The Sister Parish group returned from the cabin in time to participate in the weekly Peace Vigil at the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge. First we sat down with Marie and John Braun, peace activists and St. Joan of Arc parishioners, to talk about the history and purpose of the vigil. Then we enthusiastically joined other activists marching along the bridge holding signs protesting war, the use of drones and potential U.S. military intervention in Syria. Afterwards, several of our Guatemalan delegates spoke to the group about the challenges to justice they face in their country from mining corporations, palm oil plantations and free-trade agreements that harm small farmers and communities.
In the evening, the Peregrinos (Pilgrims) gathered for pizza, camaraderie and reflection. This joint Sister Parish Bible study group has been in place for more than a dozen years. Every month, members in Tierra Nueva II, Guatemala reflect on selected Bible passages at the same time that St. Joan of Arc members are doing so. Normally they exchange reflections via email, but tonight they were together in the same room. It was a wonderful opportunity to look at faith through each other’s eyes and grow together in spiritual understanding.
Special note: Bob Heberle, a well-loved founding member of SJA Sister Parish and Peregrinos, was not able to attend this gathering due to illness. A small group of delegates and Sister Parish members went to his house earlier in the day to deliver greetings and a “prayer blanket” made by the whole group during their stay at the cabin – more than 20 people had woven prayers, wishes and songs into the blanket as a loving gift to Bob.