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As promised, I have returned “at the turning of the calendar.” I cannot, however, be blamed for bringing the blast of arctic cold home with me. It was sunny summer in Peru with temperatures about 100 degrees higher than here in New York State! What I have brought home are memories of an extraordinarily beautiful and generous population, rich in kindness if not in finances and a willingness to welcome others with open arms.

The gospel acclamation for this morning says this: “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” Immediately I am thrown back to the large room inside the front door of the convent in Lima where we made puppets with the neighborhood children one day last week. Newspaper, scissors, markers and a few other sheets of shared paper – one with an outline of a rabbit’s face – were all Alexa and I needed to create our puppet and share the delight of everyone in the room. At the end of the morning the children prepared to leave with their treasures (including one Hershey kiss and a piece of bubblegum). There was no pushing or shoving as they lined up single file. Rather, kissing each of us in turn as they walked out the door, they whispered, “Gracias, Hermana” and blessed us with happy smiles.

There will be more to tell, I promise, but for now, it is enough to hold those sweet faces in my heart.