Truth of Experience. Where do you start? Well, as famously sang in The Sound of Music, “Let‟s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start ..”. For us that starting point is our lives! Joseph Cardijn, the founder of the Young Christian Workers believed in the importance of young workers starting with their lived experiences so as to bring to the fore the contradictions between their lives and their human dignity, their self-worth. The MCW follows this same path in reviewing our own lives and that of others. José A. Pagola1 notes how Jesus‟ language was unique. Referring to the parables he writes „There is nothing artificial or forced in his words; everything is clear and simple. He talked about life... all Galilee is present in his language; its work days and feast days, its sky and seasons, its flocks and vineyards, its planning and harvesting, its beautiful lakes and its population of fishermen and farmers.‟ We would add women looking after the homes, fetching and carrying, coping as widows with little, if any income or trying to seek justice; all showing determination to live their lives as best they could whilst breaking the mould that their expected roles imposed. In this edition of our Review all articles and items take on the same starting point; the reality of workers‟ lives and that of others.
The‟ Pandemic through our Eyes‟ is an update of the previous version from July 2020. Written at the request of the ACO Movement, Spain, it reflects Reviews of Life and enquiry material from members up to April 2021. The depth and breadth of poverty, before and after the pandemic, is exposed by the rise of food bank demands as noted by the Trussell Trust; a demand likely to rise with the ending of the furlough scheme and the £20.00 universal credit top-up. Also, Pope Francis‟ address to the International Labour Organisation illustrates how, comprehending and appreciating the diversity of workers‟ realities throughout the world needs to be the starting point for action at all political and economic levels. Whilst the surge of poverty is more widely recognised some issues may still remain hidden. The increase in the use of credit or debit card transactions during the pandemic can be detrimental to others. Why? Because, of the decrease in „free-to-use‟ ATM machines. Again, it is more likely to be those with little cash reserves and/or older people who depend on the availability of access to cash in hand for budgeting or out of habit.
Pat Jones and Paul Edwards feature in this Review both instigated by the lived experience of one of their parents. Paul‟s father, a merchant seafarer, was a member of the Apostleship of the Sea2 . Paul reviews a book giving a personal testimony of a retired chaplain. The work of these chaplains is provoked through identifying a need because of the realities that are faced but well hidden. The experience of Pat Jones‟ mother has triggered a unique research project examining the experience of women who joined the YCW in the 1950-1970s. She is seeking women who would be willing to look back at their experiences and reflect on them with her. It is the Truth of Experience that provokes us to see things anew: To question more deeply our own experience and that of others acts to highlight the disparity between realities and our belief in the Truth of Faith.
1 (Jesus. An Historical approximation) PRE (Pastoral Renewal Exchange) 159 November 2020, Page 16
2 Now known as Stella Maris