Casting Open the Doors of the Heart: Lessons Learned in a Jubilee Year of Mercy

This is a five-part blog series. Catch up on Part One, and Part Two
Written by Mary McCann Sanchez

Contemplation helps us as we determine our path.

There are interminable details on mission trips to heal the sick. Solidarity Bridge seeks to equip hospitals, knowing that tools and instruments in the hands of a healer can save lives. Staff are consumed with the details of logistics, regulations, transportation, missioner needs. Doctors, nurses and technicians feel the tension of adjusting to a new venue, the expectations of excellence and conditions beyond their control.

Aware of the intensity, we seek spaces for reflection. Rooted in Catholic Social Teaching, Solidarity Bridge missions respectfully welcome persons of all creeds. We gather each morning in silence and then share the Word.

The quiet that follows contemplation can be powerful. One morning after the candlelight of morning reflection dimmed and the lingering tone of the gong diminished, the doctor sitting next to me said softly, I need to be centered today. Otherwise, how will I perform surgery? I did not ask if she prays at home or how she achieves the confidence enter into the spaces of pain in another’s being. I did not comment on what I perceived as courage. But I was glad that she shared that thought in prayer with me, and I found myself at peace with the tasks of the day.

Francis says it simply. We need to constantly contemplate the mystery of mercy. 


Casting Open the Doors of the Heart: Lessons Learned in a Jubilee Year of Mercy is a five-part blog series written by Mary McCann Sanchez, Senior Director of Programs. Mary joined the Solidarity Bridge staff in September 2015, and has been on six trips to Bolivia during her first year.  

Read Part One and Part Two here.  

All citations of the words of Pope Francis are from the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy

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