Hold It All

Month: June, 2014

Share the Wealth June 22, with Sister Jean Abbott: Report Back on Uganda

Sister Jean Abbott will share with us about her most recent trip to Uganda to work with people who were traumatized during the country’s civil war.  She’ll give us historical background and perspectives on the current situation.  Jean will also tell us about the Ugandans who will be coming to St. Louis this fall for training to aid in healing their communities back home.

Join us on Sunday 22 June
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Jean begins sharing at 6:45
at the home of Jim and J’Ann Allen
4519 Oakland Avenue
Forest Park Southeast 63110

Compromismo/2 (Reading/3)

Dear Professor

So last night I went with my friends to this bar
The same bar they’ve been going to for two years
Drinking the same overpriced drinks they always drink
Making the same chit-chat with the same guys who always come up to them
Listening to the same trite music
And people were making fewer intelligible comments with each passing minute
And the air was so thick with insecurity and false bravado
And I looked at my watch and realized I’d already been there for two hours
And I looked around at all the gaming and fretting and distraction and sadness of it all Read the rest of this entry »

The Bonds of Smoking (Checkpoint/1 [Life under Occupation/2])

“I had my peaceful priorities
Healthy habits
I tried cultivating nerves of steel
Or so I thought

My Buddhist practice
Gives me techniques for dealing with stress
Like repeating one of the classic mantras or gathas
I had envisioned these would keep me stable
In those tough jams
In occupied Palestine Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Jenn Reyes Lay: Organizing to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex

The United States leads the world in percentage of its population that it incarcerates, every 1 in 100 people is currently either incarcerated or on probation or parole, and the rates of incarceration have increased 300% over the last 30 years. The US incarcerates a higher percentage of its racial minorities than any other country in the world, and more African American men are incarcerated today than were enslaved before Emancipation. This unprecedented growth is not fueled by increased crime rates (crime has actually decreased while prison populations increase), but rather by the prison industrial complex (PIC) which has turned incarceration into a multimillion dollar business and growth industry, putting profits over people and human rights. This growth in incarcerations has failed to make communities safer and stronger and instead serves to break apart families and communities, a disproportionate number of which are racial minorities. The system, in order to maintain itself, has necessarily created a revolving door of repeat offenders due to legalized discrimination and lack of resources upon release.

In the face of such dire statistics and horrific stories of those who have been directly affected by the PIC, it can seem overwhelming to take action for change.  However, not being able to change everything, is not an excuse for doing nothing.  Everyone has a role to play in abolishing the prison industrial complex and building safer, connected communities where all can achieve their full potential.  Jennifer Reyes Lay will be sharing about what she continues to learn about the prison industrial complex, the work she is involved in, and why she is passionate about abolishing the PIC.  She is one of the founding members and leaders of the Coalition to Abolish the Prison Industrial Complex here in St. Louis and is committed to the work of dismantling racism in all its forms.  We invite you to come learn, share, and get involved in the abolition movement of the 21st century.

This week’s STW  is Sunday 15 June
And will be held at 1427 S. Ewing 63104.
Potluck begins at 6:00 pm.
Jenn begins sharing at 6:45.
The house is on the corner of Park Ave. and Ewing with the front facing Park Ave.
You can park on either Park Ave. or S. Ewing.
Feel free to call if you have any trouble: (314) 707-7313.



Leçon de français d’aujourd’hui

Un poème de Thich Nhat Hanh

Ne dites pas, je serai parti demain,
car je ne cesse de naître, aujourd’hui encore.
Regardez en profondeur : je nais à chaque seconde
bourgeon sur une branche printanière,
oisillon aux ailes encore fragiles,
apprenant à chanter dans mon nouveau nid,
chenille au coeur d’une fleur ;
bijou caché dans une pierre.

Je ne cesse de naître, pour rire et pour pleurer ; pour craindre et pour espérer :
Mon coeur est rythmé par la naissance et
la mort de tout ce qui est vivant.

