Posts from Pakistan – 3.22.2023
Well, here we are with less than a week left in our wonderful stay in Pakistan. I am hoping that this last communication captures for you some of my lasting memories of my time here.
A FULL DAY OF GRATITUDE
I awaken to the sound of the Muslim call to prayer. I am grateful to be here among the Pakistani Muslims to share my early morning meditation, knowing that God is listening to us all. I pray for people back home who are just ending their day.
Next I don myself with one of the graceful and beautiful shalwar kameezes. They have come from the sisters’ and novices’ closets and been washed and ironed by the work of all in the community. I am grateful for the tender care they have provided me.
Always breakfasts and all meals have been prepared by these same people who show such tender care for our needs, “Do you care for an egg?” I am so grateful to each one of them as I notice that my medications have been placed in front of my place at the table.
The working day begins: three go to the school to teach, one goes to the major seminary to teach and the other juggles her school work on her master’s degree as she also takes care of the community’s dreams for the future of a new school and the community living spaces. Everyone participates in visiting the families of the young women who are interested in the community. They want to know their families and see how their faith has grown at home. They carefully prepare for an April meeting to which they will invite a small group of women interested in Loretto to experience their community life and ponder further their own possibilities of joining this wonderful group. I am so grateful for how vibrant and joyful this community is and what hope they are for the future of Loretto.
Afternoon tea is a daily practice and we sometimes follow it with a study group of two Loretto books NAMING OUR TRUTH and CENTURY OF CHANGE. Our discussions are rich and always connect with how things have and are being done here in Pakistan. Yesterday we had a wonderful discussion about how Pakistan’s neighbor in China had history with Loretto and reflected on differences and similarities with Loretto in Pakistan. I am so grateful to be able to have these cross cultural discussions that increase my understandings of how our Pakistani members are both the same and different from those of us in the US.
This particular day we have departed on a three day trip to visit the families of Samina, Maria, Nasreen and Maribah. These visits are always so touching, beginning with being showered with rose petals followed by a huge, extended family meal and ending with asking the oldest among us (that would be me) to pray over family members who might have a particular need or are soon to be married, etc. The last event is the presentation of gifts to us. We are wondering how we will fit everything in our luggage for the return trip. I am so very grateful for the amazing hospitality and warmth of these people. This trip was very touching as I greeted people whom I met twenty years ago when I was here, as well as children of the next generation. Often the children would dance for us or put on a little skit – always part of the celebration.
These gratitudes are but a few of the gifts which I carry home and will cherish forever.