The following comes from a July 31 story on the Catholic News Agency website.
Thirty-year-old Heather Quinlan will soon be leaving her home in California to spend a year in Rwanda serving as a mentor and English teacher at a Catholic boarding school for girls ages 11 to 19.
“It seemed like a suitable time … in the last four years I had wrestled so much with my vocation – I spent a couple years praying about the consecrated life and a couple years discerning a relationship, so for four years I felt just so focused on myself,” she told CNA July 29.
Quinlan will be at the School of Our Lady of Providence of Karubanda as a missionary with Fidesco, a Catholic organization of the Emmanuel Community which provides volunteers to assist in developing countries.
“My prayers were about my life, my thoughts were about my life, and so when I was thinking about Fidesco I thought, man, it would be so good … to stop thinking about myself, and go someplace where people need so much love and are in so much need, that my prayers revolve around them.”
“So I look forward to that, to stop being selfish, and to just live for these others,” she said.
The Karubanda school houses 600 girls and is located in Butare, a cathedral city of some 77,000 people in southern Rwanda….
“I’ll be present to the girls, play sports with them, take them on hikes in the little forest on the property. Through those interactions, I’ll talk about life with them, and faith. So those are the two things I’ve been told – a mentor and an English teacher.”
Quinlan leaves next week for six days of Fidesco training in France, and has already had considerable missionary experience to help prepare her for her year in Rwanda. She has served as a campus minister at a university and as an evangelization director for a parish in Minneapolis, Minn.
She also spent a year in the Emmanuel School of Mission, a program of evangelization in Rome that also included shorter missions to Ireland, the Netherlands, and Lisbon, Portugal.
Quinlan is a member of the Emmanuel Community, a public association of the faithful will three pillars, Adoration, compassion, and evangelization. She described Fidesco as the community’s “compassion” or “humanitarian” branch. It was founded in 1981 after a group of African bishops requested missionaries of the Emmanuel Community who would bring both professional skills and a “good Christian witness” to their countries….
“I just wanted to care for Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor.”
She said the words of Pope Francis, “go to the fringes,” are exciting for her, “as I leave the comfort of my home, and just go, where things are radically different … just to be available to meet them there….”
To read the entire story, click here.