|The Guatamalan-Maya Center|
Welcome Annaise, how can I help? We’re here to serve you. Bienvenida Eulalia, what a beautiful name you have. Welcome Rosa Mayra, thank you for bringing your gentle children. Oneida! Good to see you again. I hope everything is going well. Hello Juana, does your family live near to the volcano? Are they all right? Carmen! Is your family in Cali still dancing, still doing the samba? Nohemy! A surprise to see you. Dare I ask about your family in Guerrero? I remember the murders. How are your sisters surviving? Odelina from Honduras… Is your brother surviving the violence at school? Can he study? Alma, when I hear your name I think of the beauty of your soul. Welcome Mariela, welcome again. It’s always a joy to see you. Nicolasa, every time we meet I feel like your brother with my Nicholas name. Amany from Egypt, you frightened me at first with your stern presence, but you always soften. Your children must love your softness dearly. Bienvenida Viviana. You strike me as living vitally. You capture the bright life of your name. Gudelia, good woman, good mother, marked by goodness. Delmi, Karina, Francisca, Kellyn, Mariela, your names, once so foreign to me I couldn’t imagine you, now open a world not only for me, but for my neighbors as well. I can harvest your names for them. I can harvest your truth for them. Most of you bring the heart of Maya joining the heart of the earth to the heart of the sky, teaching the urgency of love. We live in these perilous times when the government deports or threatens to deport your husbands, but you go on caring for the place of your heart, the place of your children, the place of their hearts. You have seen all around you murder and the threat of murder. You know the precariousness of life. But no matter you go on living your trust, living your love, teaching us the profound depths of your poverty.
I will not compare you with anyone. But I must say you have found a place, a heart place which others, if they would only open themselves to discover, would cherish. They would follow with all their heart. And this is what you have taught me if I could only learn: lead with my heart, lead with my heart, lead with my heart.
- from an email by Fr. Frank O'Laughlin
The Guatamalan Maya Center