Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am just back from Cameroon.

It is true, I did time my visit and return to be sure to be home for Thanksgiving – a bit selfish to be sure – it is my favorite holiday.   Not because of the food, even though that is really great, and I love being with my family and will take any reason to do so – so yes that is part of why I love this so much.

It is also because I love the fact that we come together to celebrate what I believe is the most important quality we can strive to embody, gratitude. 

With an old friend, Sr. Xaveria
At Mass last week the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda Archdioces, Bishop Agapitus’ homily stressed exactly that.  I met our Mission Doctors who are filled with gratitude, I met their patients who light up as our doctor makes rounds, thanking them each time they move to the next bed. I visited with Bishops, priests and religious brothers and sisters who continue to express their thanks for the presence of our missionaries in the country since the 1960’s! 

I am almost unable to contain how grateful I feel to have the opportunity to visit with these amazing individuals, witness their faith, their joy and their sense of thankfulness.
May the gratitude that can fill our hearts pour out in ways that multiply the grace we have received.  Wishing everyone a very blessed Thanksgiving.

“ is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” 
Brother David Steindl-Rast,  O.S.B. 
Catholic Theologian 

Monday, October 15, 2012

4th year and counting….

For four years now, Mission Doctors Association has worked with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to sponsor and host the ‘White Mass’ for the feast of St. Luke, and opportunity to celebrate and thank Catholic healthcare providers.

Each year this celebration has grown.  For the past three years we celebrated together at Holy Family in South Pasadena.  The Parish graciously welcomed us and we cannot thank them enough for helping us reestablish this celebration in the Archdiocese.  This year we move to St. Jerome Catholic Church, and we had thought the Archbishop would be our celebrant, but he was called to Rome to be part of the synod of Bishops.  Bishop Clark, who is himself a member of the Knights of Malta graciously agreed to be our main celebrant.

One way Mission Doctors utilizes this opportunity is to recognize one Catholic Doctor as the Outstanding Catholic Doctor of the Year.  This year’s honoree, Dr. Andres Enriquez from El Paso, TX is being recognized for his work, not only in his own community but across the border in Juarez, Mexico.  His life threatened for continuing this work, Dr. Enriquez has found a way to provide care working in collaboration with a nurse at the clinic in Mexico.  Each year we are amazed by the sacrifices and generosity of service of all the nominees for Catholic Doctor of the Year and the task of choosing one to honor is always daunting.

As we gather on Sunday we do so; to thank, to celebrate, and to ask God’s blessing on all who are engaged in caring for us when we are most vulnerable. In doing so, they are able to be the healing presence of Christ at a time when the need is greatest.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Morning at Mayfield

"What can you do with three dollars?"

I posed this question today to an assembly of young woman at Mayfield High School here in Southern California as part of their volunteer fair. I was there to share with them the work of Mission Doctors and encourage them to get involved with the One Million Patients Project.

I rarely get a chance to speak with young people about MDA, so I was happy to have this opportunity.  Community organizations, ranging from food pantries, to Aids Walk LA representatives spoke for a moment about our respective organizations, and we each had a chance to invite the the students to stop by our table to get more information.  It was a wonderful morning, and I am excited that so many signed up for more information and to help us with the One Million Patients Project!   Hopefully some budding filmmakers will produce a video for our student video contest!

I look forward to being with them again next year!

Monday, September 10, 2012

No Coincidence

Sometimes I believe God really wants to make evident to us that, in fact, God is with us, really!

Wednesday, we celebrated a special Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles, to honor the 100th Birthday of the founder of Mission Doctors and Lay Mission-Helpers Association, Msgr. Anthony Brouwers.  He died nearly 50 years ago, but the legacy of his work is our work.

The reason for the location was, this was his parish, this was his school.

Msgr. Michael Meyers, who served in Mission Office and was one of his successors as the director of the Propagation of the Faith for 16 years, was our celebrant.  Before the Mass began, as he walked up the steps of the Church with his with Kente cloth vestments in hand, he asked me if I had seen the readings for the day.  Yes I had I said, and smiled as he explained to another veteran Lay Mission-Helper that the daily reading, nothing special for today, but today’s first reading was from  1 Cor 3:1-9   

…Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
For we are God's co-workers;

The ‘For we are God’s co-workers’ in another translation reads ‘For we are God’s Helpers’ and this is what is inscribed on the rings of all long-term Lay Mission-Helpers and Mission Doctors. 

