Missioner Annemarie Barrett on the Onda Verde radio show with Bolivian friar Efrain in Cochabamba

This week, Franciscan Mission Service missioners took to the airways to discuss nonviolence.

The discussion between current missioner Annemarie Barrett and former missioner Nora Pfeiffer took place on Onda Verde, a Franciscans International – Bolivia radio show on which Nora hosts with a local Franciscan friar.

“This was the first time I have ever spoken on the radio and so I am grateful that I was able to share the experience with two friends,” Annemarie said. “I felt very comfortable sharing with Nora and Efrain and really enjoyed the opportunity to speak about a passion of mine.”

“The next day I was surprised to hear that even the secretary at the Franciscan Social Center where I live had been listening to the program! We had never talked about my work outside of the Social Center before so it was nice to connect with him about that for the first time.”

The show airs weekly on Cochabamba’s Radio San Rafael, FM 92.3. We were blessed to be given a copy so that we could share it with you here.

The discussion with Annemarie starts around minute 28. Prior to that, the program speaks about nonviolence as a charism of the Franciscan family, specifically through reflections about the definitions of violence and nonviolence and sharing the story of Saint Francis and the wolf.

During her time in mission, Annemarie has lead nonviolence workshops for local friars in formation (including host Efrain) as well as for Christian Base Communities. During the interview, she shares one story that she heard at a recent workshop to give examples of a violence and a nonviolence response to a conflict. Here’s Annemarie’s (English) summary:

Outside of a school a group of cleferos (or young people that huff glue) started to gather. They were always there, writing on the property and essentially blocking the entrance. Anyone in the community who tried to enter was generally afraid to enter because of this group.

The reaction of the majority of the community, which was silence, could be considered violent. It could be considered violent because it only perpetuated the violence that existed in the community. It tried to ignore the problem thus allowing the violence to continue.

But there was one woman in the community that decided to approach the youth and talk to them. Just like every body else, she was afraid. But she decided to confront her fear and get to know these people. She took time to talk to them on many occasions until they were able to establish some trust and she was able to explain the effect that they were having on the community.

She got to know more of their stories, recognize their humanity and eventually asked them to find another place to spend their time, which they eventually did. Her response was nonviolent because she chose to transform the situation, to confront her fears and reach for the good in these youth.

Thanks to Nora, Annemarie, and Efrain for spreading the Franciscan value of nonviolence and for sharing this radio show with us today.

If you are interested in learning more about the nonviolence movement, then check out Annemarie’s recent blog series.