My experience of volunteering with Catholic Charities of San Antonio was truly one of “widening the pegs of my tent.” Beginning with the blessing given us before we left St. Louis, we felt your presence, prayer, and support every day.
Thank you! God must have enjoyed surprising us all along the way! How else to explain having sunset all the way to San Antonio?
How else to explain the royal greeting and gracious hospitality of the Sisters of Divine Providence in whose convent we stayed? Their friendliness and interest proved that age is no barrier to lively ministry.
How else to explain the spontaneous, unsolicited offer of her “extra” van from a woman we had just met? Without that van we would never have been able to help shop for the supplies needed to set up apartments for the refugees — food and all the basics for kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. We would not have been able to deliver gift cards to various apartments, in one of which a man proudly showed us the medal of honor he had received while working with our troops in Afghanistan.
How else to explain the gift of our being able to witness the courage and resilience of the Afghan people despite their anxiety about everything being new and the constant worry for those left behind? The patience and helpfulness to each other of grown men who sat like schoolboys during translated orientation sessions?
Nor would we have been able to load and take to the recycling facility the mountain of cardboard packing from the 100+ donated, unassembled chairs that the volunteers had put together.
The social workers and staff at Catholic Charities deserve so much credit. They are a friendly, hard-working group of very dedicated men and women who themselves come from a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds. They put in many hours, above and beyond, day after day, to serve the constant flow of families from Afghanistan in addition to their regular clientele.
Other Sisters who volunteered added so many “flavors” to each day, as they originally came from Korea, California and Philadelphia, Vietnam, the Congo, the Philippines. There was so much energy, good organization, helpfulness, initiative, and humor. I often heard echoes of the themes of our own Chapter Prayer: “the call of Gospel justice,” “those from other walks of life and other faith traditions,” and “in solidarity with Earth and the poor of Earth.”
Now when I pray “OUR Father in heaven,” there are many more of US included. My tent has been wonderfully expanded, and I have been greatly blessed! Thank you to all whose prayers and donations made this journey and ministry possible!
– Sister Martha Marie Jaegers, OP
Sister Martha Marie resides in St. Louis, MO, and Is engaged in the ministry of tutoring.