From Chicago, IL – Mission in Thailand 2010-2011,
Second mission in El Salvador 2012-2013
After finishing college, I spent several years starting to build my career as a professional fundraiser, working and living in a city I love, spending time with my family, and volunteering quite a bit. Even so, when I found Heart’s Home, I was moved so much by the joy I discovered in the volunteers in Brooklyn, living out compassion in community and prayer. Throughout my formation, I discovered the disarming power of a simple smile, and the radical hospitality that calls us out of ourselves.
It was during my mission in Bangkok that I discovered an even deeper understanding of this charism of compassion. I learned to stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary, in faithfulness, freedom and hope. I learned this most powerfully from our poorest friends, like Biw. He is about 8 or 9 years old and he often gets made fun of because he is a little slower than some of the other children. All of this is on top of the fact that his mom is almost never home because she is working, leaving him in the care of his teenage brother, who is usually getting high with his friends. Our house became a safe refuge for Biw. His suffering often left me overwhelmed. I am powerless in front of it – and yet, I can still hope. I can hope in the daily quiet miracle of God working in their lives and in mine.
Now that I’ve returned to the States, I’ve discovered just how much this seed of compassion planted in my heart has been blossoming in ways I didn’t expect. We want sometimes to be asked to do “extraordinary” acts of love, when it is usually the very smallest signs of love that we are asked to give. Every day I struggle to do this in a “wired” society which constantly tells me that I am at the center of my own universe. Yet I know I am called to be more attentive to the hearts of those around me, especially the poor. I truly believe that this is how we begin to build a civilization of love, here or anywhere else.