College of Arts and Sciences

Stories of a Year


One year ago today, I joined a group of Xavier students visiting the Casa de Acogida Beato Juan Bautista Scalabrini in Lima, Peru.

A few short-term residents of that "house of shelter" generously shared their stories with us that morning. In Spanish and in English, they spoke dispassionately of fleeing their homes, in Venezuela and in Africa, and of future hopes for themselves and their children.

I remember feeling awe. What courage must it take, I wondered, to live week after week in the face of such peril and uncertainty? 

On reflection, I remain in awe of those pilgrims. And I shudder to imagine how their stories have developed since then.

And I'm struck too by how little, at that moment, I imagined of our own futures.

Just one day before, Father Graham had sent his Spring Break e-mail: classes at Xavier would resume remotely, he wrote, and remain so until after Easter. 

What unexpected stories we have written since then! 

Within a few days, I found myself fleeing that seemingly safe country just minutes before its borders closed--not for the announced 15 days, but for more than six months.

And a year later? I am still astounded. By all that the world has experienced in these short months. By inspirational resilience and stubborn hope. 

What comes next? I don't know. But I find my hope growing daily, as I hear more tales of the newly vaccinated, and fewer of the newly infected. 

I'm ready to write the end of this chapter, and to tell a new story together in the next one.

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