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Reading the Newspaper with Sister Jackie

By Sister Jackie Goodin

After I finished reading the Madeline series of books by Ludwig Bemelmans at age 5 or so (you can read about the influence those books had on me in my previous blog), I began to read the daily newspaper. Of course, I started with the comics, as any young reader would, dependent a bit on the pictures to learn the words.

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But then, I just got into reading the newspaper! I was born and raised in the newspaper town of St. Louis, Missouri. Truly, I could hardly wait to get home from school to read the afternoon edition.

Even when I was in Tanzania from 2010 to 2014, I would scan the makeshift wooden vendor table in the center of town for the English language weekly paper to learn about the politics and happenings in the country. Then, when I returned there in Fall 2016, I was gifted with an e-version of the Washington Post to keep up with the national election and the World Series. That was heaven! I only had to worry about keeping the reader charged up to get me through the entire paper.

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And now, my friends have offered to bury me (when it’s my time and not a moment before) with a cup of coffee and that day’s edition.

Since becoming a Sister with the Congregation of St. Joseph (or CSJs), how I read the paper has changed a great deal. In the years immediately following Vatican II, many religious congregations returned to their foundation to learn again the spirit for the future of their mission. Our CSJ sisters from across the globe did just that with the help of a French Jesuit, Marius Nepper, who described the spirit and spirituality of Sisters of St. Joseph wherever we live and serve as being with “eyes open, ears attentive, spirit alert, and sleeves rolled up.” This explanation is us as daughters of St. Joseph, without a doubt. Now, I read the paper in this light. Eyes open. Ears attentive. Spirit alert. Sleeves rolled up.

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So, one morning when I open a recent weekday edition of The Plain Dealer, the main newspaper in Cleveland,  I pay attention as I  read:

Family Holds Tearful Goodbye as Dad is Deported to Mexico is the first headline with an accompanying photo of a 10 year-old son hugging him in the airport. I wonder, what is my involvement in immigration reform? How can I offer more to immigrants so there will be no more family separations?

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Move to Repeal ACA Expires. I wonder, how am I giving voice for those who will most likely lose Medicaid coverage? Do I really act as though I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege?

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Ex-Officer Won’t Face Third Trial. I am so glad I have joined our local CSJ anti-racism team to better understand the impact of racism and white privilege in our U.S. society—and to be a part of the change I/we want to see.

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Changing Climate Spells End for Ancient Way of Life. I remember what I learned and experienced during my Tanzania years of the beauty of the African peoples, their joys, their struggles. I anguish about Earth’s prognosis in terms of climate change, which is not good, and I resolve again to advocate for the signing of the Paris Climate Accord of 2015.

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Fentanyl Claims Life of 10-Year-Old Boy. I roll up my sleeves above my elbows in my ministry as a Clinical Social Worker, especially to support those moving towards recovery from addictions.

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Even the death notices get my close scrutiny. I am so reminded of the goodness of the human spirit as I read of the many charities which will benefit from memorial gifts. I think, too, of my own family and promise to keep working for healing wherever healing is needed.

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A Heavy Volume for Library: Needing to Ask for Tax Increase. Recalling my years as a professional librarian, wanting to help libraries is a no-brainer for me. Yet, I promise to do my homework in preparation for local elections this fall by studying the candidates and issues.

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Class Helps Community Agriculture Buyers Cope with Seasonal Abundance. While I’m not signing up for any abundance of kale, I am very aware of “food deserts” in our city and the efforts to bring healthy, fresh foods to many folks who live in poverty. I wonder about my neighbors who rely on food pantries and hot meals at local sites. Do I have a neighbor on my block who needs me to bring fresh fruits and veggies from our well-stocked refrigerator?

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Not too much to be said for the sports pages from me, I admit—other than to enjoy when our local teams work hard for a win.

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And finally, I do laugh at the funnies. I laugh because I see myself in the cartoons. You just have to laugh sometimes, right?

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Reading the paper, I see pictures of war and its refugees; I listen to the cries of the hungry and struggling; I renew a personal commitment to being a witness of God’s unifying Love; I participate in justice-making locally and globally. And the daily newspaper helps me stay informed and motivated. I cannot not read the reality. Every edition helps me to commit to being a better global citizen, a more tender-hearted CSJ for the Sisters that I live with, and a more caring neighbor in my city. Thank God for newspapers!

