Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Maybe the Thanksgiving holidays always bring back memories, but I am thinking of how often I took the natural beauty of Chile for granted and need to thank for that now. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world and I had the joy of living there for twenty years! I must admit that my memories of the first year are not all good as I went without knowing a word of Spanish and was given charge of the Middle School with 157 children; that was bedlam the first morning but I survived! We did not leave the very limited grounds but could see a park behind us full of lovely trees. Then, with the changes and working in formation and on a mission team, I did travel up and down Chile as a spiritual director who visited all 19 communities. By then, after having been head of a school of over 600, and having ten years in the school, I was more into formation and retreat work and found that I loved helping others. I look back with gratitude on those years, especially the last years as superior in the poorest region of Chile. We had a wooden house built by the priests next to the church on a bluff in Coquimbo. We could walk to the other side of the church and see the ocean. Then, a short walk in the other direction brought us into the desert. It is good to let these memories flow freely through me as they increase my gratitude for all that I have been given.