• April 17, 2013

A Spokane Experience ... in NYC!

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.

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