It’s hard to believe that I’ve been down here for two months now. It has been two months full of rain, prayer, laughs, and new experiences. One of my favorite new experiences has been getting to know and start a relationship with the Augustinians–both in Lima and here in Chulucanas. When we first landed in Lima’s airport, the Augustinians were not in town yet… but they let us stay in their house! This kind of hospitality blew me away. When they arrived soon after, I was enamored. They are a community of three, and they work together so well. They genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and are often caught joking around with each other at meal times #communitygoals. Padres Wilder, Raul and Márcio were the best introduction to Peru and the Augustinian community down here, and they made our first week in the country positive and comfortable.
When we came to Chulucanas, I was thinking about my responsibilities in our community: to provide hospitality and develop relationships with the Augustinians here in Chulucanas. During the month of February when we were in our home stays, I made an effort to visit the Augustinian parish–San Jose Obrero. I wanted to introduce myself to them so that they knew that we wanted a relationship with them and that we were excited to serve with them. The reception I received was so warm and inviting. They immediately invited me into their house to have a “cafecito,” and to get to know me. Soon after our whole community was invited to their house to have breakfast one morning after mass. Additionally, they invited us to go to the campo with them for mass. That was quite the experience! We ended up going to two towns in the campo for mass, and we experienced the hospitality of a family that recently lost a loved one. That experience showed us how the Augustinians serve communities on the outskirts as well, communities that don’t get visitors very often. I can’t wait to invite Padres Isaías, Ramiro, Rogelio, and Hermano Yohny over to our house!
Reflecting on the hospitality that has been shown to me, I realized that in my everyday life at home, I hadn’t made a very strong effort. I did not invite a lot of people over to my apartment, the way my mom would invite people over to our house for dinner or game nights. Part of developing a larger community is to show people hospitality. To cook for them, to invite them to your home, to spend quality time and have quality conversations. That is what I love most about our relationship with the Augustinians, and it is what I love most about living in community. The experience of cooking for each other, supporting each other, and spending time with each other.
The example that the Augustinians here in Peru and in Villanova have set has inspired me already! In Lima, the district we were staying in had a slogan of “Cada día mejor,” which means every day is/gets better. We have taken that slogan to apply to our community, just as each experience with the Augustinians has been improving my experience as an AV.
Chulucanas, Peru 2017