Photo of the Week - Week 25

Sardines, chocolate, candy, coffee and infant care items - one store's offerings. I am back in Bolivia, and after arriving in Santa Cruz and before leaving to return to Ascención, I was blessed to go along to pick up supplies for the Santa Clara Nutrition Center.

Photo of the Week - Week 24

This incredible work of art is painted on the wall of the church in Ascención. At first, it seems like a nice mural depicting three times in Francis' life. As I looked closer though, I realized that the three scenes are set in Ascención!

What About the Animals?

Hello! I am still in the United States, but wanted to show you some of the animals that are at the convent and farm. I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice my Spanish too - so here goes!

Photo of the Week - Week 23

Friends and adventures! Before I left for the United States, Hermana (Sister) Yanira and I travelled to Santa Cruz together. Hermana Yanira proclaimed we were going on an "aventura"!

Photo of the Week - Week 22

I am actually in the United States right now for some time with community, family and friends but thought it would be a good time to show you something that I found interesting. 

Photo of the Week - Week 21

WARNING! BIRD NERD ALERT! It was a big moment on Wednesday, but I didn't realize it until today! We were returning from taking some food to a woman and her two kids who live far out in the country, and both Sister Yanira and Don Gary (our driver) were patient and kind enough to stop along the way so I could take photos of birds I spotted. They both knew I was getting close to a milestone in my life list, so they were indulging me very kindly. 

A Fiesta! Dancing, Praying and Celebrating Life

This week, we celebrated the founding of the pueblo (which is the word for both the town and the people of the town) on Ascension Thursday. It was both a surprise and a joy to experience a week of fiesta (party). There was so much happening, it would take too long to describe it all. For now, I would love to tell you about the dancing!

Photo of the Week - Week 20

Meet Mia Mandarina! You might remember me mentioning a cute little baby Brown Agouti that stopped by the convent for a visit. Well, she decided to stick around!

The Making of a Saint - and Nerviness

Today is the feast day of Madre Maria Hueber, the founder of the Tertiary Sisters of St. Francis, the sisters I am living with here in Bolivia. It so happens it's my turn to lead prayers this week. I tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn't budge.

Photo of the Week - Week 19

I have a few official responsibilities here at the convent. I remember when I got my list, I was so excited to have some jobs like the other sisters. Doing these tasks really help me to feel like I am contributing in community. I help clean a few places, I help decorate for birthdays and on Sundays, I make the refresco for lunch.

The Gift of Memories

In my reflections this week, I realized that I have been blessed by the return of memories. I didn't realize I wasn't having them, but once I began to again, it became evident. I wonder why there weren't memories until recently?

Photo of the Week - Week 18

The skies were clear and bright as I snapped this photo. Admittedly, it's not very attractive. I still find it fascinating though.

Photo of the Week - Week 17

Welcome to May! I will be spending the next four days in Yaguarú, a special small town where the sisters minister Thursday - Sunday. I thought it fitting that I use the Mary I saw in the church there back when we went there for the end of Carnaval.

What About the Food?

Moving on to the topic that got the most questions - food! Here are the questions, and here are the answers!

Photo of the Week - Week 16

Look who came to the convent for a visit! Can you believe it?

A Walk with the Holy Spirit

Today, the Holy Spirit invited me on a walk. I grabbed my camera and we had a wonderful time. There were so many wonderful creations to appreciate. I decided not to do more than enjoy the time and snap some photos for you. Enjoy!

Photo of the Week - Week 15

Normally, I don't bring my camera along because it just doesn't feel right to be walking around places where people don't have enough to eat with an expensive camera. In my mind, there's a certain injustice in that. I had justified it during last week, promising that I wouldn't take it out when we were visiting with families, only when we were coming and going. Justifications only work so well though...

Felices Pascuas! Leaning into Different Pascual Traditions

Felices Pascuas! This is short because I am still in the midst of celebrating this Holy time with the sisters here. I have had a range of wonderings this week, enjoy new traditions, spending time with Sister Katie and missing the traditions I've enjoyed in the States.

Photo of the Week - Week 14

The sun was hastening to the horizon as the courtyard filled with the prayers of the rosary. 

A Day of Ministry with the Santa Clara Nutrition Center

I really enjoy my ministry at the Santa Clara Nutrition Center and appreciate greatly the work that they do. This is a description of a typical day walking the neighborhood.

Photo of the Week - Week 13

It isn't the best photo. It's too dark, too close and a bit blurry - but it's a favorite because it reminds me of a special time. 

A Lesson From My Week Off - And Gifts

I am back from my week off, thanks for your patience. An amazing thing happened on my week off from deep thinking and reflections - I ended up reflecting and learning anyway!

