• March 19, 2010

Katie’s testimony about her Orientation Program

Katie will leave in May 2010 for a 18-month mis­sion in Thailand. Here is her tes­ti­mony about the Orientation Program.

I was blessed to spend two weeks with the Heart’s Home com­mu­nity in Brooklyn for my ori­en­ta­tion to the life of a Heart’s Home mis­sionary. I was warmly wel­comed into the life of the com­mu­nity, and their hos­pi­tality was won­derful. While the slight terror of moving to Thailand for almost two years is still some­where in me, mostly what I am feeling is a clarity that God has called me to do this, and that He is most cer­tainly equip­ping me. I have a few more details about Thailand, which make some of the unknowns a little less unknown, but I also know that there is nothing anyone can say that will pre­pare me fully for my mis­sion. Since God has brought me to it, God will bring me through it!

Every day, we went to our ’apos­to­lates’ (one of those very Catholic words I’m get­ting used to now). In a neigh­bor­hood with high­rise housing pro­jects next to high­rise condos, there are many lonely people. We spent time just vis­iting with people, and I was hum­bled at how much it meant to so many people that we simply showed up. Whether we vis­ited a nursing home or spent time with a youth group or vis­ited someone in their home, we were warmly wel­comed and the visit was never long enough. But bringing a smile and some friendly con­ver­sa­tion or com­mu­nion to those who can’t get to church means the world to our friends. Because we are friends, and that’s what friends do.

One lovely woman that I met, whose given name is the same as mine, Catherine, left me amazed. In a nursing home where many people face severe med­ical prob­lems and at best average care, she is alert and has all of her wits about her. Well dressed in bright colors, at 89 she is opti­mistic and talkative and plays a wicked game of checkers. But it is her eyes that I will remember the most. They are so alive, so pre­sent and yet... so full of longing and lone­li­ness. She asked when I was coming back to see her and it was so hard to tell her that I won’t be able to come back any­time soon. I spent all of maybe 45 min­utes with this woman, once last week and once this week, and still she wants to pray for me during my mis­sion in Thailand.

I think when I started this ori­en­ta­tion time I thought that the way Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries used the word ’friend’ it was really in the sense that I often use it when talking about my friends from SPRED (Special Religious Education for People with Disabilities). Mainly out of respect for our dis­abled friends and to dif­fer­en­tiate from the cat­e­chists. But I’ve been dis­cov­ering that even if these friend­ships with Heart’s Home mis­sion­aries seem often to be friend­ships that are onesided, they are not. I’m having to learn all over again how to make friends and keep them and love them. It’s a chal­lenge! Because I’m pretty sure that Catherine and I are now friends. She’ll pray for me and I’ll pray for her, even if we don’t see each other until heaven. Because that’s what friends do.


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