Catholic Herald July/August 2012 : Page 14

YOUR STORIES Kitzi Hendricks my story Young lay missioner is living out her faith among the people of Bolivia everal months into her experience as a Franciscan lay missioner in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Kathryn “Kitzi” Hendricks couldn’t be happier. “Life is life. I take it one day, one hour, one moment at a time,” she says in her online blog. She is embracing a life of sim-plicity and humility, accompanying people in South America’s poorest country, where indigenous groups are approximately 60 percent of the population. Kitzi, 22, who grew up attending both St. John the Baptist Parish in Folsom and Holy Trinity Parish in El Dorado Hills, S began two years of service with Francis-can Mission Service in January. Work-ing alongside the Franciscan religious community of Cochabamba, she hopes to serve and walk with the poor through ministries that draw upon her experi-ences and interests in youth development, advocacy for women, music and writing. She is a 2007 graduate of St. Francis High School in Sacramento and a 2011 graduate of Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her interest in serving as a lay missioner was sparked by two experiences while attending Creighton: a week-long service trip in El Paso, Texas, working with immigrant families; and an internship assisting women and children who were victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Omaha. Before she made the commitment to service in Bolivia, Kitzi completed an in-depth, three-month formation program with Franciscan Mission Service, a Catho-lic nonprofit that has been training and sending international lay missioners since 1990. During the formation program, she lived in community, served in the local community, and studied theology, Catholic social teaching, Franciscan mis-sionary tradition, cross-cultural living and spiritual development. For the first six weeks in Bolivia, she lived with a host family and attended a Maryknoll-sponsored intensive Spanish-language school, while also examining different mission organizations in Co-chabamba. The city of 800,000 is located in central Bolivia, in a valley bearing the same name in the Andes mountain range. In the entire country, 60 percent of the people live below poverty level and 95 percent are Roman Catholic. Kitzi is documenting her experience by posting reflections and photographs on a blog called “Trials and Triumphs of a Songwriter … Serving in Bolivia.” She wrote recently: “When many people think of missioners abroad, they By Julie Sly | Photography by Cathy Joyce 14 Catholic Herald / July/August 2012 / www. diocese-sacramento .org

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