Voices of Agape

Sarah Kothe, Boston College grad, 2012 writes six years later of internship at Agape

This letter to Agape has been percolating in my mind for some time now. I was an Agape intern in 2011 with Erica and the two lassies from Ireland. That summer was a formative experience in my life. I frequently think back to the feeling of strength and joy I felt while working in the soil and being in a community filled with laughter, kindness, and hope. The simplicity of the daily life at Agape filled as it was with prayer, gardening, meals, and conservation, was invigorated with an underlying thirst for justice. This Agape ethos seeped into my marrow that summer and has become a touchstone for me as I attempt to live a life oriented to love of God and neighbor. Thank you for your witness and for creating a place like Agape- a school of love.

Will You Join War Tax Refusers?

As a war tax refuser, will you join us? We can add your name to the statement below.The statement and names will be printed in as many peace and justice publications and media sources as possible. To include your own name only, please send an email to: HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected]. Thank you. Kathy Kelly, Kathy Boylan, Daniel Sicken.

“We refuse to pay for war! Nearly half of the federal income tax is funding endless war and war preparations. In good conscience, we will not pay this war tax. Some of us live below a taxable income. Many of us who are taxable have chosen to re-direct our refused taxes to organizations that provide for basic human needs. To explore this form of conscientious objection, please contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee at www.nwtrcc.org or (800) 269-7464 – for information, literature, counseling and guidance.”

Melissa A. Hayes, Stonehill College HOPE team member on a Rural Immersions at Agape shares her impression of a talk by Hattie Nestel, anti-pipeline activist: 

Hattie and her pipeline information were fascinating.  Previously, I had only seen signs around my town and surrounding towns asking: “Stop the Pipeline.”  I didn’t know what this meant until Hattie’s talk.  I learned that people impacted most by the pipeline would not receive any benefit from it.  If more people were aware of the dangers and impacts of pipelines, they would be more likely to fight against them.  I hope to inform my campus and surrounding communities about this problem.

Iona College Students Respond to Questions by Professor Meryl Nadel After a Rural Immersion at Agape, 2016

What was most surprising?

I was taken aback by the dynamic range of understanding every person in the community had and how fearless they seemed to be in stepping out of socially accepted norms.

I learned how resourceful our environment is, learning and seeing things come full circle through the use of sun for heat and electricity, and wood, or turning compost into soil to grow new plants.

People can actually live simple lives, technology free, cost effective, environmentally friendly, happy and healthy lives.  No technology…a great way to spend an amazing weekend.

The lack of waste…everything they do, they reuse.  The composted every bit of garbage, and even their own human waste. 

The vibe—feeling of connection not only with the community and my classmates, but also with God, giving me a sense of purpose as a human being, a good foundation if I plan to bring change to this planet.

What was most meaningful?

A functional, non-destructive lifestyle can be lived, an alternative life direction which sadly, our current society does not present, a way that I would like to structure my personal future.

Being silent in and with nature, sitting still and taking everything, calming and heartwarming to hear birds, water, frogs and the quiet night.

Being with God and a higher power, deep, heartfelt and meaningful.  Even if you’re not Catholic, they do an amazing job at welcoming everybody into Agape with open arms.

Group meditation in the hermitage…hearing all the noises of nature that I don’t normally hear.

Turning over the grass to be used as soil and helping with the firewood.  Crops to feed people in the future and how previous  helpers did this for us.  Pride and happiness…gratitude in everyone’s faces.

What will you remember and use for the future?

Stay strong regardless of negative and damaging social tendencies, an evolution of thought I can teach others.

What a big difference small things can make.  Small changes in my own life, add a positive contribution to our Earth. 

The walk to the reservoir.  I enjoyed every second and did not want it to end because I was grounded, calm, humble and at one with myself and the earth, much lighter, brighter and happier.

How important my relationship to God is, liberating you to establish connections with others.

An excerpt from Eileen Markey’s reading and commentary from her book, A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sr. Maura, (Nation Books) at Agape’s Annual Advent Evening in December, 2016. 

“This book traces not only Maura’s murder but the forces that shaped Maura’s life–Irish nationalism, the immigrant experience in New York, the Cold War, the adaptations of the Catholic Church at Vatican II and the social and political movements that convulsed Central America in the 1970s and 1980s.”       HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected]” \t “_blank” [email protected]

Eileen also wrote a feature article in the Jesuit magazine, America, “How Standing Rock became a spiritual pilgrimage for activists” (June 14, 2017) in which she refers to Brayton’s trip to Standing Rock to deliver straw bales.  HYPERLINK “https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/14/how-standing-rock-became-spiritual-pilgrimage-activists” \t “_blank” https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/06/14/how-standing-rock-became-spiritual-pilgrimage-activists