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What does a normal day for you look like?Some people have asked me in the past few months, “what does a normal day for you look like?”   I think most missionaries, especially in religious congregations/orders, would share that we do not have a  9-to-5 life, as there are no “normal” days.  Still, I would like to share some of what my days look like. 4:45 am. One of the students rings a hand bell in the halls to wake everyone up.  As electricity can go out at any time and there is not a budget for constant battery clocks, this does the job.  Bells are rung for...
A whole new worldOne of the great gifts in being sent on mission to a foreign country is the experience of everything being new.  There are new surroundings, new food, and new customs.  To experience another culture is to learn that there are other people in the world that do things very differently than I or my culture do; sometimes other cultures even do the opposite of what I have always done.  This can be exciting and interesting or it can be scary and confusing depending on your feelings about change. Recently, one of the novices asked me, “What is the most important...
The true VocationPerhaps you have already been accepted to religious life or the seminary.  You went through the long application process, the interviews, the psychological evaluations and are living your dream.  At first, it is  wonderful; You feel appreciated, wanted, and you are where God wants you to be.  This is often called the “honeymoon period”, but honeymoons don’t last forever.  Many have or will have the experience of disillusionment, as the charism doesn’t seem to fit, others treat you poorly/unjustly, or you struggle with loneliness.  Does this mean...
The 4 A.M. ArmyA couple of days ago I was reading an article called “The 4 A.M. Army” published by TIME Magazine where they talk about how every morning, hundreds of thousands of workers show up at employment agencies for jobs that no one sees, that are underpaid but that are essential to the economy.As I read the article I could not help but remember my parents who did this type of work for years. Every morning it was the same routine. Wake up at 4 a.m., go to the employment office, and sit around hoping for your name to be called, and that you could be sent to the same job you went the day...
A reflection on religion of all kindsIndonesia is what is called an archipelago nation, which is a fancy way of saying it is made up of many islands formed from volcanoes.  It is actually 17,508 islands, though the people only live on 6000 of them.  Like many countries in the world, they are also divided into many tribes.  Sometimes it is only one tribe on an island, and sometimes with the larger islands, there are many tribes.  In recent years, the Catholic Church has tried to support the Catholics in their tribal identity and where possible (usually once a month) offer...
Lent and Holy Week in IndonesiaIn this The Lenten/Holy Week time I have experienced a real sense of the Indonesian Church (specifically in Timor Island where I am in mission).  Certainly, they share similar traditions with our universal Church, like Stations of the Cross on Fridays, fasting, and abstaining from meat, but in this time, I experienced moments unlike anywhere else I have been.  For example, on the Friday before Good Friday, they celebrate the “thematic stations of the cross.”  In it, they do a variation of the stations where they only chose 6 stations for their...
 

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