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Are you reading (in whatever newspaper format you enjoy most) with eyes open, ears attentive, spirit alert, and sleeves rolled up? How might our communities be better if we all read as a “daughter (or son) of St. Joseph?

 

About the Author

Sr Jackie

Sister Jackie Goodin worked as a librarian at the Cleveland Public Library for 10 years prior to joining the Congregation of St. Joseph (and is still a pretty good whiz at book trivia!) Since receiving her Masters in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University, she has held several positions as a Clinical Social Worker. She is a darn good cookie baker, and loves to read detective stories from around the world.

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What Makes a Superhero?

By Sister Jean McGrath

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. Many are giant-sized, monster-looking creatures with fire in their eyes and weapons in their hands. They are the stars of mega million dollar movies packed with ear shattering screams and death-defying stunts.

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My superhero is about 31-inches high with deep brown eyes. His only weapon is a nine-inch nurf baseball bat, an amazing family and a heart the size of Texas. He recently celebrated his second birthday at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago where he underwent his second bone marrow transplant.

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Nine months ago, Beau, the youngest of seven children, was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that most commonly affects small children. Despite routine visits to the pediatrician, his mother observed a bit of lethargy and irritability that was out of character for her beautiful and very active baby boy. Doctors at the local children’s hospital gave his family the devastating news and outlined the course of treatment that would involve months of chemotherapy, radiation, bone marrow transplants and several surgeries. Despite the aggressive and drastic treatment plan, the prognosis was not good.

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Beau had other plans.

During the months since his diagnosis, Beau has touched the hearts of thousands of neighbors, friends and others whom he has never met. Although he is far too young to understand the meaning of the quotation about never doubting the ability of one life to change the world, Beau’s courageous battle has proved to all that it can and does happen.

Beau’s journey has sparked an outpouring of kindness and generosity that has changed his corner of the world. Ribbons were wrapped around every tree and pole within a one mile radius of his home reminding all to pray for Beau. Multiple fundraising events brought volunteers together as a tremendous show of support and to raise money to help cover some of the astronomical expenses not covered by insurance. A bake sale intended for the local community after all of the Sunday Masses in his parish, drew the attention of hundreds who lined up outside the doors to buy a cupcake and make a donation.

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A high school service project, originally designed as a small garage sale, expanded to a block-long event that attracted the attention of several news markets and raised thousands of dollars. A blood drive welcomed a record-breaking number of donors who waited for hours just so that they could help. The classmates of one of Beau’s siblings held a baseball game that brought families and neighbors together to raise additional dollars.

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In a nation divided over so many issues, Beau’s story, the medical journey of a two-year-old, needs to be shared. Beau’s journey has called out the best in literally thousands of strangers because it touches hearts and transforms lives. It is an invitation to hug the kids in our lives a little tighter, extend simple kindnesses to those who might need a helping hand or listening heart, be open to the wonder and potential of children, and practice an attitude of gratitude.

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Beau’s story will probably not melt many hearts in Washington or Moscow, but it does demonstrate the power of a community to rally in a remarkable outpouring of kindness and compassion.

Perhaps this is the “stuff” of superheroes.

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About the Author

JeanMcGrath

 

Sister Jean McGrath is principal at St. John Fisher School in Chicago and enjoys a good book, a good conversation, and a great bargain.

