by Kathleen Ross, SNJM  –



Last August I received an unexpected phone call.  It was S. Johanna Jonker in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1,800 miles east of my residence with two other SNJMs in Toppenish, Washington.

“Are you interested in a volunteer?” she asked.  “I just connected with a graduate of some years ago from our St Mary’s, Winnipeg who’s looking for an opportunity for the next four months.”

“Wow!” I thought.  It was just a few months ago that we in the Yakima Valley got involved in the new Solidarity Projects organized by the SNJM General Administration.  We had identified several volunteer opportunities at Heritage University and watched them appear with appealing photos on the SNJM website!

Yes, of course we’re interested,” I responded enthusiastically.  “Tell me more!”  And that started a dialogue and exchange of information that led before long to our Kateri House becoming not just a residence for three SNJM’s, but also a joint Sisters-Volunteer home.

Maria Elena Flores joined us just as the fall semester started at Heritage University and at Nuestra Casa. She brought with her extensive experience as a social worker and recent training in teaching English as a Second Language.  By assisting students from farm worker families, she gave students new confidence and gained experience in ESL teaching.

At our home, Maria Elena learned some Italian recipes from S. Marina Rose, and assisted S. Charlyne Brown with yard work.  We included her in our faith sharing and appreciated her help with housework.  It was with real regret that we said good-bye in December when she returned to Manitoba.

I’m so delighted to see more information on the SNJM Solidarity Projects on the web-site and Facebook.  If you have a chance to suggest a volunteer, or invite one to your SNJM location, don’t miss the chance!

You can also help more potential volunteers learn about these opportunities.  Go to the Facebook campaign page and click the “Like” button. Quick, easy and the most effective way you can keep the SNJM Charism alive! Let’s make it happen! Here is the link to the solidarity projects Facebook page:


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