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During Palm Sunday weekend, my sister Margaret, visited me during my mission time in Belize City, Central America. When I became impatient waiting on an event, she would then sing me this song: “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry, when you get impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember, that God has patience too- And think of all the times when others have to wait on you!” It calmed my anxious, demanding spirit. It settled down my impatient soul. As a result, we were able to see a Mayan Temple, the Belize Zoo, do some sight-seeing and be together is a spirit of joy not frustration.
In Belize, from left to right: Barbara Flores, Maggie Cooper, Margaret Donohue,
Judy Donohue, Elisa Ariola, Carlette Gentle, Bev Hoffman
Over the past two years, during my formation, I noticed in the moves I’ve made, it took me a while to get settled in and establish a routine. I wanted to feel comfortable, loved and at home, right now! Yet it took time for all these things to evolve. I needed patience. Moving to another country, Belize and now being back in the USA has given me gratitude. I’m grateful for what I have and what the USA has to offer. We have the comforts of air conditioning, fast food restaurants, less mosquitoes, a developed road infrastructure among many other blessings.
I’m also grateful for what I’ve learned from my time being in Belize. I was impressed by the deep faith and love of these Caribbean people for each other and their church, not to mention their great food. They daily face struggles with poverty, gangs, the heat and humidity, lack of health care, etc.
Over the years there has been progress in the country in developing programs for the poor. Hand in Hand ministry, based in Louisville, KY has built over 313 homes for the poorest of the poor. Each of these homes house several people and each of these families blesses many others. In their school system there is no separation of church and state, yet the Catholic Public Schools’ teachers take Catechism certification programs to assist them in teaching theology and the Catholic faith in their schools. I taught a Scripture and Sacrament class to seven teachers on Saturday mornings. It was a blessing to work with these faith filled teachers who want to make a difference in showing and being Jesus to their students.
During the period of adjusting to my new normal, I sometimes felt out of it, not quite sure of my schedule, role identity. Who am I? What am I supposed to do? But thanks to the love and encouragement of my local Belizean Sisters I felt worthwhile and of value. I had something to give. I discovered my gifts were needed there.
While in Belize, I work as a volunteer chaplain at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. I saw how my Chaplain experience and availability were greatly appreciated. I was able to pray with many patients for healing. The patients and family members received the comfort of someone who cared.
Developing flexibility has allowed me to go with the flow. I enjoyed a trip for the weekend down to the Mayan area in the southern part of the country. Sisters Chris Kunze, Higinia Bol and I prayed the rosary with the Mayan people of the Toledo District in English. They sang a song between the decades in their own language.
God wants to meet the deepest desires of my heart. For me that is mostly achieved in loving God and others. I am a better person for having gone through the transitions of the last three years. I have grown in my communication skills as well as my faith. Some of these transitions were difficult but I have been transformed through it all by being more patient. May God continue to call all of us to be a light for others who are in need.