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Walking to Freedom

By Sister Jeannie Masterson

In a burst of creative genius, the Health Ministry in my parish joined with local Episcopal Retirement Homes to create a motivation for us to exercise from July through September. Whether walking, swimming, bicycling, gardening, or even chair exercises, we’re encouraged to keep a tally of our miles (if you don’t have a Fitbit or its cousin, 20 minutes of any exercise is considered a mile). As we exercise, we’re invited to consider the millions of refugees and immigrants whose only choice for life is to walk: away from everything they’ve ever known, with no clarity about where they might be welcomed to begin anew. Thus the exercise is known as “Walk to Freedom”.
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Because I happened to be born in a country that has not fought a war on its own soil in my lifetime, I can only imagine what it’s like to be so terrorized as to leave everything behind. Circumstances would have to be very challenging for me to make the decision that it’s safer and more hopeful to take whatever possessions I can carry than to stay where all my roots are. Things I take for granted, like having available bathrooms, a place to brush my teeth, three meals a day (and usually ample snacks in between), a safe and warm/cool place to sleep, accessible health care, the knowledge that my family and friends are safe, even wi-fi access on demand – all vanish when one hits the road as a displaced person.
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Throughout these months of mindful walking, the parish will offer insights about refugees through speakers, movies, articles, and discussions, leading to some action in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. We will map the total miles the parish walks in comparison with the most traveled routes of modern day refugees. With all our supports, will we collectively walk as far as one person from Damascus walks to find safety? We have no children to carry, nor sick parents to assist, nor family members from whom we have been separated in the migration. Our walk is totally voluntary, and at our discretion. What a difference from the forced marches of children, often as young as 6, who are kidnapped into various armies in our world!
giphy (43)A further offering of our parish “Walk to Freedom” is weekly devotions: scriptures, quotes, poetry and music to keep us connected with both our spiritual forebearers who journeyed, from Abraham to Mary and Joseph to St. Paul, and these modern journeyers. Our journey is to be spiritual as well as physical, to walk in others’ shoes to get a glimpse into their lives: their fears, their struggles, their challenges, and most of all, their hope. What a gift to be offered more than the thirty-second news feeds, to connect my life with those of my brothers and sisters, to become all the more alert to my multitude of blessings and comforts!
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I hope that, by the end of our three months, I have become more sensitive to a wide variety of ways I can become connected rather than distanced, to live with hope rather than fear, to offer generosity of heart rather than greedily clutching the benefits with which I have been blessed. If I’ve moved even inches in these hopes, I will have indeed walked to deeper freedom in the strongest sense of the word.giphy (42)

 

About the Author

jeannies-picture-2015Sister Jeannie Masterson is currently serving her second term on the Congregation Leadership Team. Earlier she served in provincial leadership, teaching, high school administration, and as a pastoral associate for adult formation. Sister Jeannie was the founding and active director for eight years of Cincinnati’s Jordan Center, which brought health attention to uninsured working people and their families.

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My Favorite Place and the Mystery of God: We are All ONE!

by Sister Marcella Clancy

I have had the privilege to visit many scenic sites but my favorite place is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Most of its geography consists of quiet, untamed wildness. For me, the “UP” is a coming home; a resonance with something deep within.

This was not always true. I am a city girl who grew up in the teeming neighborhoods and bustling traffic of Detroit. My journey to an appreciation of nature was hesitant and very gradual. Just 10 years ago as we, the Congregation of St. Joseph, made a generous promise to “…claim our oneness with earth…,” I doubted. But creation has converted me. As I began to sit still and bask in nature, a new awareness began to dawn.
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As I drive over the Mackinac Bridge and then west along US 2, the silent towering pine trees welcome me into their enormous quiet. They are both regal and humble. Their collective stately bearing is not so much a “showing off” as a knowing they must be fittingly dignified before the God who made them so majestic. They hush and call me to explore my own humble grandeur grounded in the God within.

