`Blessing Unto Others' hosts speakers from orphanage
By EMILY ORR
Kaleen Sanner and Mark Farrell spoke about their experiences in the Hogar San Jose in Talagante, Chile on the third night of the "Blessing Unto Others" program. Sanner, a senior at Notre Dame, and Farrell, a second year law student, recounted their time at the orphanage with a mixture of emotions.
Sanner and Farrell began their presentation with a short video clip and passed out prayer cards. They asked the community to pray for the children in the orphanage.
"There are many things you can do, even here on campus," said Farrell. "Just say a prayer for this child."
Farrell and Sanner both stressed the culture of violence that pervaded the early lives of the orphans.
Farrell recounted a story in which three brothers were brought to the orphanage after witnessing their mother murder their father.
Farrell emphasized that "despite the challenges, these kids live such a blessed life." Sanner added, "despite their violent pasts and even their current lives in the orphanages, these are genuinely happy children."
Farrell and Sanner also each spoke about many of their personal experiences in the Hogar.
"Working in Chile was the most difficult month of my life," said Farrell. "Those kids are just starved for attention."
He went on to describe the state of the orphanage, telling of rampant cases of head lice, fleas in the beds and no running water. He also spoke of the "Domingo Primero," or First Sunday, when relatives come to visit.
Farrell told a story of how a mother of one of the children lived in the area, yet never once stopped in to see her child.
However, he went on to say that, "despite the emotional garbage, they are the happiest kids. You will feel blessed by your experience with them."
The lack of private and personal space and the few items of personal property surprised Sanner.
Upon meeting these disadvantaged children she "immediately felt enveloped by love."
She continued the sentiment by commenting that the kids she lived and worked with "live every moment."
"They have nothing and give everything," she said.
Farrell emphasized that although you don't have to go to Chile to do good work, "it's our call to be blessings unto others."
"We can do this in an action as simple as a smile, or opening a door for someone … that's all we ask," Farrell added.
All News Stories for Thursday, February 8, 2001