Bearing Fruit

For years I have had this reoccurring dream in which I am walking along a river bank, lined with fruit trees. I just walk and weave through these trees admiring their beauty, and when I wake up, I have a sense of peace in me.

The retreat center, Villa Madre Luisita, we have stayed at for the past six years reminds me of this dream. The Villa sits at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, with lemon, grapefruit, and orange trees placed all throughout the property. Throughout our time in LA, it serves as an oasis, a space in which we can reflect on our lives as individuals and our call as Community. It has this distinct feeling of warmth and home because it is bursting with people who have unwavering support and love for one another. 

Throughout the week we will be encountering people I call Living Saints. These Saints see the church as a field hospital after a battle (Pope Francis), they serve and meet the people where they are, holding up a mirror that only reflects the person's fullest potential.  

To give you an idea - 

Sr. Ann - Good Shepherd: The first domestic violence shelter in LA. (Wednesday)
"We love each woman and child until they learn to love themselves" 

Father Greg Boyle - Homeboy Industries: Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. (Friday) 
"We don’t hold the bar up and ask people to measure up to it. One simply shows up and commits to telling the truth."

Jeff Dietrich & Catherine Morris - Los Angeles Catholic Worker: Our soup kitchen, known commonly on the street as “The Hippie Kitchen,” is located in the central city ghetto of L.A.’s Skid Row. House,  (Thursday and Saturday)
"We're known as the homeless enablers. Yes, we believe in enabling people living on the streets, people who've been discarded by society, so they can live with as much dignity as possible. I guess that's right, homeless enablers is what we are."

Please pray for us this week as we encounter these Living Saints, grow in the Marianist Charism, and walk along side those in need of love and support.

Brian Buchmeyer
Marianist Leadership Program Coordinator, St. Mary's University


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