Craig Lake State Park is the most remote park in Michigan. Although it is only 12 miles off Highway 41, it takes at least 30 minutes to drive the rutted rough road into the parking area. Then you carry your camping gear the rest of the way. There are no conveniences of home – no plumbing or electricity are available and no motors are allowed. Yet it offers other priceless amenities: stars so close you are tempted to reach out and touch them; rising moons brighter than any street lights; an encompassing silence that is more deafening than the roar of any buzzing freeway; and the lovely lilting song of loons crooning tenderly to one another. It is a sacred, hallowed place in which I feel completely embraced by the sacramental presence of God concealed within creation.
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Pictured Rocks along Lake Superior allows me to gaze upon a past dating back 500 million years. Water dipped in copper, iron, manganese, and limonite buried in the sandstone paint the cliffs extraordinary oranges, reds, blues, greens, browns, blacks and whites. Spires, caves, arches, blowholes, turrets and human figures are some of the sculptures formed by the ever-changing forces of wind and sea. Besides the raw beauty they display, Pictured Rocks makes me poignantly aware of what scientists call deep time and the Divine up-welling within the inner lining of our unfolding cosmos, rich and zesty with life, always seeking abundantly the more. Yet the process is absurdly slow, amazingly patient and stubbornly persistent. The Pictured Rocks give me a new perception of time and the slow, steady, unrestrained loving labor of God.
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Lake Superior is more an ocean than a lake. Its unrelenting pounding waves speak to me of its immense depth and reveal a profound secret inherent in the universe itself. What we know of the observable universe is about 5%. The other 95% consists of either dark matter or dark energy, eternally invisible, known only through its effects. What is known is barely comprehensible. What is not known is unfathomable. I cannot grasp the whole of Lake Superior. So much of it is a Divine secret held coveted in the heart of God. So much of life, of living, is the same. Mystery abounds everywhere. There is a freedom in acknowledging this truth. There is a joy in just being enfolded in the brilliant darkness and hidden intimacy that is God all around us.
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There is something of myself God has planted in this remote place of Michigan. I go there to find myself and to find God in myself. I am filled with wonder and awe. There is a desire in me to embrace the mystery and miracle of creation, to enter deeply into the source of its beauty, complexity, and oneness. Yet as I gaze out, I realize it is gazing back at me, mirroring my own thoughts and desires. There is an inner field of the Divine in me and it dwells within the inner lining of everyone and everything, not separately, but making us all one! I hope you have your own favorite place. May it speak to you of God.

About the Author

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Sister Marcella Clancy currently lives in the Detroit area. She offers spiritual direction, serves on Congregational committees, and companions one of our newer members. She loves long walks, good movies, and leisurely lunches with friends.

 

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Visiting the Holy Land: Seeing Scripture Come to Life!

 By Sister Sallie Latkovich

I had a friend who was studying for a year in Jerusalem in the mid 1980’s, and she invited me to join her there during my Christmas vacation. My mother became quite ill, so I decided not to go at that time, but I was determined to go when the next opportunity arose.

In late summer of 1988, I was speaking with another friend who was excited to tell me about a trip she would be making to the Holy Land early the next year, and she invited me to go. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for!

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We left the United States on December 31, arriving in Israel on January 1; and arrived at Tantur, an ecumenical (that is, open for people of many faiths) study center founded by Pope Paul VI and administered by the University of Notre Dame. It is situated on the highest hill between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and we all went to the rooftop as the sun was setting. Lights began to flicker as we looked at Bethlehem.

We were silent as we savored the moment, until the silence was broken as someone began to sing:

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Goose bumps rose on my arms and tears streamed down my face as it was dawning on me that I was really here: in the land of Jesus.

It was a wonderful, powerful journey. Upon returning home, I was happy to share pictures with anyone who was interested. One couple said: “If you ever hear of another trip like this. . .Sallie, why don’t you take a group to Israel?” The next day, I contacted the travel agent, and the following day, we had dates and a brochure. That was the first of five groups I gathered to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

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Each group was different; and during each trip their was one place that was especially touching to me. How does one visit places so connected to our Christian history and not make connections to our own lives? Our own faith? I’d like to share just a few of my reflections from these special locations:

The Site of the VISITATION/ EIN KAREM: The place of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth brought my reflection of the dear women friends with whom I have shared life: my three blood sisters, my Sisters of St. Joseph, and women friends.

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Statue of the Visitation

SHEPHERD’S FIELD: Adjoining Bethlehem in the town of Beit Sahour is a site where shepherds had traditionally watched over their flocks. On one of my first visits, I could look across the valley and see small caves in the mountains, and I felt sure that one of those caves was the place where Jesus was born. Today, the site is overcome by a large housing settlement.

Photos of Shepard’s Field

THE WESTERN WALL/THE WAILING WALL: As a Christian, I was struck by the fact that we celebrate everything in light of the Resurrection. So, it was touching to me to have a ritual place to weep over the sorrows and sadnesses of our lives.

THE FRANCISCAN CHAPEL of the CENACLE: This Chapel is a place to recall the Last Supper; the “upper room” can be visited very nearby. Behind the altar, there is a beautiful bronze sculpture of the Last Supper, with Jesus at the center, and the Tabernacle in his very body. To the right of this sculpture is a doorway to the Sacristy, and on the other side of the door is a sculpture of a woman looking on. For me, she represents all of the women of the Church, looking on to the table where only men preside.

