On August 9, 1991, two Polish missionaries, Conventual Franciscan friars, Fathers Miguel (Michal) Tomaszek and Zbigniew Strzalkowski, were murdered by members of Sendero Luminoso, the Shining Path. They were beatified in December 2015.
Today, sitting in the dentist’s office, I was contemplating what I would write tomorrow, when I came across this quote of one of these martyrs, Blessed Miguel Tomaszek, OFM Conv.:
“You are not where you are now to understand the world, but to understand what the will of God is for you. It is a matter of being where you are supposed to be.”
A few years ago I came across a quote on the wrapper of a Dove piece. “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” It seemed so right for me that I put the wrapper on the magnetic board in my kitchen.
When the volunteers from the medical group Honduras Amigas came to the house for a discussion on the reality of Honduras last June, one of them saw it and wrote it on the board.
There are times when I wonder if this is where I really am called to be – loneliness, frustrations, feelings of inadequacy, and more. But in the middle of this, there is a peace, especially on days when I connect with someone here.
I wonder what was going through the mind of Father Miguel and his fellow Conventual Franciscan priest, Zbigniew Adam Strzalkowski, as they served in the people of their parish in Pariacoto, in the diocese of Chimbote. In Give Us This Day, Robert Ellsberg notes how these two young Polish friars were struggling with Spanish, but many of their parishioners deeply loved them as they administered the sacraments, trained catechists, visited the sick, helped with projects of water and community development, and more.
In a letter he wrote before going to Perú, Father Michal wrote:
“I am a happy priest…. Overall, I am very well received. I can feel it over and over, but this isn’t so important to me. I’m myself, and I want to be myself.”
There is a page of the Polish Conventual Franciscans in English with photos and stories that lets you see some of this joy in their ministry in Perú.
When we find where God wants us to be, there can be real joy.
The photo is taken from the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/meczennicy.pariacoto/posts/