This Lent, let us offer healing and hope - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Doña Evarista and family

Doña Evarista and her family live 12,000 feet high up in the Bolivian Andes. Four of her seven children have a disability, and her family has benefitted from assistance provided by Maryknoll lay missioners Filo Siles and Joe Loney and their team.

Dear friends,

Violence can take many forms. Each day on the news, we see violence and conflict that destroys lives and communities.

But there are other forms of violence we also see: When we discriminate, when we ignore the needs of the disadvantaged, when we isolate those who are blind or deaf or physically disabled, these forms of violence harm the body, soul and spirit.

This Lenten season, I am reflecting on our shared commitment to nonviolence. I am thinking about the many ways our lay missioners are sowing the seeds of nonviolence through acts of healing, compassion and mercy.

And, as always, I am feeling gratitude for your generosity. Thank you so much for all you do to support our work!

In one of his previous Lenten messages, Pope Francis wrote, “God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn.”

Perhaps, this Lenten season, you will join me in supporting actions of compassion and mercy in your own community, and around the world.

Please consider a Lenten gift today. While we may make sacrifices during Lent, I do not think of charity as a sacrifice. For never have I given to others, that I have not received some form of grace in return.


In rural Bolivia, our missioners Joe and Filo support elderly, impoverished and disabled persons, including children with physical and intellectual disabilities, and empower them to reach their full potential.

I have traveled to Bolivia and experienced their work firsthand. There, in the Andean mountains, I have known God’s love and mercy. I have seen people who had been isolated because of fear and stigma learn how it is to feel connected, to be supported, to be valued, to be loved.

I have seen a man who is blind find purpose, healing, and economic self-sufficiency through beekeeping. I have spoken with a woman who has one leg, who has been hungry, who now grows her own healthy food in her garden and greenhouse.

I have watched children who are deaf, and those who are intellectually impaired, gain confidence in their abilities. And I have felt grateful not only for what we can give to them, but what they give to us.

Last year, Filo and Joe shared the story of Edwin and Elmer, two young men with intellectual and communications disabilities:

“Two children of God taught me to appreciate the elation of participating where everyone is given an opportunity and is treated equally.”

It can be easy to take our blessings for granted. It can also be easy, when conflict rages or we witness inhumanity, to take these for granted, and think such suffering will endure.

Then we reflect. We pray. We give, and offer up ourselves in all the ways we can. And we know that, in all these ways, we offer to the world not only healing but hope.

Thank you for giving what you can today. Please pray for our missioners and for the communities where they serve during the course of your Lenten observances and reflections.

In hope and shared purpose,
Elvira Ramirez
Executive Director

Left: Filo Siles leads an activity for children with disabilities in Bulo Bulo, Bolivia. Right: Joe Loney with Rúben at his beehives in Tacopaya, Bolivia.

P.S.      Want to meet Filo and Joe, and get to know some of the people they care for and learn from each day? Please enjoy this video about their ministry in Bolivia. Thank you for your generosity!

Please make your Lenten gift now by clicking on the button below.  

And if we may pray for you and for those you love, please add your prayer intentions here as well. Thank you!


Elvira Ramirez
Elvira Ramirez is Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ executive director.