Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Friend Jeanne

Evangelina, a wise woman of the pueblo, and my friend Jeanne

True Confession:  I am not Catholic but my closest spiritual advisor and dear friend Jeanne, is.  She is a Sister of St. Joseph and is the most wise, kind, funny, witty, dedicated and bravest woman I know.  She has been a Sister since the tender age of 17 and marked her Jubilee (50 years) as a member of her congregation 2 years ago.  You do the math.  I will tell you, I was honored to attend her Jubilee; it was a wonderful celebration of her life's journey.

I can't tell you what the lure of the Sisters and Congregation of St. Joseph's is for me.  Perhaps it's their history which dates back to 1650 France.  Back in the day, they were lace makers.  Maybe the lure is just my friendship with Jeanne, though I can honestly say, I've never met a CSJ sister I haven't liked.  That Jubilee I attended was my first and I hope it isn't my last; the sisters know how to throw a party!

In January, Jeanne pulled up her stakes here and once again, took off on a mission.  This time, she went to Nicaragua to work with people in need.  I convinced her she needed to blog her experiences and here and there, she does.  She sends interesting blog posts and pictures to me.  I upload her words onto her own blog.  As determined as she is, she just can't get the hang of Blogger.  That's neither here nor there but just interests me.  I'd be bereft if she didn't need me anymore to manage this one simple thing for her.  By doing this, I continue to feel very connected to my friend.  I'm hoping to get her to write about some of her past positions.  She has fabulous stories of her days in Peru as a Mother Superior.  These days, she is focused on the here and now and how she can best help those suffering in horrible poverty.

Her post today has sparked something in me.  I want to buy the women she works with a farm animal.  Although the men of Nicaragua benefit from her mission, the focus of her mission is primarily on the women in her community.  I'm hoping she'll tell me how to go about this purchase.  I'm thinking, something that can earn its keep.  A critter that would give milk and offspring.  And wool.  A sheep!  Yes, I want to buy  sheep.  I don't know how much sheep cost in Nicaragua and I'm hoping it's in my budget.   It would be nice to buy a boy and a girl because offspring would be tough without both.  If it isn't affordable, well, I'm not unused to raising money for such worthwhile organizations.  I've been known to throw some pretty fabulous bake sales.  She needs to let me know how to go about this and I'll go about the scrounging part.

So Jeanne, what say you?


Jeanne said...

Ruth, my friend, you embarrass me!! No saint am I, just a woman who has been blessed with many, many rich opportunities and a wonderful ride in life as a CSJ and before! I was blessed from the beginning with incredible parents and a multitude of friends who have loved me and accompanied me all these 70 years!
Now, one correction - I was never a "Mother Superior". God forbid!

I really appreciate you being my 'blog mistress' and haven't even tried to learn how to do it. You're an 'enabler'!!

Concerning the "animal projects": I hate to tell you this but - in Nicaragua we don't raise sheep because of the tropical climate. We have "hairless" goats from Africa who are able to handle the heat. They are called pelibuey. However, being hairless, they don't produce "yarn"! We do help people with pregnant cows, chickens and seeds -which they pay back over time-30% of the original cost. The money they repay goes to their local community and a committee determines the priority of needs that this money can be used for.
Pregnant cows are going for $600.00, five chickens and a rooster with fencing and screening are $200.00 and 100 pounds of beans or 100 pounds of corn are $100.00.
I'm sorry about the sheep/goat situation but you wouldn't want to be a sheep with a wool coat in this climate. It's HOT!

Rudee said...

What is the reason for embarrassment? It's all true and how I think of you. You're loved.

aw now, you may not have been Mother Superior but I bet you ran the joint! Probably better! You need to tell stories of that time in your life--i know a piece of your heart is still in Peru.

I'm disappointed they don't have sheep but I understand about the heat issues. And really, what good is hairless sheep? Chickens don't really appeal to me but I'm sure they do to your community. And they produce! I'll work on the chickens and a pregnant cow. I haven't twisted bake sale arms in a long time but I bet it can be arranged!

Anonymous said...

O.K. O.K. you win this round! Thanks for being "friend" in the very best sense of that word! You just need one more activity in your life, don't you!?

You know, maybe some day I'll start jotting down some of the Peruvian experiences. There were a few of them over those almost 12 years!

Take gentle care.
Love, your sister, Jeanne