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Archive for the ‘Buen Pastor’ Category

Despedida

This is Madre Piedad, the latest addition to Buen Pastor. She spent over twenty years in Mexico City working with girls and women and now helps Madre Bertita with the girls in the internado. I saw her yesterday when I went to Buen Pastor for a special going-away lunch.

Yesterday, the madres collectively prepared a spectacular lunch of fried fish, guacamole, squash, spanish rice, and Madre Bertita’s special dessert. It was a delicious feast! They invited Katie and Liz which made it even more special, and gave me parting gifts including special silver bird earrings that are typical of the work here in Guanajuato. I thought I was going to hold it together and make it a tear-free afternoon, but towards the end, Madre Elvira got to me with her sweetness, telling me how I much I meant to them and not to forget them. At that moment, I realized how much I was going to miss them and how much I love them.

Buen Pastor and these madres have meant so much for me these past six years in Mexico. They’ve anchored my heart while revealing to me an all encompassing love that’s very much included a kind of mothering-daughtering relationship. And while they were thanking me for these little things, I wanted to tell them I owe them so much, for truly the biggest lessons in life: love and community. I hope they could see it in my glistening eyes, and feel it in the solidness of my hugs for I couldn’t speak at that moment. I will never forget them.

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Morena

Madre Angelita and I have a good exchange going. I massage her neck and shoulders on the sofa while she tells me sweet and captivating stories from her childhood. The cuentos take us back to a time in Jose Maria when she was young and had many adventures with her sister, Patty.

I was telling Madre Angelita how wonderful these days of May have been.  She agreed and told me that May is her favorite month. It’s the month that her sister Patty was born.  I remember the day my sister was born, she begins, it was May 10th.

That day, my grandmother gave my brother and I breakfast. I thought it was strange that my mother wasn’t there, and neither was my father. Abuelita told us that my mother would be home soon. So my brother and I went out to play.

Later in the day, my father came home and told us we had a new sister, Patty. He said that she was different than us, Morena. We were Güeritos. Her skin would not burn in the sun or turn red in the cold. She would be tougher than the two of us. At least her skin would be. I guess her hair was a different story.

Urban Dictionary

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Tuesday night was a lot of fun at Buen Pastor. The madres and girls have been preparing for a very special visit from Sister Armelle from France. She’s kind of a big deal in the congregation, and she’s been making her way throughout Latin America visiting all the Buen Pastors.  The girls put together a show as they sang and danced for Sister Armelle.

At the end of their presentation, everyone—volunteers, visiting nuns, mothers—were recognized and thanked for their participation in the Buen Pastor community. It was very touching to see this kind of gratitude and love distributed.  Even the mothers of the girls were recognized for their participation in working to improve their home lives by meeting with the psychologist at Buen Pastor.

Other special visitors on Tuesday included Sister Leticia, Provincial. She’s the Mother Superior for the entire Republic of Mexico. Sister Conchita joined the group as well. She’s the Mother Superior of the Buen Pastor in Mexico City.  It was a privilege and great fun getting to know them and what they do.

Sister Leticia thanks Pearlita for giving her a Buen Pastor jacket.

Soon, the girls took the visitors on tour to show them where they live. The special guests got to see their rooms, their kitchen, the learning lab and small library. Afterwards, I felt very lucky to be able to speak with both Sister Leticia and Sister Conchita. Sister Leticia exuded a vibrant sense of well-being that I sense around those who have dedicated their lives to a path like hers. Sister Conchita was animated and strong. She shared how she had carefully selected books for the Buen Pastor library in Mexico City. She told me of the Taekwondo program her girls do once a week and how important she believes sport is for them. Sister Leticia asked me about the Buen Pastor website and the flipped out her cellphone to take notes!

Sister Armelle from France talks to the girls at Buen Pastor

It was such an incredible evening.  Full of love and hope and collaboration to make lives better for girls whose mothers need a hand up.  As I walked back to the hill where I live, I thought that I am never more at home than when in the company of nuns from Buen Pastor.

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All in a month!

Thirty year old John Neff came to Guanajuato from Orlando the beginning of March. Since then, he’s opened up his own practice offering affordable chiropratic therapy. He’s also begun volunteering at Buen Pastor, offering adjustments and neurological testing for the girls and madres.

Through the Clinic Abroad Program with Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, John has made six trips to Third World countries offering chiropractic care to underserved populations. Now, he offers his expertise and thoughtful care to the Buen Pastor Community.

John’s philosophy is that the body has the power to heal itself if given the instruments that it needs, such as nutrition. He also includes brain balancing in his work which can help with attention deficits, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, and pain.  I look forward to seeing his work evolve with the girls and madres.

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Tianguis Ecológico

On February 19th and 20th over 35 participants sold homemade and organic products, and promoted conservation organizations in Guanajuato’s Tianguis Ecológico (Ecological Fair) in El Centro, in the building next to Teatro Juárez. Some of the products sold included:

  • Medicinal plants
  • Traditional Mexican sweets
  • Solar water heaters
  • Honey
  • Handmade objects made from natural materials
  • Natural and traditional cheeses and salsas
  • Organic and handmade soap
  • Art and products from recycled materials
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Chocolates
  • Organic coffee
  • Dehydrated fruit
  • Ecology-friendly diapers

I was happy to see a table set up for Buen Pastor! Madre Patti and Madre Elvira were there with volunteer Maggie.  In the photo above, Maggie is modeling one of the aprons that the madres were selling. 19 year old Maggie came to Buen Pastor last year and fell in love with the girls, as they did with her. When she left, she promised to come back, and she has.  She’ll be volunteering until May, diligently helping the girls every afternoon for hours with their homework and letting them braid her hair. She’s even begun fundraising for Buen Pastor. It’s heartening to see someone so young and intelligent completely involved in selfless-service. I am so impressed by her.

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Comedor

Somehow, I spaced yesterday’s Mole Festival outside the Alhondiga!  It was on my calendar… but after a morning of delivering a basketball, watching people dance in one of the parks to live music, and buying produce at Embajadoras, I forgot.

The photo above was taken in the dining room at Buen Pastor. I was waiting for Madre Lourdes to get off the phone by taking random photos of sun spots, chair legs, and table clothes.

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BP Pattern

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