I can still see where we were sitting — Sr. Kathleen Desautels across from me at the big dining room table as light streamed into the convent at Maternity BVM in Chicago's Humboldt Park. It was the second day of my first ministry visit as a postulant in 2014, and I was thrilled to find myself one-on-one with our community's very own 5-foot-2 social justice giant.
Kak, as many of her friends call her, was someone I had met and heard tales about. I knew her as the sister who had spent time in prison for crossing the line in a protest at the School of the Americas, a military training school known for graduating perpetrators of hundreds of human rights abuses throughout Latin America. But I never had the chance for a real conversation with her until that morning.
She started by asking about how the year was going for me, and I shared some of the challenges of the transition, of navigating differences in community life. She listened thoughtfully and offered some helpful feedback.