Sister Evangeline Salazar, OSB

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“I HAVE COME SO THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE.” – JOHN: 10:10

It has been said: “Life is a cycle. We return to the place where we began.” That certainly has been true for me. I grew up with five brothers and two sisters, speaking Spanish and sharing all that we had. We grew up in a faith filled environment where church and God were the center of all we believed and did.

I learned early in life about the Gospel call to service. My sisters and I fed the hungry when they came to our door and we cared for the elders in our neighborhood. Both my sisters and I volunteered to travel with the Sisters on their mission routes to help teach catechism to the children who didn’t come to our school. When I entered Mount Saint Scholastica Convent in Atchison, Kansas, I discovered that life as a Benedictine sister was a whole new world. The scheduled prayer life, the education and the community work were all geared for growth in the faith. I loved it all.

My teaching days were a blessing. I loved the children. I loved telling them stories, teaching them a craft and watching them at play. Joy always came when I looked into their eyes and saw a magnificent replica of Jesus. In my years of peace and justice work I tried to live the words I spoke. The poor and powerless in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia and Guantanamo Bay taught me the true meaning of simplicity. I have been privileged to see the face of Jesus in the eyes of the hungry, the poor and the oppressed.

My ministry in Albuquerque brought me back full circle to the place where I began. I ministered to the well-to-do and powerful, as well as the poor and neglected. I taught by example (I hope) that each person can help the other to grow in Christ’s service. Together we see the needs of the other and, with kindness and generosity, we walk in each other’s shoes for a day, a week or a month and fulfill each other’s needs.

In 2014 I retired from pastoral ministry at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I returned to Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs. I am involved in a number of activities. I’m co-authoring a book on the fifty-year history of Benet Hill Monastery and I have restored the Stations of the Cross I helped design and carve with other sisters thirty years ago.  I spent six weeks in Atchison, Kansas with our Sister Diane. I participate in the common prayer, common table and daily activities of the monastery.

Today, I am serving the asylum seekers in El Paso, Texas. The refugees and immigrants come to us with stories of violence and fear. Although I am 80 years old, I am compelled by the Gospel message of Love. I try to bring the love of Jesus to the people. My work here is different from my work with the poor on the missions of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Columbia and Guantanamo Bay in that there is an urgency to help our country do the right thing by these people who desperately need and are asking for our help and our love. We must open our hearts and our doors to these our brothers and sisters who are showing us the suffering of Christ.

I thank God for my call to religious life. I thank God for the grace to respond with my life these sixty years. I thank God for my family, my sisters in Christ, and my many, many friends who have made this life of love possible for me.

 

 

 

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