Je suis l’éphémère se métamorphosant sur l’eau de la rivière,
et je suis l’oiseau qui, au printemps, naît juste à temps
pour manger l’éphémère.
Je suis la grenouille nageant heureuse dans la mare claire,
Et je suis l’orvet approchant en silence pour se nourrir de la grenouille.
Je suis l’enfant d’Ouganda, décharné, squelettique,
aux jambes pareilles à des bambous fragiles,
et je suis le marchand d’armes vendant des armes meurtrières à l’Ouganda.
Je suis la fillette de douze ans, réfugiée sur une frêle embarcation,
Se jetant à l’eau pour avoir été violée par un pirate,
et je suis le pirate, au coeur incapable encore de voir et d’aimer :
Je suis un membre du Politburo,
et je suis l’homme qui doit acquitter sa “dette de sang ” envers mon peuple,
mourant lentement aux travaux forcés.

Ma joie est comme le printemps, chaude,
au point d’épanouir des fleurs en tout mode de vie.
Ma peine forme une rivière de larmes, débordante,
au point d’emplir les quatre océans.

S’il vous plaît, appelez-moi par mes vrais noms,
Que j’entende ensemble mes cris et mes rires,
Que je voie ma joie mais aussi ma peine.

Appelez-moi, s’il vous plaît, par mes vrais noms,
Que je m’éveille, et ouvre pour toujours la porte de mon cœur,
la porte de la compassion.

Thay 1970s

Share the Wealth: A Road Trip in Pictures: Reconnecting with Nature, with Ching-Ting Hwang

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Ching-Ting “CT” Hwang graduated in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame. She spent a gap year in Boston coaching rowing and is now a PhD student in Movement Science at Washington University.

Before starting graduate school, she decided to take a spontaneous two-month, 18,000 mile, cross-country road trip with her younger brother. She will share photos, stories, and lessons learned from their trip.

Join us!
Sunday 8 June
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
CT begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Fatima Rhodes
4406 A Laclede Avenue
Central West End 63108

Bring a friend!


How Father Ignacio Ellacuría Saw Us

In regard to the ideal of the dominant old human being in the so-called North Atlantic and Western Christian civilization, certain features have to be rejected. These include its radical insecurity which leads it to take wild and irrational self-defense measures; its unsolidarity with what is happening to the rest of humanity; its ethnocentrism, along with its absolutizing and idolatrizing of the nation-state as fatherland; its exploitation and direct or indirect domination of other peoples and of their resources; the trivial superficiality of its existence and of the crtiteria by which types of work are chosen; its immaturity in the search for happiness through pleasure, random entertainment, and amusement; the smug pretension of setting itself up as the elite vanguard of humanity; its permanent aggression against the environment shared by the rest of humanity.

–Ignacio Ellacuría, “Utopia and Prophecy in Latin America” (1989)
in Towards a Society That Serves its People: The Intellectual Contribution of El Salvador’s Murdered Jesuits

Modest Shopper FB

photo by Mev Puleo

Remembering the Salvadoran Martyrs Reading Group

Dear Friends,

We  have been turning over in our minds the following reflection from an interview with U.S. linguist and activist Noam Chomsky (1996):

Closer to the explanation is your observation that they [Eastern European dissidents] were supported by the US and the Vatican, unlike dissidents elsewhere, who were supported by no one with any power or influence. But that is a great understatement: they [Eastern European dissidents] were given massive support and attention by the entire Western world, quite unprecedented support, vastly greater than the support given to people within Western domains who were suffering far worse oppression and were defending freedom and justice with far greater courage. The disparity is so extraordinary that the very word “dissident” in Western languages refers to East Europeans; no one, except those few who have extricated themselves from the Western propaganda system, even uses the word “dissident” for people like the Central American Jesuit intellectuals who were assassinated in November 1989 by elite forces armed and trained by the US. And while every word of East European dissidents is widely publicized, hailed, and treasured, try to find even a reference to the very important and courageous writings of Fr. Ellacuría and his associates, or other Central American dissidents who had to flee from slaughter or were simply tortured and killed by US-run forces.

Accordingly, we invite you to join us in reading the “very important and courageous writings” of the  Salvadoran intellectuals and martyrs.  For starters, we suggest reading Ignacio Ellacuría’s essay, “Utopia and Prophecy in Latin America,” which is in the collection Toward a Society That Serves Its People (Georgetown University  Press).  For those interested, let’s meet to discuss it on Sunday 8 June at Café Ventana from 2:00-3:15 or so.

If you know anyone who would be would like to be a part of  this reading group devoted to  the Jesuit martyrs and Oscar Romero, please forward this information to them.  For those outside of St. Louis, perhaps we could make good use of technology like Skype.


Lindsay Noesen and Mark Chmiel