Photo of the Week - Week 12

After having a chat with God on Sunday, I am taking the week off. I am letting go of my obligations, deep thoughts, and learnings. 

Birds and Nature - Enjoying Bolivian Creation

Thank you to everyone who asked questions! I got so many great ones - I look forward to answering them all. Since I got to pick, I chose a question relating to a favorite topic - NATURE! - first. Hope you enjoy the pics!

Photo of the Week - Week 11

I have seen different art like this here in Bolivia, but the imagery in this one struck me more than the others. I don't know the specific historical stories depicted in this painting, but it moves me.

Delighting in Routine...and Your Questions?

When I am in transition, I long for routine. It brings a sense of normalcy to a way of being that is all new, unknown and a bit awkward. The structure of my days with the Tertiary Sisters of Saint Francis provides me with a foundation that is constant.

Photo of the Week - Week 10

Carlita is a young woman of 15 who lives in a poor part of town with her family. She has recently been battling leukemia.

A New Invitation: Walking with Intention

I am a dreamer. I always have been. I find that here, at this moment in my life, my dreaming is a distraction.

Photo of the Week - Week 9

The most popular mode of transportation in this area is the motorcycle (moto in espanol) and so when I first arrived and Sister Yanira mentioned that she normally takes a motorcycle taxi to and from the clinic to visit patients, I decided I should embrace this part of the culture here.

Encuentro in Cooking - Lessons in Life

This week, I have noticed the dance that difficulties and love play here. In the struggle of living in really difficult situations, mothers and grandmothers still make jokes and laugh while they work. A young mother who feeds her baby before herself smiles broadly when she is told how beautiful her baby is.

Photo of the Week - Week 8

When these beautiful women come to call at the end of Carnaval - it's time to dance!

Newness Abounds - and a Photo of the Week

I know I am a bit late with this reflection. You might be wondering what’s new? Well, everything! 

Photo of the Week - Week 6

What a strange creature! At the end of our time in Incachaca we stopped for Trucha (trout) at a restaurant and fishery. The sun finally snuck out from behind the clouds and suddenly, the place was filled with all sorts of different butterflies.

Poco a Poco - Learning and Growing Little by Little

“Poco a poco!” Karla, one of my Spanish instructors, said encouragingly as we slowly made our way back up the mountain...

Photo of the Week - Week 5

The road in front of the school has been under construction, so I have had to walk another way. It takes me beyond, to the other side of it all. As I've taken this way for quite a few days now, I have become curious about the area. 

Me gusta comida! Togetherness with Traditional Bolivian Foods

For me, food is more than just the actual dish. It is conversation, relationship and friendship. It is an expression of love from the person who prepares the food and an expression of togetherness for all who partake. It is a social connection that is formed around the table in which all participants are included and invited to share in life-giving sustenance.

Photo of the Week - Week 4

This week's photo comes from the Parque de la Familia (The Family Park) where I was invited by CLIMAL, my language school, to go to last night. A total of eight of us went. We enjoyed traditional Bolivian food at a restaurant (more on that another time) and then walked over to this spectacular show.

Discovering a Growing Edge While Walking in Cochabamba

A growing edge I have become aware of this week has become apparent on my walks. I rarely see someone that shares my skin tone. In my mind, I know that it doesn’t matter. Everyone I have had personal contact with has been so full of kindness and hospitality and even with the language barrier, they go out of their way to make me feel welcome. And yet…

Photo of the Week - Week 3

Rainbows are so beautiful and they whisper to me of promises and hope. My heart smiles when I see rainbows - they have ever since I was young.

Celebrating a Culture: Happy DiĆ” del Estado Plurinacional! (Day of the Pluri-national State)

Yesterday, January 22nd, was a very special day for the people of Bolivia. It marks the anniversary of their constitution. Over ten years old, it's a young constitution. To my understanding, this new constitution was written and ratified in the hopes of creating a nation that cherishes diversity and respects the needs of all of its people.

Photo of the Week - Week 2

I have to say, I had not intended to ever post a photo of myself as the photo of the week, but as luck would have it, being in isolation really limits the opportunity to take photos.

Compassionate Care

I arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia a little more than a week ago. The words I would use to sum up the time here so far are compassionate care. Compassionate care of me, what an incredible gift!

Photo of the Week - Week 1

Enjoy weekly photos highlighting my experience of life in Bolivia. This week focuses on the natural beauty surrounding Cochabamba.

Hope Reborn

My spirit lifted as I realized that whether or not I am successful, I am journeying “with swift pace, light step and unswerving feet” (St. Clare blessing) toward God and really, that’s all that matters.

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