By Kaeli Joyce
An hour after classes ended on a Friday a few weeks ago, Amy, Jordan, Mackenzie, and I drove away from Heart’s Home St. Ignatius towards the airport, and by 7:00 the next morning we found ourselves sitting around the breakfast table at Heart’s Home John Paul II in Brooklyn, New York, with a good portion of the members of Heart’s Home USA. Each of us girls had specific desires regarding our pilgrimage, and the week was even more abundant than we could have even imagined.
That first day we joined our friends for their various apostolates. In the middle of a full week of getting to know Manhattan, taking a retreat at the ICCC, and being part of the home life of Heart’s Home JPII, the afternoon spent visiting and praying with residents of a nearby nursing home is what I remember as the time of greatest joy and peace. I used to feel uncomfortable visiting nursing homes, because I had such a sense of weakness and inability to do anything. What I have learned recently about the value of being a presence makes these encounters make sense. Looking into the eyes of these men and women – Maria, Rosemary, Isabel, Robert – and simply talking for ten minutes or half an hour, I was aware of Christ not only reaching out in love to them, but also to me through them.
Our trip fell during Lent, and we were encouraged to see the entire experience through the eyes of passion and resurrection. We practiced seeing Christ more clearly in the conversations we had with friends on the street in Brooklyn, in some rainy weather and I-School at the ICCC, in Egyptian funerary portraits at the Met, and in daily prayer and adoration and Mass. One of our favorite places of resurrection that we found in New York City is St. Malachy’s, “the Actor’s Chapel,” by Times Square. In such a place of intensity and ambition is tucked away a beautiful place of prayer and restoration, a place where the actors of Broadway are welcomed to meet with the life of Christ.
Our mission here in Spokane was given new life through the things we experienced and through the friends we met, and we are so grateful for the gift that this week was in our lives. We continue here to live what we learned, and to love more fully because of the love we received in New York.