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Maya Monthly April 2015: Dedicated to Sr. Terry

Apr 26, 2015

Sr. Terry Maksym, mm



Dear Friends of the Maya,


I am dedicating this edition of Maya Monthly to Sr.Terry Maksym, M. M.


Terry is the reason I am in the Yucatan. 40 years ago, I met Terry by chance on a five day vacation to Mexico City. I shared with her my dream of working with Hispanics and she invited me to spend some time in the Yucatan. I didn’t even know where the Yucatan was! I do now.


2015-April-c   Sierra Exif JPEG


After five weeks of intense Spanish Language School, I ended up in Komchen, a Maya village north of Merida. That is when I was a “real” missionary. I lived in the sacristy. No running water no toilet, screens, TV, phone, nada! Terry had promised to come out and “save” me. But she didn’t show up. Day after day. No Terry. (I learned later she had gotten very sick and couldn’t come out.)


I’ll never forget that experience. It was Holy Week. Good Friday I had gotten Montezuma’s Revenge and thought sure I would die! I didn’t. By Easter Sunday I too had risen from the dead. I had also fallen in love with the Maya and vowed to return. I have been in Komchen and its surrounding pueblos for the last 25 years!


Over the years many of you have gotten to know Terry Maksym. She developed the Catechist program for five villages and never stopped working for and with the poor. One night her old car had three flat tires at the same time. Within five minutes, the car was surrounded by people who knew her. They changed the tires and we were on our way! Another time, she and I befriended some women of Komchen in their protest before the Governor. Our pictures were in the paper and soon the Federal Police were at my door advising me that I had just committed a federal crime. They were going to deport us. Terry went to work. She knew the wife of the Governor. That helped. I paid a fine, but Terry smiled and they forgave her immediately.


2015 April aTerry is 87 years old. She beat cancer 50 years ago but it returned recently with a vengeance. She has been at the Maryknoll Mother House north of New York City for the last three years. I visit every year and have promised to return before she died.


That visit took place last week. I had heard that Terry was getting very weak. But she rallied and we had a wonderful reunion. Last Sunday, I celebrated Viaticum with Terry and her friends. Thirty eight of us were together in her small room. She joined the singing and added to the prayers. This is a special service for the “journey”. The ritual calls it: The Sacrament Proper for the Dying Christian. Terry renewed her profession of Faith and after Communion, I shared a Plenary Indulgence from Pope Francis and the words : May Jesus now lead you to eternal life. It was an emotional experience for us all.


You might have noticed that I used the initials: RIP at the beginning of this letter. That means: “Rest In Peace”, and we usually use it to announce a person’s death. Terry hasn’t died yet, but she is resting in peace and I believe that peace will last forever.


You can enjoy more pictures of Sr. Terry posted today on our Facebook page.


Terry knows about this newsletter and she knows about all of you. She is grateful for what you continue to do so that her work might continue. I will never forget this wonderful woman and her influence on my life. May she continue to rest in peace.


Paz y amor,


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