After 25 years in the priesthood, Fr. Patrick Render was given time for a sabbatical to discern the future direction for his life. He shares some of the wisdom he gained during that time.

I remember one of the counselors said to me, you know, I thought I had worked through a lot of issues in my life earlier, at earlier stages in my life. And he said to me, ‘You know, it’s sort of like a helix. That there’s an issue in your life that you’ve experienced, that you’ve process at one point, and you move along in your journey, but you go back through it again at a different stage in your life, at a different time in your life. And you have to reprocess all that again from where you are now, and draw out of them something new and something different that you take with you now that you couldn’t have done when you were twenty-four.’ And I see it now with people approaching death, who go back and they worry about mistakes that they’ve made earlier in life. Did I really confess that? Did I really, was I really sorry? Did I really tell the whole truth? Did I really change, or did I just keep doing being the same? And all that anxiety about facing God with the possibility that I haven’t done it right. You know, that’s the patience of God. You may make stupid choices, you may make mistakes, you may fall on your face. But the parent who never gives up on the kid is the God who never gives up on us.


Joe Schneider

LoveI met her on a blind date. One blind date, and we just walked in for life! They talk about love at first sight. Well I’ll tell ya—that was it! She was the girl I didn’t even know I was looking for until I saw her. It was God’s gift. A lot of people say, ‘It was luck.’ But you know, God operates in different ways. I think God sent two people he wanted to keep together because he knew we’d have the glue to stay together. It was a very, very wonderful life.


Ludovina Pacheco

DeathThe day before he died, my grandpa gave me a gift and asked me to pray for his soul because he was on the way to our Father’s house. We talked a lot that evening. Very lucid, he repeated once more: ‘My dear, pray for my soul.’ I went home, and at four in the morning we received the news that he had died. I remembered then what he had asked me. Before she died, eleven months later, my grandma asked me the same thing. I was 18 years old.


Alice Waua Mwololo

WorkMy passion is making baskets out of beads and jewelry. I also make rosaries. I work from my house. I cannot afford to rent a shop. My clients come to the house to buy what they want. However, during the day, I hawk my wares around the area I live in. People love beaded jewelry, so I am able to make a few coins.


María Dolores de Guevara Ribadas

StruggleMy parents would make everything stretch like a piece of gum. I remember my parents having only bread soup for dinner from the leftover ration bread. Even in this situation, my mother would share with an old lady who often came to beg. Despite what this might look like, there was always happiness at home. We sang and looked at life with optimism. Overcoming challenges was a constant in my parents’ life.


Carlos E. Obando

LoveI grew up without a dad. We went through a lot with my parents’ divorce. When I came to the United States, I was bleeding all over the place. But I didn’t want to recognize it. It was very easy for me to love somebody, but it was extremely difficult to be loved by somebody. Because I was so hurt, I was not able to pull down all the fences that were protecting my heart.


Andrea Mendoza Chiviliú

WorkI create traditional fabrics that I sell to tourists who visit the town I live in. My mother taught me how to work with fabrics. She used to tell me I should learn to work so that I could cover the family expenses when I got married. My work did help my husband and me cover our many needs.