In Msgr. Meyers’ homily he asked to see Addie Coronado’s ring -- Addie served three terms in Kenya having been in one of the early classes, going out first in 1957.  The words are no longer visible her ring because, as Msgr. Meyers said, Addie has been God’s helper for a long time.

I thank God today for the reminder that although we didn’t plant, that was the job of Msgr. Anthony Brouwers who planted the seed that has grown into the Lay Mission-Helpers and Mission Doctors -  we may be the ones who water, and we count on God for the growth because we believe;  We are God’s Helpers!

Friday, August 17, 2012

How was the trip?

Returning from Guatemala and Peru last week many people asked me “How was the trip? My response has been perhaps, surprising initially.

I’ve said two things emphatically 
1. How grateful I am that it didn’t rain in Guatemala
2)  How super grateful I was that I did not fall in the Amazon nor Napo River!  

Neither of these statements are to discount the tremendous opportunity to see Dr. Brent Burket and Dr. Jennifer Thoene and their four children working at Hospitalito – Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, or to meet Dr. Toni Lullio and Dr. Brian Medernach at Santa Clotilde in Peru.

Brent and Jennifer
Four wonderful Catholic Mission Doctors serving the poor and indigenous population in their areas. The  opportunities to meet patients, and to hear the stories of successes, babies born, children cared for, and to meet families in surrounding communities, this is ultimately the joy of the trip.  

My first answer, however, can be found in the fact that my last two trips to Guatemala were met with hurricanes, mudslides, bridge and road closures and even a volcano! So, no rain during the day in Guatemala was a thrill!

Toni and Brian
As this was my first trip to Peru I knew that the voyage to Santa Clotilde would include a one hour boat up the Amazon, followed by a four hour trip up the Napo River on ‘rapid’ boats. (Toni had provided very detailed information about the trip)  Had they not been rapid – I was told the trip would take 3 days.  It was not the accommodations, which were great, or the ground transportation by motorcycle taxi, nor the boats themselves which were very comfortable, live chickens and all.  The two docks that needed to be navigated afforded multiple opportunities for a fall into the water. For the ‘sure-footed’ perhaps these kind of things aren’t as intimidating, however I generally have one fall per trip, and I was sure it would be here, where I would get disastrously wet, be truly embarrassed, and possibly even hurt myself – though the last was the least of my concerns.

I am prayerfully grateful that I did not fall here, or in fact, anywhere on this trip!  So in a posture of thanksgiving, I am grateful for this trip ‘with no trip-and-fall’ and look forward to sharing more about the locations, the doctors and the patients soon. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Strategic Prayers

This weekend we gather our board members from across the country for a special two day long meeting. This is not our typical board meeting- we will spend most of the time making plans, accessing goals and looking to the future. This weekend provides a unique opportunity for us to step back from the day to day running of the organization and look at the big picture.

I'm sharing this weekend with you because we would love to ask for your prayers, We pray that we will be guided by the Holy Spirit to make the very best decisions we can for the organization and the people we serve.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hope and Healing

June in the Mission Doctors' office is always focused on our big annual print newsletter.  We are busy gathering stories, quotes, images and articles about the last 12 months.  But this year we are a little extra busy because our newsletter is being completely overhauled.  It has a new title "Hope and Healing", a new format and for the first time, will be in full color!  When you receive it in the mail, please let us know what you think.

We are excited about it and can't wait to show it to you!  It goes to press today, but here is a sneak peak for my blog followers.

If you would like a copy for yourself, please drop me a line and we would be happy to send one over to you.

Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Paths to Mission

Well the 2012 formation class is completed, they are commissioned and either packing their bags for Tanzania or Texas. We are already starting a discernment weekend for those interested in joining the 2013 class.

