Day 5: My Kind of Church

My hostess for my time in Mongu was Sr. Christina Mitchell, a  Sister of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate. An Irish lass, Christina was quick witted and always doing something of service. On Sunday after coming back from mass, her hands worked on our lunch, but her mind was focused on our conversation. Sister’s actions were brisk and effective, but I also witnessed her incredible reflections.

As I sat at the counter, she wized around the kitchen explaining everything from how they grow their own food to vocations.  She is currently directing two novices in Zambia and has much experience in spiritual formation.

“Kate have you read this book ‘Let your life speak‘, By Parker J. Palmer”. I said that I hadn’t. “Well, one of my favorite lines is “Being true to yourself and your heart is also being true to God’.” Well, a mighty big “YES AND…” to that statement!

At lunch, I shared with the Sisters how I ended up doing my year of service in Syracuse, NY, not the other more exotic places I had been accepted to in Ecuador, Guatemala, and Alaska. I knew they weren’t right, so I said no, but had nothing left until FrancisCorps fell into my lap.

“Sisters, doesn’t that sound like doors closing?”, Sr. Christina exclaimed. She was referring to the idea of God closing doors, and opening windows. However, we need to change our view in order not to stare at the option that is not open to us, and look around for the one that is.

One of my favorite things in spending time with the Sisters, aside from our illuminating discussions, was viewing their Chapel. Each important Catholic item is made out of local wood that was going to be destroyed. Sister Christina salvaged it, and hired a local carpenter to create beautiful pieces. Furthermore, I think she captured the best sentiments of our faith:

The tabernacle is depicted as a traditional Zambian home, with a village scene around it, to denote that God dwells among us.

The altar, using the beautiful wood that was already spilt into 3 branches!

Mary shown to be more identifable for the local women.

So, this was my kind of church. Yes, the Chapel itself was incredibly encompassing and special. But more so, were the people, like Sr. Christina. What a wonderful example of a faithful woman and a passionate servant leader. I am happy to know that Sr.Christina is part of my faith family, and exudes the best of our Church!

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