IMG_7104Sister Sallie with the singular woman,
looking into the last supper

These special places are all in the area of Jerusalem; but if I were to go North to the Galilee or South to the Negev, I could share their own places of remembrance as well.

In 2009, I was invited to become Director of the Biblical Study and Travel Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. In this position, I have had the great privilege of returning to Israel eight more times! Along with returning to the holy sites, I have become friends with so many of the people I see there, with ever deepening understanding of their lives.

I am ever grateful for the gift I have had to actually see and feel our Scriptures come to life!
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About the Author

sallie-sized-for-useSister Sallie Latkovich directs the Bible Study and Travel Program as well as the  Summer Institute at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. As a member of the Bible Deptartment, she teaches Biblical Foundations of Spirituality and The Bible For Ministry. She enjoys music, plays, and movies; and loves visiting family and friends.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine? Could you be mine?” – Fred Rogers

giphy (37)It’s hard for me to imagine a time when Mister Rogers Neighborhood (or its contemporary, animated spinoff, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood) didn’t exist. Clad in tennis shoes and cardigan sweaters, Mister Rogers sang his way into millions of homes, teaching us all some of the most important lessons in life: how to share, how to be kind, how to use our imaginations. And while all of these lessons still stick with me, and I would venture to guess with many of us, it’s the opening song that plays in my head when I think of Fred Rogers and his world. Would you be, could you be, my neighbor?

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Fred Rogers and Daniel Tiger share a sense of style

Of course I wanted to be Mister Rogers’s neighbor! Who wouldnt’ want to be invited into his cute little house, to feed his fish, get the mail from Mr. McFeely, and follow trolley to the neighborhood of make-believe? But as a child, I still thought of my neighbors as the people who lived on my block. I could tell you all about the Fernando’s, who lived next door and raised rabbits, or Harry O., who lived across the street and came over to visit and eat popsicles on the front porch. I wanted to be Mister Rogers’s neighbor, but I thought that meant that I wanted my family to move so we could live next door to him (maybe across from Sesame Street? I was always trying to figure out the geography of the PBS world my favorite characters inhabited to decide what real estate would be best.)

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Big Bird checks out real estate in the neighborhood

Now, as I think about Mister Rogers as an adult, I can’t help but wonder if he was ever taught by Sisters from the Congregation of St. Joseph. Committed to “move towards profound love of God and love of neighbor without distinction,” the Congregation has been doing neighborly work for hundreds of years. The first Sisters of St. Joseph in LePuy, France, were tasked to go out and do whatever would bring about greater unity in society. These women worked to help all people, not just the person who happened to be next door. While they didn’t have Mister Rogers’s song to bring people together, they worked to bring harmony to the world in other ways.

 

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What makes a neighbor? It’s not just geography.

Today, we still work to “love and serve the dear neighbor,” much of it the same kind of work that Mister Rogers encouraged us to do as children: to be kind to the lonely, the alienated and the sick. To promote unity, peace and justice in society. To care for all creation in our universe. We understand that our neighbors are not only those from our block, from our city, or even from our country. The dear neighbor is all of us. Every person, in every city, in every country around the world.

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Mister Rogers loved all neighbors, kings and owls!

While Mister Rogers helped me learn how to tie my shoes and how to treat others, as a child I still didn’t understand the one important message that he was trying to convey in his song – we can all be his neighbor, because we are all neighbors with each other, no matter where we live. In this world, the unity and kindness that Mister Rogers encouraged can sometimes seem difficult to come by. But isn’t it easier to be kind to a neighbor, a person you share space with and greet with a wave as you get home from work? If we think of each other as neighbors, might it be easier to treat each other with the compassion and respect that we’re called to by God? And so I ask, in all earnestness, would you be, could you be, my neighbor? giphy (41).gif

About the Author

Elizabeth-Powers,-WebElizabeth Powers is the Electronic Communications Coordinator for the Congregation of St. Joseph and manages the blog, Beyond the Habit. She sometimes acts as a contributing writer when faced with a particularly poignant, sister-inspired moment. She loves reading, writing, Harry Potter, and PBS.

