Just. Showing. Up.


Below is the speech given by Anna Zaros at A Taste of Thanksgiving 2016. She was in the St. Joseph Worker Program in 2008-09 and the following describes her experience in the program.

It was just day four at my placement site at Civil Society, just week three of the program, and I found myself in an Aldi parking lot, helping two police officers move the contents of their unmarked van into my car. Bedding, kid’s toys, a few clothes and cherished family items. From the back of the van peeked a set of eyes – watching me. Mai, with her toddler and newborn baby in tow, was escaping her trafficker. I was her new case manager, here to take her to a safe shelter.

2016-11-21T18:39:24+00:00
Just. Showing. Up. Below is the speech given by Anna Zaros at A Taste of Thanksgiving 2016. She was in the St. Joseph Worker Program in 2008-09 and the following describes her experience in the program. It was just day four at my placement site at Civil Society, just week three of the program, and I found myself in an Aldi parking lot, helping two police officers move the contents of their unmarked van into my car. Bedding, kid’s toys, a few clothes and cherished family items. From the back of the van peeked a set of eyes – watching me. Mai, with her toddler and newborn baby in tow, was escaping her trafficker. I was her new case manager, here to take her to a safe shelter. [showhide type="14" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] Most of the time I wasn’t sure what I was doing as a case manager. The women I accompanied had lived unspeakable trauma – forced to work in factories and give over their pay to their abuser, raped, forced into prostitution, smuggled across borders, drugged. I had just graduated college with a heart full of idealism and a head full of social justice, what did I know? But in the St. Joseph Worker program I learned to show up. With Mai, I helped her receive benefits so she could buy formula for her newborn. We went to the grocery store together. We went to her medical appointments. When she went back to her abuser – the father of her children – a common occurrence for abuse victims - I still showed up. I visited her home to give her some much needed clothing, and to reassure her I was still there for her, no matter what. This is what the Sisters taught me, and I’m sure...

How I went to jail.


This piece originally appeared in the Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Possumus. 

A turning point is the moment when you change and there is no turning back for you. For me it happened when I was watching a documentary about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. I was working at St. Mary’s Junior College, a good Irish girl from an 80-acre farm in Jessenland Township, near Green  Isle, Minnesota.

As a young nun my life was largely about obedience, without a lot of big decisions to make. I worked in occupational therapy as well as a part- time job at the Free Store. But one day I heard a documentary about Nazi prison camps. “And the German people knew what was happening,” was the refrain.

It touched me to the core, because I knew what   was going on about two miles from here, the making    of cluster bombs, whose only function is to maim and kill. And what had I ever done about that?

2017-01-30T21:15:35+00:00
How I went to jail. This piece originally appeared in the Fall 2009/Winter 2010 Possumus.  A turning point is the moment when you change and there is no turning back for you. For me it happened when I was watching a documentary about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. I was working at St. Mary’s Junior College, a good Irish girl from an 80-acre farm in Jessenland Township, near Green  Isle, Minnesota. As a young nun my life was largely about obedience, without a lot of big decisions to make. I worked in occupational therapy as well as a part- time job at the Free Store. But one day I heard a documentary about Nazi prison camps. “And the German people knew what was happening,” was the refrain. It touched me to the core, because I knew what   was going on about two miles from here, the making    of cluster bombs, whose only function is to maim and kill. And what had I ever done about that? [showhide type="15" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] I kind of joined the peace movement, hanging around the periphery. But then there was a very   big demonstration, and the police went wild. I was standing back, afraid of being arrested. But before the day was over I did get arrested. I went over to the bus to see if Sister Kate McDonald was there. A woman gave me a note to give her housemate, to bring her ID to her.  A policeman told me I was in a prohibited area, and he tore the note to pieces. He was pushing me, and I saw a policeman pushing Sister Brigid McDonald’s face into the wall. I began moving toward her and the policeman stopped me. He kept walking on my toes, until I...

It's not about charity.


This piece originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2012 Possumus. 

Understanding and living out the Sisters of St. Joseph charism of loving God and neighbor without distinction has not  been  so  much a turning point  in my life but rather a process of going deeper. I now   know that our work is not about providing charity but about engaging in right relationships.

My process of understanding this began long before I met the Sisters of St. Joseph. I remember watching  the  example  of  my  parents  –  particularly, how my father treated my mother. My father’s health broke when I was under 5; no matter what happened,   he held my mother in the highest esteem. He believed that she could accomplish anything. It was providential because she outlived him by nearly 30 years.

2017-01-30T22:03:54+00:00
It's not about charity. This piece originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2012 Possumus.  Understanding and living out the Sisters of St. Joseph charism of loving God and neighbor without distinction has not  been  so  much a turning point  in my life but rather a process of going deeper. I now   know that our work is not about providing charity but about engaging in right relationships. My process of understanding this began long before I met the Sisters of St. Joseph. I remember watching  the  example  of  my  parents  –  particularly, how my father treated my mother. My father’s health broke when I was under 5; no matter what happened,   he held my mother in the highest esteem. He believed that she could accomplish anything. It was providential because she outlived him by nearly 30 years. [showhide type="16" more_text="Read More..." less_text="Read Less..."] My greatest memories of time with my father involve going fishing and hunting. It was during those times he told me family stories and counseled me to    do what made me happy. My oldest sister re-enforced his strong influence.  She saw the bright side of life and focused on helping others. She taught me that by making others happy, I would become happy myself. Later, in my training in social work and experience in relationships, I learned to communicate and express my true feelings. Deep relationships are not possible if one cannot express deep true feelings. I understood the reality that we all have both male and females sides, although one is dominant. When men get past fear and truly listen without judgment to the feminine input,    they reach a peacefulness that sets them free. If they can accept this total gift, they gain a fullness of spirit that lets their gifts be fully present to the moment and leads...