For years, according to Fr. John Walsh, Maryknoll missioners have gone out "armed with seminary notes and skills and oozing righteousness, prepared to give but not to receive, to teach but not to learn." And most found out, often to their great chagrin, that "mission was a two-way street." Mission means carrying the good news of the Gospel to the four corners of the world but it also means taking on wisdom and knowledge from the people--about building a waterproof hut, about indigenous plants that heal, about patience, community, and living life fully in God's created world.
Maryknoll missioners from Asia, Africa, and Latin America tell of what they learned from people of deep faith and strength. Arranged thematically, the stories tell of spiritual health in the face of physical illness, of true happiness lived in poverty, and of life and death and hope and love.
Father Joseph A. Heim, M.M., now retired and living in El Paso, Texas, worked in mission for thirty-five years in Venezuela.