I’ve been in Chicago since June 19th, for an every-5-years meeting of the Sisters of Mercy, at which they set the direction for the next few years and elect leaders (who become my bosses).
We’re staying at Saint Xavier University in south Chicago, and not leaving the campus much. I’m assisting with clerical tasks and so have to be on hand in case there are any needs. But most of the time we’re hanging out, so I’m catching up on reading and some of my regular work in the midst of meeting proceedings.
I’m meeting lots of incredible women, serving people in so many places and so many ways: a doctor who brings residents from Johns Hopkins to Third World countries to learn tropical medicine in the field; Sisters protesting against mines throughout Latin America; Sisters running homeless shelters and introducing college students to social justice issues.
Three events stand out:
Last Friday morning a few of us went down to the office of Homeland Security and joined a prayer vigil for immigrants being deported from there later that morning. Two Sisters visit and pray with immigrants there every Friday well before dawn. The next day, we joined hundreds of Sisters and others in protesting deportations that leave families torn apart.
We had a half-day off and took a lovely architectural boat tour down the Chicago River and walked along the lakefront.
Last night we had a perfornance from the Misericordia Heartbreakers, from a center for developmentally disabled folks, run by the Mercy Sisters. It was incredible seeing a couple of guys gyrating on the stage to a rock song, one young man belting out Danny Boy off-key but with all the poise of a famous singer; and then the performers blessing the audience at the end and the Sisters spontaneously standing up and singing back a blessing to the performers. Not a dry eye in the house.