Locks of Love
Those of you who have met Maribah probably remember her with long, dark hair. Following the example of her friend, Assistant Formation Director Samina Iqbal, Maribah decided to cut off 12 inches of her hair and give it to the charity called Locks of Love. I’m guessing that many of you know about this charity and how it has provided hair for many children suffering from hair loss. The Locks of Love mission states:
Our mission since 1997 is to return a sense of self, confidence, and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children free of charge. Most of the children suffer from the autoimmune disease, alopecia. Others have experienced hair loss from radiation therapy and chemotherapy, severe burns or trauma, and various other genetic and dermatological conditions.
When Maribah and I talked about this decision, I asked her why she wanted to donate to Locks of Love. What she said made me ever more grateful that she is learning so much about religious life, the strength, and understanding of community, about how we all could follow the inspiration to reach out and help those in need. Maribah mentioned I Am the Way: As we stand with Mary at the Foot of the Cross, we strive to bring the healing Spirit of God into our world, and we commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity. In this way, we participate in the church’s mission of proclaiming the transforming love of God. (#33)
The Intercongregational Collaborative Novitiate program stresses that novices become steeped in their respective community’s charism and also participate in weekly days of volunteering. Maribah is diligently studying IATW not only with me but with other Community members who enflesh these words with their individual Loretto missions. She also volunteers her time and talents to young adults who suffer from oppression and lack of dignity while trying to start new lives after returning to mainstream society. And now Maribah has also decided to extend that spirit of charity through the gift of her own beautiful hair to alleviate the “deprivation of dignity” that so many children suffer because of the lack of hair. I know Maribah has absorbed from her Community in Pakistan the value of helping those in need and she continues to manifest this precious and loving value now to those unknown children who will have the opportunity to once again smile and feel accepted and loved. For me, this young woman is a living example of Loretto reaching out, offering part of herself, and offering “the healing Spirit of God” that IATW #33 supports.
For those of you who might wonder if Locks of Love accepts gray hair, the answer is yes. While gray hair is not used for children, Locks of Love has partnerships with other organizations that provide the same loving care to adults. Something to think about in this coming new year. For more information on other ways to donate, check out the website at: https://locksoflove.org.
May your Christmas be healthy, happy, and peaceful.