I have had the fortunate experience these past two weeks to organize two International, “Melting Potlucks” for Maria College with one today. I am continuously amazed on how culture is lived in people. Language, religion, traditions, holidays and more differ across the world. However, regardless of one’s beliefs, language, or appearance, there is a shared bond when we sit down and share a meal. The Maria potluck experience started to impress me last week when Maria faculty and staff members took the time on a Tuesday night to prepare a dish for the College community. Over the week, I caught bits of conversation about how nice the event was, but I surely did not expect what was about to happen with the next pot luck event. If anyone knows me well they know I like to order take-out food, so I volunteered to place orders over the phone for the second pot luck. Worrier that I am, I decided to follow up my phone calls with visits to each restaurant who was going to cater the Mercy Week International Pot Luck to ensure it ran smoothly. Meeting each restaurant owner, however, gave me something more. They all asked in curiosity what the food was for, so I explained a little about Mercy Week. Each one of them individually then told me how proud and honored they were to be a part of such an event. They had that look in their eye when the Maria mission touches a person, and they all offered me discounts on the orders to ensure that the event well well for the College Community. I went home tired that day, but moved by the Mercy Mission working not just in the College but outside of it too.
Today, the day of the Mercy Week, “Melting Potluck,” I knew that students, faculty, and staff would all be on the run at Maria, and for good reason! But, standing in the Campus Café, on a warm fall day when the whole building smelled delicious, and seeing the smiles, and hearing the chatter and thank you’s was Mercy working right there. If I could have bottled that moment and kept it forever I would have.
One of my favorite quotes on the internet goes something like, “If you want to make the world a better place, do not build a bigger fence, instead, build a bigger table,” so thank you. Thank you to everyone who bought their empty bellies and filled them at Maria College’s longer table. For Mercy does not stop at any one person, one organization, or one country.
Thank you for taking 10 minutes out of your day to celebrate Mercy and know that you are a part of something so much larger than yourself, so much larger than Maria College, and connected by a Mission that goes beyond reachable boundaries. I want to say special thank you to my fellow mission officers, committee members, and Victoria Battell for making this possible. Last, but certainly not least too, thank you to the entire Maria Maintenance Staff– they are the true unsung heroes and I could not have done any part of this without them.
With humble gratitude and Mercy,
Chair of the Mercy and Justice Department