With a student in Rwanda

At the end of February I went to a Fraternity of Jesus retreat in Kigali, Rwanda. At one point I was told that it could be interesting if I gave my testimony about discovering the community, the community life in the States, and choosing to be a Fidesco volunteer. Later the topic was narrowed to my experience of brotherhood and sisterhood (fraternity) in the EC.

As I reflected on all of these topics, my mind and heart turned to my experience of living the community life in Minnesota. What a joyful exercise to go through the memories of my journey in the Emmanuel Community: from the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome, to living the community life alone, to finally living near brothers and sisters in Minnesota. So much of it all has been colored by the brothers and sisters in Minnesota.  I remembered their support during some really difficult times in my life (vocational discernment, the terminal diagnosis of my dad), but I also remembered all the fun or informal times we had together (bike rides, dinners, weekly households, missions). They have truly been a blessing in my life and continue to be a blessing.

Evangelizing with brothers and sisters in MN

When it came to the testimony, I ended up sharing about how I lived the community life by myself when I was in Texas and Colorado, but then there was the joy of arriving in Minnesota and going to Anne and Thibaut’s house for dinner my first night and singing “Alle, Alleluia” to bless the meal. Wow! I was back in the midst of my brothers and sisters. I shared about the richness of those four months in Minnesota in 2009. I spoke about how I was supported by the brothers and sisters through a Skype household when I returned to Colorado once again to finish school, and how the desire to be near the community took me back to the frozen tundra of Minnesota after graduating.

In Rwanda with community family and housemate

That same desire to live near the brothers and sisters of the Emmanuel Community led me to Rwanda as a Fidesco volunteer and now it is leading me back to Minnesota where I will be a youth minister and middle school religion teacher. I can’t wait to find myself surrounded by the Lichty’s, the Kane’s, the priests, the single folks, and anyone else I didn’t mention. I’m going back to my family.

Written by Heather (MN).


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