I had a wonderful Lyft driver this evening. He was pretty cool. First off, he was a safe driver. That’s a win already!
Second, the conversation went pretty well as soon as we got in the car. We ask him how his day was going (the usual chit chat that happens in these Lyft experiences), and he shares how his friend just moved here from Italy and how he is having difficulty adjusting to the culture here. From the obsession with cell phones, and taking pictures of food (guilty), to not operating with a collectivist mindset, to being merely preoccupied with one’s self…there are many differences that I can imagine one would face, upon finding a new “home” in the US. We then started talking about the Philippines, and our Filipino heritage.
He shared how he worked with some Filipinas in his old workplace and while they were nice, these three ladies just ran the place. He elaborated to say, “They were very friendly, but if they needed something done, we knew we had to get it done!” Typical! I asked him if they at least fed him well, and he said, “Oh yeah! Italians and Filipinos. They are very good at food!” We laughed.
We started getting close to our destination, but I asked him if he knew where Codogno, Italy is. Did I know? Not really. But I hear Italy, and I think Mother Cabrini (obviously). I then shared with him how “My favorite saint is St. Francis Xavier Cabrini. She’s the patronness saint of immigrants.” He then said, “Oh yes, Mother Cabrini! She’s great! She got things done all over Chicago!” He continued, “When I used to hang out with my friends in Chicago, and if someone was all trying to get people to do things, we would say, “Who do you think you are? Mother Cabrini?”
Immediately, I knew he was for real! We then talked about immigration and how Mother Cabrini’s intercession could be used right about….NOW. I don’t doubt for one second that she has ever left though. Which is a good thing. Not in a creepy way, but in a…Mother Cabrini is always ever-present kinda way.
Anything immigration related (i.e. passports, visas, travel..parking spots <– Mother Cabrini, Mother Cabrini, don’t be a meanie. Help me find a parking spot for my machiney!), Mother Cabrini is your girl.
Upon my move to norCal, Sr. Grace, MSC mentioned to me that there was a St. Frances Xavier Cabrini parish up in San Jose. of COURSE! I don’t think Mother Cabrini would have let me get away from her presence quite yet! Good thing – she’ll be with me for life.
So, naturally…I made my visit, and felt consolation that one of my dearest mentor saint friends was going to be around and celebrated at a church and a school. yay!
At the church, I sat in silence in the quiet space (which was huge by the way), and tried not to get freaked out by the silence. At the same time, the stained glass window image of Mother Cabrini behind me shone onto the altar, and it was beautiful. A lady walked in, said some prayers on the kneeler to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I continued to take in this quiet time. It was very much needed.
A move is stressful enough – transition is hard, and just like my friend said to me, “welcome to the secular world!” where I was no longer being welcomed into an intentional community like I had experienced with the Cabrini family through CMC and the last year, for the past three-fourish years. This was a new experience.
But, like, Sr. Terezinha would always remind me: “God won’t send you into the cold, without a blanket.”
I think having a parish named after Mother Cabrini is definitely a gift, and she is certainly part of my consolation blanket.
Here are some pictures:
Who/What is your consolation blanket these days? Hope you get a chance to look around and be grateful for today!
Last Friday, June 14, my cousin, sister, and I met up with the Nuns on the Bus, who were making a stop in Irvine, CA, as part of their immigration bus trip. In Irvine, these inspiring women (social justice activists in the form of Catholic nuns) were specifically meeting with Representative John Campbell (R) to discuss comprehensive immigration reform – here are his views: Campbell on Immigration.
The outcome of the meeting? Sr. Simone Campbell said they made progress in the meeting, and it went well, but R. Campbell said not everyone will be happy with the legislation in the end. Really? Go figure.
It was a hot, yet pleasant day in Orange County and my cousin, sis and I gathered at the offices of John Campbell. As we walked up, this lady was handing out signs so that we can hold them up and welcome the bus as they drove into the space. As we walked up, and looked around, we noticed that we were the youngest people, probably by an average of 20+ years or so. There were many religious women, many lay people, many lay people who emphasized that they were not a religious order, but part of a lay movement in the church, a couple of priests, and other supporters coming as far as from San Francisco and even Seal Beach, CA.
As soon as the bus arrived, we gathered along the sidewalk holding up our signs as other cars passed by. Sr. Simone and the others went up to the offices of John Campbell, while we waited outside. Because the space was considered private property, it was important for all of us to be on the sidewalk and off the grass as much as possible. Of course, trying to get everyone on board with that was rather difficult.
The close proximity that we all had with one another on the sidewalk indeed provided for automatic conversation to take place, and I met a number of wonderful people! I met a Sister of Mercy who lives in San Francisco, flew down to San Diego the day prior to meet up with the sisters, and was going to join the group for the duration of the bus trip. Her role was to record stories of the people at each of the stops and find out why it is that each came out to support the Nuns on the Bus. She also connected me with members on the San Jose Anti-Trafficking Coalition, too!
I met another woman who has worked with the staff at the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) office in San Diego, and she herself organizes Fair Trade events, as well as other social justice focused programming in Los Angeles and in other local areas. She even invited me to do some talks at their programs! Check out the site: peaceonjustice.wordpress.com. We even discovered that she goes to the same church I used to attend when I lived in Santa Monica. Small world!
While the meeting was taking place in the office building, us supporters took pictures with the bus, and shared in conversation: “Why are you here today?” “What does your involvement look like with social justice?” “Where are you from?” While it was a great place to meet with other like-minded individuals, I also mentioned to some of the women that we should organize something while we were waiting for Sr. Simone and the others to return. I wasn’t quite sure what, but perhaps hold hands and line the sidewalk? Engage in prayer? Sings songs of justice? I don’t know! But something. I wasn’t able to get anything lifted off the ground, but I think that would have made a strong statement – perhaps create a greater impact. Get everyone on the same page at least. Lesson Learned: just go for it! take the lead! I had the vision, but my feet were not yet firmly planted. Next time… 🙂
On another personal note, it was somewhat unfortunate to see the lack of diversity of those who came out to support the Nuns on the Bus and the issue. My cousin, sister and I were among the youngest in attendance, and definitely made up the majority of minorities. Orange County has a large immigrant population made up of Hispanics and Asian populations, among others, and the majority in attendance were older, Caucasian women, and every once in a while, you would see a male. Where were my young people? Where was the diversity? In no way was the Irvine audience a strong representation of the make-up of Orange County, but it was definitely affirming to see so many of the older generations taking part in this movement. I do hope, however, that members of my generation will wake up and actively participate in these efforts for justice.
I suppose the continual question is, “How do we engage the youth and young adults?”
I was so glad to have had the opportunity to see the Nuns on the Bus and support this issue as they made their stop in Irvine, and they emphasized how important it is to continue using our voice to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Sure there are a number of other issues that will have to be addressed with this demand, but it is imperative that we seek this reform.
Here’s their cheer that they taught us at the end: “Raise your hands! Raise your voice! For comprehensive immigration reform NOW!”
Continue to be heard and contact your representative today!