Continuing our series Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples, current missioner Annemarie Barrett writes about her relationship with the Earth, its presence in her life, and her ongoing conversion.

As a Catholic, my faith has taught me to reverence the mystery in myself, in others and in all of creation, to honor that mystery as the very birth of our goodness and hope in the midst of such suffering.

Working with the land while on mission here in Cochabamba, Bolivia, I have witnessed that mystery daily.

I have seen rock filled and dry soil softened and moistened by the work of a committed community, utilizing resources provided by our Mother Earth like manure and silt and people’s labor to yield a fruitful harvest.

Annemarie showing Franciscan Mission Service Director Kim Smolik the garden produce

In the midst of grave ecological crises worldwide, caused by our unjust and unsustainable systems, my faith is renewed by these resilient communities that continue to plant, to care, to harvest, to prove among much doubt that there exists great potential for resurrection, for life if we believe and come together to do the shared work of caring for creation.

Annemarie with Associate Director Mariam Kaldas

The transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist is like the Franciscan call to ongoing conversion in that both are based in communion.

Just like we come together to share the Eucharist in community, to share a collective turning of our hearts, so too do we share in community the ongoing process of conversion.

Coming tomorrow: Spirit, Body, and Earth: A Missioner’s Transformation by Annemarie!