This week I heard two homilies in a row in which a priest mentioned a fig tree. That was the inspiration for this blog. I like Fig Newtons but never ate an “undried” fig until Sister Regina Alfonso brought some home from Tennessee. In Scripture fig trees are a sign of peace and prosperity. Our expression “I don’t give a fig” stems from the fact that fig trees were abundant. It means “I don’t care.” Caring is important, something that human beings do. When one of my nephews had the habit of saying, “Who cares?” my sister fined him a quarter each time he said it. These days people all over the world are caring about those who were affected by the horrendous events in Paris. We sympathize with their suffering and sorrow. The three colors of the French flag are cropping up all over, an attempt at “comforting the sorrowful.”
Today I’d like to focus on someone who gave a fig and made a difference in the lives of many people. A few years ago I visited Chiltiupan, one of the poorest villages in El Salvador. It has 98% unemployment, and houses are corrugated aluminum with dirt floors. Among our visiting St. Dominic parishioners was Angela Mooney Gallan. Witnessing the extreme poverty of the people spurred her to action. She organized the women of the village into a sewing group who produced all kinds of goods: crocheted and knitted items, jewelry, and handbags. Then she began a company called Santa Rosa Stitches to sell the items. The women use the money they earn to pay for schooling for their children, medicine, and food. Angie sells the items at churches, craft shows and on the Internet. You can learn more about the individual women and this project of care and also purchase items by going to http://www.santarosastiches.com Buying something made by this group could take care of items on your Christmas list. It would also be a Christmas present to the women.
Angie is also raising money to purchase food for families in Chiltiupan. Four times a year a group goes there, purchases items and packages them to deliver to families. The Basic Necessities Care Package includes water, eggs, beans, rice, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, powder milk and specialty items specific for the family in need. Information for getting involved in this good work is found on the Santa Rosa site.
Who do you know who cared a fig? What can you do to show you care this week?
FYI: Figs figure in the Bible . . . In Genesis Adam and Eve made clothes for themselves out of fig leaves. Abigail presented David with two hundred fig cakes (and he married her). Jesus saw the apostle Nathanael when he was under a fig tree. Jesus told a parable about a man whose fig tree bore no fruit. Also, when Jesus was hungry and could find no fruit on a fig tree, he said that the tree would never bear fruit again.