and with you - in the years ahead.
Let's stay in touch and never stop exploring ways that we can provide service to a world in need of all the goodness and kindness it can get. After all, you don't have travel around the world in order to help shape it for the better.
Enjoy the summer and, wherever you go, happy traveling.
Lots of love,
Your sister Ceil