Maureen (M.E.) Regan, BA ’13, was a Rostro de Cristo volunteer in the Arbolito neighborhood of Durán, Ecuador from 2013-2014. She returned to Boston College to receive her Master’s of Science in Nursing ’17. M.E. is currently a Family Nurse Practitioner for the Institute of Family Health in the Bronx. Below, she reflects on her experience with Carolina, a dear friend and neighbor in Arbolito, during her service year with Rostro de Cristo.
Carolina is my friend and neighbor who continues to be one of my greatest teachers. She is a woman who grew up a subsistence farmer in the verdant, chilly mountains surrounding Ambato. Her childhood was spent helping work the earth, and it was cut short so that she could sell the family’s small surplus of produce in the city. She started selling knickknacks and snacks on the street, and through life’s twists and turns ended up in Durán, with a partner she endures, three beautiful children, and a small tienda that provides for their most basic needs.
Carolina has a way of inviting me in to relax, whenever I am in her field of vision from the tienda. I don’t know where she learned to do that in her life. Her body bears the evidence of hardship, abuse, and chronic stress. To keep her gaze outward, and to unfailingly beckon me in with her earth-shattering smile is nothing short of radical. She reminds me that we are far more than what nos tocó – than what life has passed our way.
My concepts of mercy, justice, goodness, and healing continue to grow in light of the relationships I have with Carolina and others I’ve met through my year of service in Ecuador. I now work as a Family Nurse Practitioner at a health center serving part of the Bronx—where a couple of other RdC alum have worked before me—and at a building for adults who were chronically homeless. Our healthcare system (often accurately called sick care system) makes it difficult for people to pursue wellness. I try to channel Carolina’s quiet energy when I am in my clinic’s exam rooms. It takes a persistent and defiant flame such as hers to allow the transformative light of God into dark or chaotic places. I trust that the love I have encountered in my life and in my friendship with Carolina will continue to be a source of healing and liberation for myself and others.
About Rostro de Cristo
Rostro de Cristo is a post graduate service organization that invites young adults to live and serve within marginalized communities on the outskirts of Guayaquil, Ecuador for one or two years. Each RdC volunteer works with a local organization that responds to the daily challenges our Ecuadorian neighbors face. Volunteer placement opportunities are in the fields of education, community development, health care, pastoral ministry, and social services. In addition to serving at local organizations, RdC volunteers practice ministry of accompaniment with their neighbors and live in intentional Christian community helping one another to learn and grow spiritually.
To learn more about Rostro de Cristo, contact:
Michele Shimizu-Kelley, email: email@example.com, phone: 617-746-5892. To learn more about post graduate service opportunities, international and/or domestic contact: Kate Daly, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Volunteer & Service Learning Center, McElroy 114