I absolutely love visiting the Familia de Jesus in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. They have a solid life of prayer, well developed and very balanced personalities, keep the Faith and spread the light of Jesus Christ to all they meet.
While the trend we see in the US of A is towards more traditional communities, they are a charismatic community in the genuinely Pauline sense of being Catholic. I do consider it a problem today that most Catholics are unaware of the teachings of St. Paul and the Epistles in general, and the necessity of living them out on a daily basis. For instance in Las Altura above La Paz, home of the red light district, business thrives until Holy Week when the streets are empty. Confession does involve a firm purpose of amendment.
The work is endless. Yet we must be tireless.
Such is the Familia de Jesus, working tirelessly in la selva. A hundred years from now people will look back and wonder who they did it all, as we look back at the Daughters of Charity building Carville out in the wilds of southern Louisiana. the cure for Leprosy was discovered there by the way – the Lord works miracles where Faith endures.
Tireless as one might be, I’m down with a sinus infection to be honest, with bronchitis and a horrible head cold which was going around the mountains. La grippe. It’s the type of thing that if my mom were still alive, God rest her soul, she would say “What?! You have to get home immediately! You’re going to die down there!” It’s a reason I tend to be understated.
It’s perfectly true one could die down here. But that can happen anywhere. As we all know all too well.
That brings us back to our little story here. For the grand celebration happening in the evening yesterday, a team of cooks and sous-chefs were enlisted to help make the Entrance into the Novitiate of Sr. Isabella, and the Profession of Brother Maximillian as a member of the Community, a memorable and grand occasion, and a celebration of family. As Christians, we are really all about the family.
A lot of people attended, and the room was filled with many more tables and chairs before things began.
Alison, mother of Brother Maximillian, was quick to help with arranging flowers brought in from the property. Sr. Gianna and Jonathan soon joined in the fun. I don’t really consider that fun, which is why I was taking pictures.
But that soon changed because I gave someone else my camera and there turned out to be many photos of me in there which will never, ever, see the light of day. I am going to spend three years in the gym daily before anyone will ever borrow my camera and take photos of me with it again.
I tell you. It’s not easy being a Priest these days but one may as well make it easier on the eyes of the Faithful.
Serendipity on the porch. I am the large black object in the back left corner typing something into my phone. Eric, brother of Brother Maximillian, is obviously best of friends with photographer Gabe. And he was just accepted into the Baton Rouge Police Academy. Way. to. go!
Fr. Jose Maria, always a ringleader in the community being warm, vocal and animated, is here enquiring about Madre Agnes’s famed carrot cake. We can only imagine their conversation because I’ve completely forgotten it.
“It is my mother’s secret recipe!”
“Claro que si.”
“It’s a lotta work here, buddy.”
Mother Agnes is one of my favorite people. (Well, they all are, to be perfectly honest.) She and the Madres put together something tantamount to the Easter Vigil, with a feast to go along with it, along with every other aspect of coordination one must do to have such grand occasions.
She’s actually from Covington, LA, a mere three miles away from Abita Springs, and I had always heard about “the woman from Covington who had joined the religious order founded by Fr. Philip Scott, down in Peru.” It was quite a pleasure to meet here two years ago, and to see her again and visit yesterday. She’s recently recovering from la grippe, and as the hours stretched into the night she emerged with the cough again. It is going around.
But the end result?
A great time was had by all.