Saturday, February 26, 2005

Short Experiment Update.

First off, another mea culpa is in order for the scarcity of posting this week. What I wrote on Sunday still applies - things have been fairly monotonous here, so I've had less to write about. The kids from La Salette were off school for the second half of this week, so the first-year class had time to visit the men at Colombiere and to return to the nursing homes we worked at during hospital experiment in the fall. Colombiere was pretty much the same as always, albeit with a few new faces. Returning to Abbey Mercy Living Center was a different experience - I noticed the sights, sounds and smells as if the first time, and though I was able to speak with and get caught up with several residents I had gotten to know during the experiment the more surprising thing for me was how many names I had forgotten. Nonetheless, it was great to be back for a visit.

The title of this post promises an update on my planning for Short Experiment, so here goes. For two months from mid-March to mid-May I'll be in California - a state I have heretofore never visited - working for the Refugee Services Program of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Meanwhile, I'll be living with the Jesuit community at Santa Clara University. As happens with many novices, my experience of the Long Retreat helped me figure out what I wanted to do for Short Experiment. At different points during the retreat I found myself returning to an image of the Holy Family as refugees. I was particularly struck by the realization that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees twice over - not only when they fled from Bethlehem to Egypt in advance of King Herod's massacre of the Holy Innocents, but also when they returned from Egypt. I hadn't noticed this before the Retreat, but Matthew 2:22 seems to suggest that Mary and Joseph would've preferred to return to Bethlehem after their brief exile in Egypt, but since political conditions there remained distinctly unfavorable (Herod's son being a chip off the old block, apparently) they felt compelled to go to Nazareth instead. This insight led me to reflect on personal experiences relating in one way or another to the plight of refugees and fueled my desire to do refugee work on Short Experiment. There's a lot more to the story than that, but that's it in a nutshell. I should also note that second-year novice John Shea, an acknowledged reader of this blog, also did refugee work for Catholic Charities in Santa Clara last year and loved it (if I'm misrepresenting your sentiments, John, feel free to chime in below). As my departure for the West Coast nears I'm sure I'll have more to say about Short Experiment, but for now I hope this brief update satisfies the curiosity of those who may have been wondering what I'll be doing. AMDG.


At February 26, 2005 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only a few days ago I saw a young Jesuit on tv who is in charge with all kinds of migrants in Munich. It seemed to be a very challenging task. I was impressed. Your "law background" might be helpful as well, don´t you think so?
I wish you luck and pray for you. I´m already excited to learn about your experiences in so different fields.

Thanks for your prayers.


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