A Solidarity Faster Shares her Thoughts

By Susan “Shoshanah” Kay, Order of Ecumenical Franciscans

Wednesday, November 27, 2013



I spent three days last week in Washington, DC,
— in the Tent — as a “solidarity faster” for “Fast4Families”.

The following I shared with my fellow-fasters just prior to leaving:

There is a little group at the Spanish-speaking Catholic Church
 I go to in Willimantic, CT called “Alcanzando el Mismo Sueno”
(“Embracing the Same Dream”).

They are always busy doing this and that:
* Forums on Immigration Reform
* Stories of Immigrants
* Labor Rights
* Healthcare
* Prayer Vigils
* Marches
* Parades
* Radio Shows
* Letters to the Editor
* Economic Boycotts
* Voter Registration
* Meetings with Politicians, Senators, Congressmen

“Call your representatives.  Email your friends.  Post it on Facebook.
  We need to put pressure on Congress.”

I go the the meetings.  I go to the events.
But I am not a strong player.

I am timid.
I don’t do facebook.
I am not one to pressure anyone.
No soy una activista fuerte.
I am not much of an activist at all.

I am not good at planning.  Or at organizing.
I am even worse on following through.
But I told the little group about this Fast.

I do things sometimes.
Without quite knowing why.
I just know — deep down — I need to do it.

This Fast is one of those things.
I told the little group at Church:
“It is not a hunger-strike; it is a fast.  There is a difference.”

The nun was particularly interested.  I think she understands fasting.
I don’t.  I have never fasted.

In my time of formation as a lay Franciscan, we were encouraged to fast.
To try it — on our own — with God.

I tried.  And failed.  Repeatedly.
Everyday by 2pm, gave up.  Totally.  Completely.
Went to McDonald’s even.
Yes.  Big Mac, fries and a Diet Coke.  Failed.  Big time.

I gave up and told my Franciscan Formation Counselor:
“I just can’t do this fasting thing.
  Maybe if I were facing a serious decision, or in a time of difficulty
  — seeking spiritual wisdom and strength.  Maybe then….”
Which could mean . . .   maybe now.

Is this not a time of difficulty?
Are we not seeking spiritual wisdom?  And strength?

Patrick Carolan from Franciscan Action Network tells me about this Fast.
And I don’t think twice.  I’m in.


Well, for one, I agreed to the “Baby Fast”  — 24 hours — “el ayunito”.
Which, upon entering the Tent, I quickly extended to 48 hours.
But, still, a “Baby Fast”.

I have no clue what I am doing.
But I know why I am doing it.

I am doing it in the hope that the heart of our country will soften.
And will beat more strongly.  With hope.  And with welcome for all.

I can’t see that my being hungry can possibly do much to make that happen.

But I can say this:
As I sit in this Tent, in this circle of people,
who have chosen to be hungry — together —
some for 9 days now  [make that 17 tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day],
my heart has softened, and beats more strongly, with hope, and with welcome.
And, as we have seen and heard, mine is not the only one.

Each faster is a profound inspiration to me.
So many immigrants are such beautiful blessings to me.

Gracias a todos.  Que Dios les bendiga.  Thank you all.  May God bless you.
As I leave, I carry this experience with me.     . . . to be continued . . .
Peace and All Good,  ~ Shoshanah Kay, Order of Ecumenical Franciscans
Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 10:39 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on FSJPIC and commented:
    It doesn’t take much … for those who are timid hold their beliefs close to the vest, a simple act would be just as good as being in a march or giving lectures ….

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