Reflections on time in Belize from Sister Barbara

Posted by Spalding Hurst

September 20, 2023

Reflections on time in Belize: Sept. 11 – Sept. 18, 2023 – By Barbara Flores, SCN

The month of September carries profound significance both for the people of Belize and for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, especially as we celebrate our 48th year of presence in Belize, aligning with the country’s 42nd year of Independence.

Reflecting on my time during this trip, I am transported back to ’75, when I first encountered the Sisters. As a young lay woman in the Sacred Heart Parish, Dangriga, I had the immense privilege of introducing Mary Lynn Fields, SCN to Belize and collaborating with these inspiring women in the pastoral team. Those formative years paved the way for my eventual journey to becoming a Sister of Charity of Nazareth. As I developed within SCN, I felt a deep kinship with Belize as it transitioned into a sovereign nation, drawing parallels in our shared growth, independence, and quest for identity.

Four years had elapsed since my last visit, and this trip was intended as a humble reunion with our Sisters, collaborators, and partners in ministry. But I hadn’t anticipated how profoundly I would be affected. The familiarity and warmth of Belize beckoned me instantly – the taste of fresh coconut water, the soothing evening breeze, the rhythmic Garifuna drums, the welcoming smiles, and the vibrant worship at St. Martin De Porres. Everything felt like home.

At Princess Margaret Drive, our community in Belize City has grown beautifully. Sharing moments and meals with Sister Carlette, Sister Kerry, Sister Sophia, and Melissa emphasized our commitment to “embracing intercultural relationships.” Each dish on the table, whether it was Sister Carlette’s rice and beans, Melissa’s frittata, or Sister Sophia’s bitter gourd, told a story of our diverse roots and backgrounds. Our shared experiences and discussions about our traditions, natural remedies, and environmental consciousness were living testimonies of our dedication to “caring for creation.”

Our visit to the Baron Bliss monument and the vivid Belize Sign was a picturesque moment, capturing the essence of our united front.

The journey to Toledo to see Sister Higinia on a two-seater domestic plane overlooking Belize’s natural treasures was awe-inspiring. Belize’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty resonated deeply with me, from the cerulean Caribbean Sea and pristine beaches to the majestic rainforest and Maya mountains.

Barbara Flores and Higinia Bol at Spice Farm in Toledo District enjoying coconut water directly from a fresh green coconut.

Engaging with the committed souls in Belize – the seniors of LIFE, the Lay Leaders of Toledo, and the children of St. Martin De Porres Parish – reinstated my belief in the power of unity, peace, and justice. Their unwavering dedication to supporting the oppressed and marginalized communities of Belize is commendable.

As I conclude my reflections, my heart swells with gratitude. To witness the growth and unwavering spirit of SCN in Belize, in tandem with our partners, serving as a beacon of hope in a world that so desperately needs it, is an experience I will cherish forever.

11 Comments

  1. Maria Brocato

    Dear Barbara, your reflection was so filled with love and gratitude it almost jumped from the pages. W hat a gift for you to go and for you to share. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth Field

    Thank you, Barbara, for your reflections and pictures on this trip. As I read, I was thumbing through my memories of when, on our Easter weekend break, Jim and I visited you, Maggie, Carlette and Chris, sleeping in Sr. Higinia’s room. We had such a wonderful time visiting, laughing, eating some new foods deliciously prepared. Maggie had put together an extensive trip for us into the Mayan countryside, around the city and outside, traveling by car and boat, ending up on Easter Sunday at the local church. We were most grateful to all the SCNs, especially to Maggie for all the work she put into being our tourist guide, giving a real “taste” of Belize, and making this a trip we have longed prize and remember with gratitude over so many fun memories!

    Reply
  3. Cindy Rhonemus

    Lovely article! Sister Barbara, your reflections on Belize is exactly why we keep returning to serve the people there! So blessed by our Lord to have this opportunity!

    Reply
  4. Bev Beckman

    Such a great article. I have fond memories of my time in Belize in 2015 with Sisters Carlette, Barbara, Maggie and Bev. I visited to begin work on the LIFE project with Sister Carlette. What a great memory.

    Bev Beckman

    Reply
  5. S. Rita Davis

    I enjoyed some time in Belize many years ago. I was privileged to live there with SCNs Barbara Joseph Lammers,
    Mary Lynne Fields and Rosemarie Kirwan while tutoring 1st graders in the local Catholic School.

    Reply
  6. Rosemarie Kirwan

    How I wish I could have been with you for the time back in Belize. Those are some giant green coconuts!

    Reply
  7. Kitty W.

    Barbara, what good times we shared in the late 70s! Thanks for sharing. I would like to return to Belize someday w/ you!

    Reply
  8. Eugenie Coakley scna

    Sr. Barbara, your reflections are powerful and profound, thank you for sharing them. So full of hope and inspiration as well!

    Reply
  9. Barbara Joseph Lammers

    Good memories, good present and openness to a good future.
    Thank you for sharing. The only thing missing was a longer time there with so many people who miss you.

    Reply
  10. Maggie Cooper

    Wow! Thanks SO MUCH, Barbara, for your reflection on your trip!
    Good timing, both for the wonderful celebrations and for the good timing to be there with Sophia and Melissa!
    So good to hear about your visit!

    Reply
    • Carlette

      So happy you could be with us. What wonderful memories we created. Indeed we are an international community and the spirit of connection continues to form as we share our stories. Beautiful reflection.

      Reply

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