The First and Final Word is Eternal Light

mental_health_awareness_ribbon_button-p145188434955212106en8go_400Ashley Cole

Last year I posted a piece about the darkness of Christmas season; this year I have come to think of its reverse – Easter. I wrote about having to face the darkness as that is where truth resides. I still agree with that sentiment, however, as I was out walking this week I was struck with how difficult it can be to tunnel out of that darkness into a space of light. Continue reading

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On the Fast Track…to What?

Roma Rights in Canada

Ashley Cole

Last year, while working alongside refugee claimants, I held a small child in my arms and looked on as her parents stared at me in disbelief. In their country people don’t hold their children, they run over them with their cars or throw Molotov cocktails through their windows. So when they saw me showing attention and love to their child they were speechless, and I have to admit, so was I. I had never encountered others who had been so palpably scared by deep-seeded racism that it forced them to flee their homes and come to Canada, and this has been just one of my experiences with the Roma. Continue reading

Living with Catholics

Ashley Cole

The word Catholic is often a word I associate with violence, patriarchy, and old men preaching irrelevant points. I did not grow up in the Catholic Church or even a Christian home, so I am not speaking from years of experience on the ‘inside’; I am however currently situated in a work environment that is a Christian run agency and refugee resettlement office. Although Romero House is open to people of all faiths and is inspired by Christian principles, its internship program and other spiritual activities are heavily influenced by the fact that the Romero House founder and many board members are Catholic (of which there is a nun, a former nun, and a Jesuit priest). On the train ride from Winnipeg to Toronto, I remember reflecting on how I was more afraid to meet the Catholics than I was to meet the refugees; what I have come to know in my time at Romero House, however, is that it  is in the living that faith becomes fact. I don’t work for a church, I work for a refugee office so there are some basic distinctions, but I have come to appreciate the underlying framework of Catholicism that shapes the work we do here. I believe that Romero House has opened itself to the idea that catholic means universal. In order to illustrate, I would like to spend some time reflecting on a few examples of how I have come to know this in my experience. Continue reading