Saludos Mi Familia de San Vicente de Paúl,
“Come sleep in our room tonight?” one of the families asked.
With tears in my eyes, I did. All five of us packed into their already crowded room.
I’m currently laying on my mattress, which we dragged up the stairs. They’re all snoring. I leave for the airport in 4 hours and 2 minutes.
The core of what I’ve learned here is accompaniment — acompañamiento.
I’ve had such a profound-shift in what it actually means that I can’t even define it right now. But I can tell you what accompaniment looked like this summer:
- Immigration court.
- Going to fútbol practice.
- Steadfast advocacy.
- Finding resources.
- Translating important medical, legal, and financial information.
- Singing into broomstick handles.
- Cleaning roaches from a new house.
- Patience (especially with my Spanish!)
- Holding space for the rawness of the reality of injustice.
- The card game Uno.
- Ice Cream.
- Cleaning a blister.
- Navigating the BRUTAL systemes we have in the US.
Because at the end of it all, here I am — sheets wrapped around me, and a small trumpet quartet, being accompanied. Accompaniment is friendship. It’s looking someone in the eyes, holding their hand, and saying, “You’re not alone.” And then actually doing life together. The beauty of the Catholic Worker is its daily activities are incredibly normal, they’re lived out in an extraordinary way because of accompaniment.
I don’t want to leave this bed.
But I have wonderful, loving friends from coast to coast and I couldn’t be more grateful. I’d like to personally thank you all for coming on this journey with me. Your support was beyond appreciated and needed. In a special way, I’d like to thank my friends at the Spanish language mass who have loved me all the way through this experience. This journey started with you all. From helping me with Spanish to commissioning me forward, and processing with me in between. Because of you all, I have started to dream with God again, muchísimas gracias.
I have felt God here like no other time before. It’s a sense of overpowering alignment. I’m leaving with a confidence that starting some kind of accompaniment program or house is something I at least have to try.
Tinamarie Stolz is a Campus Minister at St. Joseph’s University and a parishioner at St. Vincent De Paul in Germantown. She is spending the summer at the Oakland Catholic Worker in Oakland, California. Check back for more updates.