We Sisters at Amigas del Señor Methodist-Quaker Monastery have chosen to live in material poverty. Before joining, I had been inspired by Dorothy Day, who lived in voluntary poverty alongside the street people she served through the Catholic Worker Movement. Living on less means we use only our fair share of the world’s resources—we live in a wooden house with no electricity or running water, and we don’t have a vehicle. The 7 acres of land on which we reside provide enough firewood for cooking; rain and the stream provide water; and we walk, catch rides, or take the bus to get places. Like other rural Hondurans, we eat corn that we purchase in 100lb sacks from neighbors who cultivate it. It’s a lot of work to cook and grind it to make tortillas, but it is local, costs half as much as corn flour, and tastes a whole lot better! Locally grown red beans give our diet a complete protein, and we get vitamins from the katuk leaves and pineapples which we raise.
A wise monk once commented that it is silly to forsake marital bliss and take a vow of celibacy, just to seek fulfillment in material things. As monastics we give our whole lives over to God and trust in God’s provision and care, knowing that true joy and fulfillment come from God alone.
I was breaking in a new pair of flip-flops when I sprained my pinky toe nearly two years ago now. It was fascinating to watch it turn purple all over and then gradually fade. For nearly a year, though, I occasionally noticed an ache in that part of my foot after a long hike home from town. I thank God that it is fully healed now. Truly our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
I am still using the same flip-flops—sewn up where they came apart a few months ago. My only other footwear is a pair of rubber work boots. Life is so much simpler when I don’t have to think about what to put on each day—it’s always a white blouse and blue habit. (Though we do have pants for gathering firewood and other dirty work.) It frees my mind to focus on God and what he wants from me.
I thank God for this life and the exciting adventure that each new day brings, as I wonder how God will take care of us this time.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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