Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflections on Justice are written by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting Columban Missionaries. We hope these reflections help to guide you on your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

  • Amy's Winding Way


    When I was a little girl my family lived in a rural town called Indian Trail, North Carolina. We had a vegetable garden about half the size of a football field. Nights and weekends were when my dad and I would go out to plant, prune, weed, water, and harvest. We had to walk from our house, through some woods on a dirt path my dad called, Amy’s Winding Way, to get to the garden. The journey was as magical as the destination. During those hours in the field, Dad taught me about intuiting the signs...

  • Sunny Days and Stormy Clouds at the Borderlands

    We Columbans at the U.S.-Mexico border find our monsoon rains a wonderful relief at this time of year. It’s great for us, because rain doesn’t fall very often here. In the midst of the great Northern Chihuahua Desert, both El Paso and Juarez—host cities to our mission center and our parish—usually experience over 300 sunny days a year, making the sun an especially attractive and affordable source of renewable energy for our communities. Our own Columban Mission Center had 22 panels installed four years ago on the roof of our two-story building in downtown...

  • Drops in a Bucket

    On September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and a very warm, partly cloudy day in Omaha, I went at midday to tend to my 4×8-foot plot in the Columban Community Garden. It seemed a fitting place to reflect on this “Season of Creation.” My praise, appreciation, and sense of inter-connectivity with creation was immediately heightened. Working among the four dozen such plots in our garden, particularly late in the growing season, I am completely immersed in an endless array of flowers and vegetation bursting with various colors, smells, shapes, and sizes. Beyond the...

  • To Everything There Is a Season

    To everything there is a season, a time for everything under heaven. In these next four weeks, we invite you to join us as we participate in a global act of solidarity and reverence for Creation. Beginning on September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and ending on October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, people of all faiths across the world will reflect on this “Season of Creation” by deepening our spiritual roots, changing our lifestyles, and joining in a global...

  • Blessed Indeed

    Who could fail to be moved by the picture of the three year-old Syrian boy washed up on a beach at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea or by the more recent photo of a stunned, bloodied five year-old sitting in an ambulance, alone? Refugees, people forcibly displaced from their homes, and stateless people total 65.3 million people. Half of the refugees are under age 18 according to UNHCR. Worldwide, more than half of refugees come from Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria. Nations of the world have yet to successfully address the needs of refugees, some of...

  • Change By Example

    The Columban delegation from the U.S. visiting Fatima House.

    The Columban delegation from the U.S. visiting Fatima House. I am a quote collector. Whenever I read or hear a quote I like, I write it down for further reflection at some future moment. Rarely do I follow through with this intention but I keep collecting, just in case. Today, however, is one of those days of further reflection. As I look to my office wall, filled with post-it note quotes from Jane Austen to The Talmud to our very own St. Columban, I settle on a bright pink one from one of my favorite...

  • Running the Race


    Last week during the opening ceremony for the Olympics, a refugee team walked behind the Olympic flag and received a standing ovation. Among those standing for the team of ten, was UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. For the first time ever, a refugee team competed under the Olympic flag. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said: “This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this...

  • And Who is My Neighbor?

    he group of Columban affiliates I was with during our stay at the Columban Mission Center, visiting Annunciation House.

    By Victoria Ciudad-Real

    Victoria will be a fourth-year Global Studies and Public Policy double major at UC Riverside with an emphasis on social/cultural policy and urban/environmental policy. She and her family are members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fontana, California, a Columban parish.