Monday, May 18, 2015

Martha's Commissioning

God, Our Father
we stand in this holy assembly
of which we have been a part.

We wish to answer your call
and that of the church
to serve people of different cultures
in other lands.

May we fan into flame
the gifts that you have given to us,
so that strong and wise,
we may love your people.

Then by the Good News we share,
all will know that:
“We are God’s helpers!”

We ask this through Jesus,
who sent forth His disciples,
and in the Spirit,
who strengthened them on their way.

Amen, Alleluia!

Yesterday was the commissioning of Mission Doctor Martha Franz.
In July, she is going to start a three year mission to St. Martin de Porres Hospital in rural Njinikom, Cameroon. And, this is the prayer she shared yesterday before our missionary family and the community of St. John the Evangelist.

I remember when Tom and I were commissioned in 1978 -  feeling called to serve, feeling sent by God, and feeling truly connected to those who had gone before us...
There was also another feeling, the anxiety that comes with such a major life change.
Moving to another country and culture so different from my own, we knew and had been prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

Please join me in praying for Martha as packs her bags and makes all of the final arrangements for her life in Cameroon.

As a doctor, the unique challenges she will face can be a heavy burden, but can also present the greatest blessings.  Welcoming new life, being part of the process of restoring people to health, and the inevitable suffering and seeing people as they leave this life for the next.  There will be days that will be heavy.  There will be days that are only filled with obvious blessings.

My prayer for Martha and for every missionary is that on balance we can all reflect on our experience as life giving, life changing and an experience that we will carry forward for the rest of our lives.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day here in the US.  We may think of greeting cards, flowers, breakfast in bed, dinner at a nice restaurant, all opportunities to say thank you to mom, grandmothers and those who have given the kind of love most often associated with a loving mother.  Many of us remember mothers who are no longer with us, a time of bittersweet joy - we remember them with love, laughter - and feel again the twinge of pain of the loss no matter how many years have passed.
Personally - as a mother of four - and grandmother of two - I love Mother's Day but not just because I will see my own gang - The day always makes me think of all the Mothers and Grandmothers like myself around the world.

Over the years, as I have visited our Mission Doctors in Africa and Latin America - I have witnessed both the struggles mothers face in rural Africa and Latin America and feel a bond with them in their overwhelming love for their children and grandchildren. Mothers travel long distances on foot, wait hours for their children to be seen and then stay at their bedside - days, weeks or even months - providing meals, bathing their child and waiting anxiously for the opportunity to take them home. 

This Mother's Day please join me in praying for our own mothers and for all mothers around the world facing the  day with a child who is ill or injured.   May they find comfort in their faith and in the witness of our Blessed Mother whose sacrificial love unites us all.

Dear Blessed Mary, mother of us all, intercede for all mothers. May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love - the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.

On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you.
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.