Fall 2022 newsletter
Kathy Bond and Flávio Rocha, Brazil
Nonviolence is a phenomenal witness to a world that is hungry for a new way to relate to each other. It’s a spirituality, it’s a way of life, it’s a global ethic. Our choice of nonviolence puts us in harmony with a world shift and joins us to many other groups and individuals that are embracing nonviolence and working to build a more peaceful world.
—Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International and former director of Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns
Greetings from João Pessoa.
We are welcoming spring here, as flowers and trees are blooming, the heavy rains subside and temperatures slowly start to heat up.
Being in mission requires being flexible to the needs and invitations that appear along the way. I have been working with women for many years, but the pandemic brought many needs for all generations, especially related to mental health. With this in mind, Flávio and I started facilitating retreats two years ago at AFYA Holistic Center.
In this process, we noticed that very few young people attended, even though anxiety levels have been high for their age group. Therefore, last month we decided to experiment with a day retreat for young people that included group dynamics, journaling, body and breathing exercises and theater games to open up a space to reflect and develop strategies for life objectives.
Plans are already under way for another gathering in January, which is a vacation month here.
Last March Maryknoll Lay Missioners decided to focus our ministries on the theme of nonviolence. I see my ministry as opening up spaces for people to connect more with their essence through work with movement, conscious breathing and spirituality discovery. On this path of self-awareness and self-actualization, I believe we have the potential to be more of our best selves, which has a positive ripple effect on our relationships with self, other and nature. In this journey together, through retreats, courses and classes, we strive to be part of the “new way” in Marie Dennis’ quote above. Together we are, as she beautifully states, “embracing nonviolence and working to build a more peaceful world.”
This year I tried something that I have been dreaming of for years: theater workshops for elderly people. In August I finished my second, four-week theater course for people over 60 years, with one more coming in October. My objective is not to create a group, but to get them outside of their houses after two very difficult years.
So far, the experience has been wonderful. We meet at Afya Holistic Center on Friday afternoons, doing games, telling stories, performing skits based on their reflections and laughing. It has been a real pleasure to spend those afternoons with them.
I also continue with my Theater of the Oppressed Group, The Right to Dream. We have presented our play on violence against women in many venues over the past few months. In July, we did a presentation for more than two hundred people at a public school, and in August we did two presentations at a women’s association and in downtown João Pessoa that generated lots of ideas on how to prevent and seek solutions to violence against women in a nonviolent way.
On a family note, Maya graduates from high school in November and has started the college application process. Kathy and Maya were able to visit many schools in July. As parents we are happy for her but preparing ourselves for the big changes in our lives in 2023.
We ask your prayers for Brazil, as we will have a very crucial election on Oct. 2. The president, governors and parliaments are all elected that day, and we hope for better days in Brazil.
Thank you for your support for our ministries.
Love, Flávio and Kathy
Please consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity!