|The hibiscus is S. Korea's |
Off and on for the past twenty years, Korea has sent its Daughters of St. Paul to bless the U.S. with their energetic and cheerful presence, especially among thousands of Korean immigrants. Especially in areas where American Daughters either are not present or are not positioned to evangelize this population, these sisters have been using both their technological and spiritual creativity to develop new ways of sowing the Gospel seed, primarily among Korean-speaking adults, who have almost no Catholic media resources.
Their preferred methods have been book and media exhibits in parishes, as well as retreats that integrate the Pauline mission with parish goals. The latest stint began a year ago this month. To date, nearly 50 parishes have been visited, mostly in the Midwest, South, and Southeast.
The retreats, multimedial and prayerful, attempt to address some of the issues facing immigrants from the perspective of faith: inner healing, bridging the generational gap, and resetting priorities in pursuing the American Dream. They’ve been designed to help people rediscover the value of their families, regain gratitude, and recommit themselves to be the light and salt of the world, bringing light to others in the process.
I bet you didn’t know that. Even we’ve hardly noticed the tilling they’ve been quietly been about, unless we get a shout from the field. Such is the work for the Kingdom.
A combination of film and Lectio divina (a time-honored way of praying with Scripture) modeled a new way of prayer and life for another woman. “I used to complain about how little I was given, but as I watched this video, tears ran down my cheeks as those complaints changed to ‘I am such a happy person’ and ‘I had so much given to me.’
|Sr. Gemma Hong, FSP|
“After that, I experienced a different side of God, which enabled me to see a side of my husband I had never seen before. The Lord’s words led us to love each other more. I always planned to meditate with his words, however hectic my life may have been, even for a mere thirty minutes a day. It was difficult to keep my promises, and I was prone to give up after several days. But this retreat has shown me such an easy way to be with the Lord. I wanted to keep meeting him.”
At the moment Sr. Gemma Hong is the only FSP in that fertile field. Wisely she has built up an entire network of co-workers who drive, offer accommodations, visit local places, and conduct exhibits. “I can't carry on my mission without them,” she says emphatically. She is studying possibilities for these and other Korean-speakers in North America to connect with the Pauline Web site based in Seoul, so they can regularly use its catechetical and spiritual resources.
She hopes to remain in the States for another three years. For now, she’ll join us for her annual retreat and a rest. Then back in the saddle to plant or tend the Gospel in the mid-Atlantic states or on the West Coast.
Sr. Gemma reminisced over the past twenty years of mission in North America, very thankful for God’s providence in every “precious” moment. She wants to “visit all over the USA and Canada to evangelize with St. Paul’s mind to immigrants who do not have access to books, CDs, DVDs, etc., in their own language. I want to spread media culture that states that Christ alone is our hope and in him there is real peace, truth, life and freedom.”
|Back row: Sr. Majorina, Sr. Leonora, Sr. Margaret E.|
Front row: Sr. Patricia, Sr. Karen Marie
At the same time, our province welcomes the incoming government: Sisters M. Leonora Wilson (provincial superior), Karen Marie Anderson, Patricia M. Maresca, Margaret Edward Moran, and Majorina Zanatta. The secretary and treasurer are yet to be determined.