Sr. Paulette’s third annual delegation to Israel/Palestine arrived yesterday. The nine travelers are beginning their trip in Jerusalem. Here’s their first report:
Hello everyone from Jerusalem!
This is our second day and what a day this was! First we met Sammie who heads the Pontifical Commission in the Holy Land! He showed us how the Christian numbers have gone down so immensely the last 15 years due to the Occupation of the Palestinian land. He showed us some hopeful movements by the churches, but the situation is still desperate.
Then we visited the Holy Sepulcher and the Ethiopian Community of monks and nuns who live on the rooftop of this holy site. How beautiful they are!
Of course we had a tasty Palestinian lunch and then began to make our way up to the Jewish Wailing Wall and over to the mosque where it is said that Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. That mosque is HUGE and is made Of the tiniest glittering mosaic pieces on the outside.
From there we were bused to Mt. Olives. From this high altitude we could see how the WALL is snaking around Palestinian villages to kind of strangle their way of living.
Oh we also got a young Woman who works for the Lutheran Church here to tell about Victoria Hospital l on Mt Olives.—it takes in only kids and adults from Palestine who are suffering from cancer or diabetes–good work!
How varied the people we met! How hard some groups work to keep Christians living in this land of Jesus’ birth! How unjust to take away people’s land and their source of livelihood! How much faith and endurance it takes to live over here! ….I just keep learning so much….I wish you all could be here!
Much love always!
Here are the opening words from our Project Peace Newsletter for March. Please click on the link at the end to see the full newsletter.
Many Moments of Learning
It’s not quite here, but perhaps March has never been anticipated so keenly during my lifetime. This frigid February has brought about new feelings for me. I know I’m not the only person in this corner. The work of Project Peace has gone on—no “frozen” muscles here! January had emphasis on Guantanamo, and February felt like a training month for me. The children’s nonviolence skills classes went on whenever there were classes at Tiffin Middle School and Calvert, and I continued to teach about 6 classes of yoga each week as a great way to promote health and inner peace. Hopefully these classes have helped.
In addition, however, I experienced a great conversation with Ken Butigan from the national office of Campaign Nonviolence whose optimism and creative mind excited me to keep dreaming up new ways to promote nonviolence skills through the students. The work of Project Peace is never completed. I know this in a more profound way these days.
Then there was the transformation training for 35 of us Sisters here at St. Francis. This training centered on working through conflicts without judgment. All of us are urged to speak to each person as though for the first time and to always go to that person wanting to be influenced .
Exercising these two skills alone will wipe away biases and prejudgments before the actual encounter and will give great honor to the other person in conversation—even to the “enemy.”
I left these days of training so very GRATEFUL. –Sr. Paulette
Download Newsletter March 2015
Project Peace will be leading a delegation to the West Bank from May 5-15, staying first in Jerusalem to explore and interview Peace Activists: both Jewish and Palestinian. From there we’ll travel to Bethlehem, stay with Palestinian families, explore the area, study the WALL, interview organizations trying to deal with the Occupation, and then travel to Hebron where we’ll stay with the Christian Peacemakers while interviewing, visiting with Palestinians, hopefully meeting the settlers and the soldiers. I’m hoping to be able to travel right up to the border of Gaza also and visit the Jewish city affected by the quassam rockets. From there it’s back to Jerusalem or Bil’in, the little town resisting the Occupation and the Wall being built on their land. From there it’s HOME. I hope you’ll each consider the possibility of making this journey. The price will be between 2500-2800 dollars including air fare, and all accommodations, tips, etc. Much peace to each of you. Paulette
Last year’s delegation