These past 12 months mark the year I started to take peace more seriously.
You might ask: Don't all reporters for Global Sisters Report and National Catholic Reporter take peace seriously? It's practically our credo.
We do, of course, and certainly peace is something I have seen as an aspiration and hope after traveling to and reporting in countries where violence, war and poverty are all too common.
But a few things happened in 2017 on my reporter's beat to make the goal of peace more tangible and urgent for me.
The first? Being further awakened to the effects of war on real people. Spending time with those who have survived the costly — and, I have to say, unnecessary — four-year civil war in South Sudan, I witnessed resilience, strength and grace. But during my assignment to the war-torn country in May, I also saw and felt how being displaced, losing a family member and facing months, maybe even years, of uncertainty can cut into a life.