Posts from Pakistan: 3.9.2023
The days fly by as we now enter the second half of our precious time here. I recently read a reflection of Richard Rohr’s about the “extrovert mystic” and pilgrimage. He spoke of pilgrimage not just being another trip but an attempt to leave our daily life to have a different experience. It resonated with my saying, before we left, that I thought the time might be a kind of retreat. Our time has been filled with visits with a variety of people and various community activities. A real additional gift has been enough space alone to reflect upon and absorb all that we are experiencing.
I have had the privilege of doing some small bit of editing of a book At Home with Sufism. It will be about 300 pages with 120 or 150 reflections. I am amazed by the scholarly approach and creative drawings.
A real highlight of our visiting has been the visits to Shaista and Saima’s homes. They are each from very different geographies – Shaista from the booming metropolis of Faisalabad and Saima from a small village surrounded by many green fields and growing food. In each place a group of extended family greeted us by showering us with rose petals. That happened at the school’s welcoming as well and each time the welcome reminded me of the welcome Loretto Sisters received upon entering the cathedral in Santa Fe. Each time it has brought me to tears. The families moved furniture around in order to make room for us to enjoy a lovely, generous meal. At Shaista’s I was not feeling well and I was whisked away into a room where one of Shaista’s aunts gave me a wonderful massage which enabled me to return to the group for a wonderful meal. At Saima’s house we were invited to watch one of the women prepare roti, a tortilla-like bread, in an open fired oven. Putting the roti in the oven necessitated her putting her hands in water so as not to burn them when she put the roti in the oven. Always, at the end of our time together we were asked to pray over various relatives in need of prayer. The last activity was always to give us a gift and then to accompany us to our car and wave goodbye.
I want to mention that we have all been doing the study group, created by Outreach. It is such a good way to share Loretto history as well as hear from each of them about their experience of things here in Pakistan. We began with the introduction from Century of Change and then went straight to the Pakistan chapter. It is also a great way for the two in the Come and See Program to practice their English.
Let me conclude with a few words about our wonderful driver who has spent hours on end transporting us to sometimes very far away places, even as far as 3 to 4 hours from Lahore. He is tremendously skilled and is the kindest of men. Though the traffic can be terrifying I have utter confidence that he can get us to where we are going without incident.
With love and gratitude to you all for the support you have given us in making this pilgrimage.