Rooted in Love

Back in the late 1990’s, after a dramatic conversion experience in an empty Franciscan church in Rome and as I was writing my first book on St. Francis of Assisi, I was given permission to live with friars who served the poor in India, Kenya, Brazil and The Philippines in order to better understand St. Francis’ love of poverty. In an 18 month period I lived among the poor in 39 cities in 11 nations; the lessons learned from all that travel became the basis of a photo-essay book titled When Did I See You Hungry?, which morphed into a short a film narrated by Martin Sheen. But more important, it led to the creation of a ministry which put the power of film at the service of the poor. Twenty-two films later, I will be leaving tonight for Honduras to do a film on the work of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, an international order of Catholic sisters, many of whom are doctors. I will be with sisters living in Choloma and Marcala, both in the north of the country.

As I prepared for the trip, I spent some time thinking about my own personal journey with the poor, which pales in insignificance to the women I would be meeting, and wondering what more I could say after already having said so much. Besides, I didn’t really need to see any more suffering; images from my films still make me cry.

As I pondered all the suffering and death I’ve seen, especially in Haiti, I realized something that should have been obvious. First, my heart broke; then my soul awoke. When my heart and soul were joined together, I simply did something to try to lessen the unjust and unnecessary suffering I had witnessed…because the Gospel offers no other choice. Jesus certainly preferred being with the poor and marginalized than with the rich and powerful.

The sisters say they are rooted and founded in love. Of this I have no doubt.

On this trip, I hope to explore not so much what the sister’s do, but why they do it…as well as how their noble and heroic work has changed them into more loving beings, into better followers of Christ. I’m sure my heart will be broken again. I will return home on March 2nd. I will not be posting any blogs from Honduras as I travel without a computer. In my absence, I have set up a few blogs to be posted automatically.


3 Responses to “Rooted in Love”

  1. 1 Fr Liam February 19, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Every blessing, Gerry, on your journey to Honduras. If you are near la Ceiba, be sure to meet Bishop Michael Lenihan ofm. He would be so glad to see you. May The Lord continue to bless you on your Pauline journeys. fr Liam

  2. 2 Rev. Paul McKay February 19, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Traveling mercies on you, good man.

  3. 3 Stuart Robertson February 19, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I hope you have a fulfilling journey.

    > >

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