September-October 2008

A Life Of Service

By Caitlin Crotty

An American college student discerns God’s calling and gives back by volunteering in the Columban Catholic Social Justice Ministry in Washington DC.

People have always asked me what I want to be when I ‘grow up’. At age 10, I wanted to be a fashion designer; by 13, the first female president of the United States. I have dreamt of being everything from a high school English teacher to a Peace Corps volunteer. Now when people ask me what I want to be, I just smile, shrug my shoulders, and tell them that I don’t know. And I honestly don’t.

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The Gospel Amid Uncertainty

Australian Columban Fr Robert McCulloch was ordained in 1970. He served in Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, from 1971 till 1974 before going to Rome and Washington DC for studies. He arrived in Pakistan early in January 1979 as a member of the first group of Columbans to go there. Among other things, Father McCulloch lectures at the Theological Institute in Karachi. Here he tells us how missionary work in Pakistan means serving the love of God in a climate of violence, poverty and injustice. 

I would not have been able to sustain myself in my work as a Columban missionary priest if I had looked for immediate results during my 29 years in Pakistan. Year by year, I have come to understand that the real issue is to serve for the love of God, not to look at what I have in my hand or what I can count.



The Lady Smiled At Me

By Sister Redempta Twomey SSC

Columban Sister Redempta is Assistant Editor of Far East, the magazine of the Columbans in Ireland and Britain. Pope Benedict XVI will be on pilgrimage in Lourdes from 13 to 15 September.

In the semi-darkness of the confessional, the priest, Fr Romain listened to the little girl. Poor and unlettered, she told him of the strange event that had happened two days previously on the eleventh of February 1858 in the grotto of Massabielle. In the local dialect she said, ‘I saw something white, in the shape of a lady.' A good man, he listened without showing any interest though he was amazed at the coherence of her story. One detail in particular struck him: as she bent to remove her shoes and stockings to cross the little stream and join her companions in gathering sticks, Bernadette said she heard a noise, ‘like a gust of wind.' The priest thought of the ‘gust of the wind' at Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2. Was this too the Holy Spirit? It was then that the child saw ‘something white' and knelt and prayed the rosary in front of her.



A Japanese Gentleman

By Fr Leo Baker

Phone calls for me from Japan are rare, so I was surprised recently to receive a call from Mrs Murakami, the wife of a man who was my catechist from 1951 to 1954. She told me that he had died, aged 88. That phone call marked the end of a 55-year friendship with a man of remarkable personality and one of the finest gentlemen I came to know during my 35 years in Japan.

In 1951, after 18 months in Japan, I was living in Kamogawa, a coastal fishing port, where fishermen, farmers and shopkeepers made up most of the population. I had been appointed there after just a year of language study, only 27-years-old, to try to establish a new mission where none was there before.