Readers’ Responses, July / August 2017

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Readers respond to our print, web and social media posts

The article in the January/February 2017 Maryknoll magazine titled Visiting the Aged and the Lonely in Anlong Kngan mentions Hak, a poor woman who receives food “through a low entrance into her home (so that visitors must) squat on the slatted floor—in danger of falling through to the foul waters beneath.” Can anything be done to move her home? It is horrendous. I would contribute to that effort.
Kathie Swift
West Des Moines, Iowa

Father Robert Wynne responds:
Thank you for your concern for Hak’s living conditions and especially your willingness to help change the situation. The site over which she is living is typical of many “homes” in this area. These structures are erected on what is called “public lands,” which the government cannot sell and are to be used for the benefit of the public. The government also has “state private lands,” which it can sell. The government allows people to occupy these “public land” sites free of charge until it needs the lands for some other use. In a neighboring village, the government recently completed building a series of new structures, which look like motel rooms, and have moved the people living over open sewer drains into these new buildings and torn down the old shanties.
The government plans to fill in the swamp over which Hak lives, but that has been on the drawing board for years. Our Maryknoll service team, which is reaching out to the abandoned elderly like Hak, discussed finding another place for Hak, but there is nothing she could afford to rent. The problem is there is a whole line of these structures housing children and families waiting for the government to act. So you see it is a much greater problem than simply Hak’s place.
However, since that photo was taken, Maryknoll has paid to have Hak’s floor and structure reinforced, a window installed and a new roof put on. If you still wish to share in the renovation of Hak’s place, any donation you send would be counted as reimbursement toward the cost of that work.
I hope this letter is at least some consolation to you that we are in fact doing what we can to relieve the suffering of people like Hak.


We really enjoy all the great stories about the missioners all over the world. Makes one think of all that can be done when one puts himself/herself in a place of service to others.
Reading about all that Pope Francis has accomplished in such a short time makes me think how he really is walking in Jesus’ footsteps on this earth. I agree with all he has to tell us about climate change and what we should be doing as a wealthy nation, and I firmly agree with his stance on how migrants should be treated. That our new president wants to waste billions on a wall to keep Hispanics from adding their goodness and talents to America causes me great distress. Those billions of dollars could be put to much better use making immigrants feel welcome and helping them find the work they do so well and some of our own do not want. We have a group of Hispanics in our parish and they are hard workers and willing to volunteer in every part of parish life. Diversity is what we Americans need to see the light of Christ surrounding us with many faces. Keep up the good work.
Louann and Cliff Rasmussen
Talent, Oregon


It has been ages since I have thought of the Maryknollers. Interesting to know that they are still around. Thanks for bringing them back to my attention. I probably need to do a lot of catching up.
Marge Balfe Huxtable
Via Facebook


What a great article in the March/April 2017 issue of Maryknoll on Father Kyungsu Son improving the lives of the blind and all the work being done for the blind in Peru. So happy you were able to return to what you love to do through the blessings of Jesus Christ. I wish you continued success, Father Son. Hope to hear more updates.
Cherie Eichhorn
Mountain View, California


Referring to the letter titled “Taking Issue” in the November/December 2016 issue of Maryknoll magazine, I understand printing letters with opinions that differ from the magazine’s perspective, a necessary way to finding and piecing together truth. Printing untruths is giving credibility where it is not due. Human accelerated climate change is a reality, and the dissension is what is flawed and politically motivated. Please consider the damage done by printing “alternative facts.”
Mary Vlazny
Rochester, Minnesota


I just finished reading your May/June issue and a lot of good feely articles. I think you are ignoring some big issues. I think you need to include more articles that address human suffering and not remain silent about those who mislead us and have judgmental and narrow-minded dispositions that are destroying our culture.
Let us remember that Jesus came to give comfort to the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable. You are not in your recent articles disturbing the comfortable. You are making Jesus’ words of salvation less meaningful and relevant in today’s world. Your good feely articles contain safe messages. I think Jesus would insist on more. Thank you.
Paul Davalli
Cumberland, Maryland


The editors invite Maryknoll Members to send us their views. Write to:
Members’ Memos
P.O. Box 302, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0302
Our e-mail address is:

Featured Image: Maryknoll Sister Patricia Ryan, who as a missioner puts into practice Catholic Church teaching on care of the environment, talks with a Peruvian woman who is a local leader in a community affected by contamination of the Coata River near Lake Titicaca in Peru.


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