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.

  • 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.

  • Dismantling Barriers that Exclude

    by Jenny Labbadia, Communications and Outreach Associate

    Can we love those that we disagree with?

    Recently, this was the focus of a mission trip I participated in to the United Kingdom. In Birmingham, Columban missionaries and lay missionaries work with groups of Muslims and Catholics, among others, to create spaces for dialogue and mutual understanding.

  • Hardly None

    by Ruth Coyne, Former Ignatian Volunteer

    The US Congress mandated a national census in 1790. Since that time a census has been taken every ten years.

    Viewed over several decades, census records can outline a family’s history: places of residence, ages, citizenship, number of children, occupation. Reading from decade to decade we can essentially watch a family grow up.