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Miss Clavel in Tanzania: Learning to See the World Upside Down

By Sister Jackie Goodin

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines”

I hold onto a favorite childhood memory, I think from when I was five years old. My mother held my hand as we crossed the broad downtown streets to the grand Columbus Public Library. There, we found Ludwig Bemelman’s classic children’s book, Madeline. This was the beginning of my love of books. (Never read Madeline or want a refresher? You can listen to the book being narrated here.)

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Somehow, the persona of Miss Clavel, the matron of those twelve little Parisian girls who “walked in two straight lines” during their time in Catholic boarding school, has stayed with me. (I’m still working on developing my Madeline persona—but that’s for another blog!)

Of course, don’t we all know that there is not too much in life that is as ordered, structured, and tidy as “two straight lines?” I certainly learned this lesson again and again during my five years in Tanzania, from 2010 to 2014.

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Do You See Two Straight Lines?

Oh, I started out as a Miss Clavel at St. Joseph Hostel (“a boarding school without the school” as I describe it, since the girls at the hostel live and study their, but actually attend classes at a nearby school. ) But soon, I  had to abandon this persona as I guided teenage girls during their years of high school, and learned that nothing moves in “two straight lines” for teenagers! You parents of teenage girls are laughing at me now, I’m sure.

My time with the girls and the other Sisters of St. Joseph with whom I served, from India, Brazil, and Canada, transformed my life and gave me a world view that is much more up-side-down than from the perspective I had previously; one of a person from a first world nation.

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Another sister from the hostel,
with a kindergarten student

So, it was with great excitement and gratitude that I was able to return to my second “home” in southwestern Tanzania for two months at the end of 2016. I was asked to fill in at the Hostel for a Sister who had returned to her home country for medical treatment. Fortunately, I knew what to expect this time around, so I left my Miss Clavel identity back in the U.S. (Well, I did feel like I was forever straightening desks and tables into nice lines in the Hostel’s classrooms and dining room! But otherwise, I kept Miss Clavel in check!)

It's been a long day!
It’s Been a Long Day!

The girls were studying frantically towards their final examinations since the school year  in Tanzania runs from January to December. I was there to help them stay on task, but certainly not to keep their spirits in two straight lines. In fact, the girls have taught me over the years to find your own lines–whether they be dashed, squiggled, curvey, and yes, sometimes straight!

And what happens at the end of a school year? Of course, graduation! It was my joy to attend two kindergarten graduations, and to be with Tanzanian children who took me back to my Madeline years—but, oh, in a very different setting!

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Which Girl Might be Our Own “Madeline”?
Maybe the One with the Giggles?

Not one darn straight line in sight, with children running around, one hand grabbing their flying-off-the-head graduation caps. Wonderful free-form dancing by the children and their families that had even this old Miss Clavel moving her hips and clapping her hands.

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Everyone Dances!

Delighting in watching even the smallest graduate keeping rhythm on a goat-skin covered drum. Sharing in the parents’ pride in their children, particularly in a country where every year of education is a privilege.

Keeping the beat!
Keeping the Beat!

Congratulating the teachers and staff for their love of the children and their hard work teaching them ABC’s and numbers in Swahili. And finally, loving the Sisters of St. Joseph who work so hard each and every day in an adopted culture to support the dream of universal education for Tanzanian children. All culminates in graduation day!

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A Big Accomplishment!

The country, the language, and the culture are not my own. However, there is no better way to experience the one-ness of the human family than to be immersed in a different culture or place. Once again, I experienced our Creator’s divine dream to bring all into one family—and what a fun way to dance into this reality!

Proud mother with graduate
A Proud Mother and her Graduate!

Parents are parents, children are children, teachers are teachers, and Sisters of St. Joseph are all the same wherever we are! And this Miss Clavel will never be the same for it!

 

About the Author

Sr JackieSister Jackie Goodin worked as a librarian at the Cleveland Public Library for 10 years prior to joining the Congregation of St. Joseph (and is still a pretty good whiz at book trivia!) Since receiving her Masters in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University, she has held several positions as a Clinical Social Worker. She is a darn good cookie baker, and loves to read detective stories from around the world.