Random Nun Clips

What does it mean to stand at the foot of the cross with people who are suffering?

Podcast Recorded: June 9, 2015

In this Random Nun Clip, we talk with Sr. Verónica Fajardo, of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, in Notre Dame, Indiana. Hear the full podcast at AS173 at aNunsLife.org.

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Show Notes

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About our Guest

Sister Mary Elizabeth Bednarek and Sister Verónica A. Fajardo

Transcript (Click for More)+

Sister Julie  
This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry.

Sister Maxine  
We're here in Notre Dame, Indiana on a motherhouse road trip with the Sisters of the Holy Cross and our guests, Sister Veronica Fajardo, and Sister Mary Elizabeth Bednarek. As we look at how the congregation, the community, calls forth things in you, and we match that up with your founders' injunction, "Go where the need is," where have you been called, Sister Vera, in ministry, to go where the need is? What is your current ministry now?

Sister Veronica  
I'm going to tell you a little bit about where I came from. So when I first joined the sisters, I was a teacher, a bilingual special education teacher and had taught in public school. And one of the reasons why I chose Holy Cross too, like Sister Mary E said, was because of the diversity and the opportunities to be able to do a variety of ministries. And as I entered, when I was a novice, I had the opportunity to work in another location in another state, where they were doing more social services. And it was my first introduction to working with victims of domestic violence, victims of crimes, who were looking for immigration benefits. So that was the introduction to another possibility other than education, because prior to that, I thought, I love education, I love teaching, this is what I'm going to do for the long haul. And at the same time, when I was exposed to other ministries, such as working more in social services, then it opened the door and the possibility for me to do that. So I did a career change. I'm currently back in school. And I'm working on a dual degree, a master's in social work and public administration. As we--the congregation and myself--were discerning when I came back from Africa, where I also was teaching--and that's where I was with Sister Mary E--I realized that I wanted to come back. And I felt that it would be wonderful for me to use my gifts in ways that were much more broad than just education. So in discussing it with the congregation, and in talking about, well, this is part of our ministry plan, that we're going to be providing services where the needs are. And I said, I'm fully bilingual in English and Spanish, I can work with people, and I really want to be able to do that in a different capacity. So my last ministry, what I was doing was I was working with youth, I was working in restorative justice center. It's called Everychild Restorative Justice Center. So it was helping youth so that they would not end up in the penal system, doing all kinds of interventions, whether it was counseling, home visits, school visits, providing services and referring them for services, which is so different than what I had done before, which is teaching elementary school or teaching children with special needs. And right now I'm doing an internship at Holy Cross Ministries too, working with victims of domestic violence, victims of crime. So it opened the door for me to so many possibilities. And I'm still being surprised, which is nice. I feel it's a God of surprises. And I'm still being surprised by all that's happening in my life.

Sister Maxine  
As you go about your work, and your education, what is it about the spirit of this community that energizes you in your work? I know that the kinds of work that you're doing are so greatly needed.

Sister Veronica  

Sister Maxine  
And very demanding sometimes.

Sister Veronica  

Sister Maxine  
How do you draw on that spirit that energize you?

Sister Veronica  
I feel that one of the things that our founders said was the importance of zeal in our life. And I find that in the Sisters of the Holy Cross, there's always a lot of support from other members of the congregation. And having that community support and the opportunity to be able to be with like-minded people, people who are very much in favor of justice and the works of justice--that's what's so wonderful for me, and it's energizing for me. And no matter what age group you are, no matter what country you are, I think that that's the spirit of Holy Cross that comes across from our founder, who talks a lot about the fact that it's important for us to respond to a need, whatever the need is, and that the needs keep changing. And so therefore, we keep changing. So the spirit of zeal, of mission, of hope, even though we know people are experiencing--like you were saying, it is difficult, it is challenging. We meet people who are at the cross, basically, and one of the models for us as Sisters of the Holy Cross is to stand at the foot of the cross with people who are suffering, not kneel with them, not lie down, but to stand with them and to help them to know that there's hope, that there is a resurrection, that they don't have to be always downtrodden. But for us to be there with them. And sometimes, it involves only listening. You know, that's a big part of it, too. So it's both the action and the contemplative piece kind of all coming together.

Sister Julie  
To hear full episodes of A Nun's Life podcast, visit the podcast page at anunslife.org/podcasts.


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