“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:45

The women in Luke’s Gospel always amaze me.  The two I remember today with affection are Mary and Elizabeth—devoted cousins, faithful servants of God, and expectant mothers.   

Carrying the gift of life in their womb, the women prepared themselves for their unique calling.  They could not understand the fullness of their mission.  But they placed their complete trust in God—Mary a virgin, Elizabeth a woman well past her prime.   And like most mothers-to-be, they had dreams for their children.  Because that’s what mothers do.

Some of you know that I spent decades in Africa, most recently in Kenya.  In the week before Christmas, I am praying for the mothers and pregnant women I served in Nairobi.  They have dreams, too, and some are managing new lives transformed by the grace of mission.  In the waning days of Advent, I want to share their story.

When the pandemic hit Kenya, many cities and towns went into a tailspin.  Jobs dried up and unemployment in the informal economy topped 50%.  Then the government imposed a curfew and by 7:00 pm the streets were empty.  People who ate two meals a day were the lucky ones.  Among the people who suffered the most were the commercial sex workers and their children.  They had no food—and no money for rent, school fees, or medical care.

We found a way out of this nightmare.  In East Africa small businesses import used clothing from the global north that is then sold by local street vendors.  As I had hoped, many women were eager to give street vending a try.  Some even decided to band together as a group business for protection and safety.  Keep in mind… many of these women had been thrown out of their homes by husbands who wanted another wife or partner.  Their life choices were made out of desperation.

What did those mothers dream about?  Not unlike Mary and Elizabeth, I can tell you they dreamed about providing for their children.  They dreamed about a transformed world—a Promised Land—where justice overcomes hate, where the poor, the hungry and the abused are free of deprivation, where mothers can raise their children in safety.

Friend, the Christmas story about to unfold is richer for me than ever before.  I give thanks for the dreams that motivate people to survive, and I give thanks for those who participate in dreams by rescuing people in crisis.  May the birth of the Christ Child be your inspiration to share His love in ways that only you can.      

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Father ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lance Nadeau, M.M.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

O come, Emanuel, God-with-us,

into our world, our homes, and our hearts

even as You made the Virgin Mary the living Tabernacle

of Your glory and Elizabeth a sign of hope in old age.

Bless all expectant mothers with the grace

and strength they will need to bring new life

into our world, and the wisdom to raise their children

in love of the Lord, bless all fathers with gentleness

and courage to be models of virtue to their sons and daughters.

May all people work together to build a

better world where children are wanted,

loved, fed, clothed and educated

the better to reflect the divine image

in which we are all created to the glory of God.

Amen.

Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.

ABOUT MARYKNOLL

We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.

OUR GENERAL COUNCIL

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Lam M. Hua, Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.

OUR FOUNDERS

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)

PLACES WE SERVE

EVANGELIZATION, PARISHES, AND PROJECTS

USA

STORIES OF MISSION

(Africa) Education and Formation of African Clergy

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

Stories of Our Global Mission

The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier
“Go where you are needed but not wanted, and stay until you are wanted but not needed.”
– Bishop James E. Walsh, M.M.
First Maryknoll Bishop
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