As the engines roared and the plane rose above the mountains of Peru, I looked down upon Lima a final time before we climbed through the clouds. Who knows when our journeys start, where they end, and what we will learn upon the way. Our lives are a mystery before us. At times, we may think we have a plan; we think we know a route to get us where we want to go; and at other times we may be totally surprised that circumstances take us far from where we imagined.
In reflecting upon the previous days in Peru, I thought about my family. I thought of how my husband and I had gone from college coeds to creating our own family; I thought of how we were influenced by the knowledge, wisdom and grace of the Congregation of Holy Cross; I thought how my family was unexpectedly devastated; I thought how my Holy Cross Family helped me pick up the pieces; I thought of how divine providence works through us, if we open our hearts.
The theme of family arose again and again throughout my trip, whether it was the Farrell Family, The Holy Cross Family Ministries, The Fr. Patrick Peyton Family Life Center, INFAM, Yancana Huasy families, or the families themselves at Mass and celebrations. Families are a prime focus of the work in Canto Grande. Families are the foundational unit of all of society.
The Congregation of the Holy Cross recognizes the importance of families in creating a better world. Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, based his order on The Holy Family. The Congregation continues to honor the pure heart of St. Joseph, Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Across the globe, Holy Cross aspires to create a more just world for the most vulnerable in society. Most often that work that begins with helping families.
What makes true families? True families are created out of love, faith and hope. Neither the sharing of common DNA nor legal procedures creates true families. Rather true families emerge from the opening of one’s heart to the gifts from the Holy Spirit. True families are forged through embracing one another; not merely those who are in our inner circles, but also the stranger in our midst or the stranger far away. We are all brothers and sisters; we are all God’s children.
God loves us beyond our understanding. He is there when we need him, though at times we may not recognize his face. He may be in the face of a stranger, a stranger who needs our help, or a stranger who is there to help us. Either way, when we reach out to others with compassion, kindness, and love in our hearts, God smiles. His plan is working.
Liz, her husband, and her daughter are all Stonehill graduates. Liz’s ties to the Congregation deepened after tragedy struck on 9/11, with the loss of her husband. Her mission to transcend evil through offering light and hope to those in dire need found a home through the Congregation’s work in Peru. Check out this article to learn more about Liz.