Enrique and Carolina Wulff will be flying from their son's home in New York to start their three year mission in Tanzania.  Chris and Maya Powers and family are taking slightly different route to Mission.  After leaving their jobs, and stopping in Louisiana to visit Maya’s parents, before starting the formation, they learned that this mission would not be as a family of 5, but rather a family of 6.  Their newest family member will be joining the family in August, so another short detour before they head off to Tanzania with Joshua, Madison, Carolina and baby boy (yet to be named) Powers! Please keep them in your prayers as their path leads first to Texas, where Chris will be working, acknowledging that God’s plans are ever unfolding!  On their blog, Powers Family Mission, you can follow this unfolding path all the way to Tanzania!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I realize that I've been neglecting my blog, and when I remind our doctors how important it is to keep their content updated, I must practice what I preach!  But, I've been busy running around, so here is what has been keeping me busy this spring.

We wrapped up March with three of our biggest events of the year.  The Religious Education Congress, annual Retreat/Seminar and our Appreciation Mass and Brunch.

We took pictures!  At this years RE Congress in Anaheim people from across the country stopped by to be "One in a Million" and let us add their smiling faces to our website.  You can be added there too, check the web site to learn more and view these pictures.

This year was the 15th annual Retreat/ Seminar for doctors interested in serving short term with MDA at Loyola Marymount. We spent the weekend sharing and praying with veteran mission doctors and   those who came to learn more about the opportunities.  Plans are already in the works for some of their service.

We ended the weekend with the Appreciation Mass and Brunch with the supporters and friends of MDA joining us for a Palm Sunday Mass at LMU's Sacred Heart Chapel followed by a lovely brunch.  We all enjoyed hearing from the Retreat/ Seminar speakers and attendees, and the Auxiliary presented the fruit of a year's labor. (More about this in the upcoming newsletter!)

Of course this is in addition to the doctors preparing for long-term service to Tanzania, many of our doctors serving short-term since the first of the year in Ecuador, Honduras and Cameroon.

So this week we are hoping for time to unpack some boxes, before the next exciting round of events and opportunities!   What is keeping you busy this spring?

2012 Retreat/Seminar

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What are you doing March 23-25?

If you are like 40,000 Catholics from across the country and around the world you will be traveling to Anaheim for the annual Religious Education Congress or as a friend of mine lovingly calls it the Catholic state fair.   We in the Mission Doctors office can’t miss this opportunity to share our work with at the nation’s largest annual gathering of Catholics!  This year we will be sharing the One Million Patients Project and showing attendees how to put themselves “in the picture” (details to come in my next blog post). 
So if you are going to join us in Anaheim, stop by booth 468, we would love to say “Hello!” and thank you for your support.   

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Photo of the Week

This week, we are bringing you another installment of photo of the week.  Well, I am actually sharing a photo from last week (the week got away from me).  It is an exciting time for the people in the photo, they are members of the 2012 class of long-term Mission Doctors and Lay Mission Helpers.  In this class we have a couple and a young family getting ready to serve in Tanzania.  I had the opportunity to spend the week getting to know all of them and I am looking forward to spending more time during the formation program.  Please keep all of these missionaries in your prayers through the next several months as they prepare to serve for three years at mission hospitals, schools and parishes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Enrique and Carolina

"I love my job!"  I tell people this all the time. And contrary to what you might think I don't love my job because of the hours of bookkeeping, or the long wire transfer forms, or even the travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world.  I love my job because of the people I get to work with and for, the amazing doctors and donors that are doing this work and making it possible.

I wanted to use this week's blog to introduce you two of the newest members of this group, Enrique and Carolina.  Dr. Enrique Wulff and Mrs. Carolina Rojas will be joining the 2012 long term formation class at the end of the month and serving the people of rural Tanzania for three years.  They have graciously offered to author their own blog to keep us all updated on their service.  
You can click here to read all about them on their blog, Enrique and Carolina on Mission.

Friday, January 6, 2012

How are you planning on celebrating Mardi Gras?

Well it may sound a little odd to be thinking about a celebrating Mardi Gras during the Christmas season, but around the office plans for our Mardi Gras celebration are well underway. This year we will be hosting our annual Mission Doctors Auxiliary benefit with a Mardi Gras Celebration at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles.

Join us February 18, 2012 for a fun evening of cocktails, fine dining, dancing, and a silent auction to benefit Mission Doctors.  All of the proceeds will support the work of Mission Doctors in Africa and Latin America.

If you would like an invitation to this event, please contact our office.