Dear Relatives and Friends,
When I came to the computer to write this Christmas letter, I admit I stared at a blank screen. What could I say and add Merry Christmas after a second Christmas of pandemic, our government still in disarray, much of the world not at peace, children dying prematurely in our classrooms, typhoons. etc.? Suddenly, I heard a small voice within me say, “Fear not, I am with you.” How often have I read these words in my daily prayers and paid little attention. Christmas is a 1 special time to remind us that The son of God has come to dwell among us. “Fear not! I am with you always “
In spite of the pandemic and its quarantine regulations, our Congregation was finally able to hold its overdue General Assembly.
Much of the preliminary work was done on Zoom with people still in their missions all over the world. The General Assembly requires the election of new leadership. Our election results reflect some of the changes that have happened in the community during the past six years. Our new president is American, not yet 60 years old and a graduate of West Point. Our Vice-President is Filipina. The other two members are one Filipina and one Zimbabwean which nicely reflects our younger membership.
We also had a “first” this year: our computers were all hacked leaving our offices and everyone on the Maryknoll domain with no access to the internet for several days. We certainly realized how very dependent we have become on technology to keep in touch with our families, friends and the world in general.
For some years, members of my family in Canada, especially, had been after me to write something of my life. I had left Canada as a little child, and although I knew my nine siblings, I had now survived them all. So, I began writing. I realized I had lived a wonderful, long life and had so much to be grateful for. I understood much better “Fear not I am with you.” This “task” made me reflect on the wonderful people of so many races and nationalities I had gotten to know and love, so much of God’s beautiful world I had been fortunate to see and the wonderful work I had been privileged to participate in.
In March of this year, I took a “giant” step. After working in our general secretariat since my return from Hong Kong over ten years ago, I moved into our residential 2 care unit. I had been suffering from osteoarthritis from a disintegrating hip. Nothing brought relief. When I asked for the possibility of an operation, every doctor said, “Don’t even think about it.” The reason given is that I was too old. On January 9, 2022, I will be 99! No doctor would risk it. That left me with no choice but with a little time of my hands.
I realized also that time had come for me to face the reality that God now had other plans for me. I finished the little memoir but I have one regret. My niece Andrée, who had been most enthusiastic about this “project, “died after a very short illness before I completed the work.
The Maryknoll Sisters arrived in Hong Kong 100 years ago this year. A wonderful celebration had been planned and all of us who had worked there, and were still alive, had planned to return too Hong Kong for the occasion. Instead, of course, we were on our computers watching the Mass streamed throughout the world.
My wish and prayer for you at this time is that God will keep you “steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and untiring in love”. May you and all your loved ones escape the virus and all its variants. May you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.