Jimmy Walters, UN Federation NGO, in Antigonish

On the week of June 12-16, the Marthas hosted the Sisters of Charity Federation Leadership Gathering at St. Francis Xavier University. Jimmy Walters, the UN NGO Representative for the Federation was invited to join in some of the discussions, and I had the fun task of being Jimmy’s chauffeur and tour guide for some of that time. Apart from some flight challenges (and lost luggage), it was a wonderful experience!

Over the years, many Marthas, Martha NGO Liaisons, and lay folks involved in Martha Justice Ministry have gone to the United Nations in New York for orientations and to attend commissions. We don’t very often get to have the UN come to us!

As the current Martha NGO Liaison, I met Jimmy a couple of times in New York, when he was just hired and was getting oriented, and after he officially took on the role. So, I knew a bit of his story and motivation for the work. But, having Jimmy here to speak and share gave us such a personal sense of him as a father and as a deeply spiritual person.

It was lovely to have Sister Marion Sheridan, who was the NGO Liaison for many years and was on Jimmy’s hiring committee, welcome Jimmy to Parkland on behalf of the Marthas.

At his presentation, Jimmy told stories about meeting his wife at college and the Vincentian spirituality that they share. He talked with adoration about his daughters. And he talked about the importance of centring his work in this sense of love and spiritual grounding. In his discernment about taking on the UN NGO, he shared that his wife told him that just as he cares for his own daughters, this is a way of caring for all the girls globally who need support.

Jimmy talked about the work of the NGO Representative and the many committees and commissions that he takes part in. These include the important topics he works on, such as climate action, action on human trafficking, Indigenous rights, and others.

The Marthas had some great questions for him, and they had a wonderful and engaging discussion on his work, which left Jimmy very impressed!

Along with his visit to Parkland, I gave Jimmy a quick tour of Bethany and of the Coady Institute at St. FX. He then joined the Federation tour of Bethany on Thursday. It really gave him a great sense of the important work and history of the Marthas and the programs here. And, of course, he got to enjoy the hospitality of the Marthas at the banquet that evening, which included lobster, fiddle music, and dancing with a friendly dragon!

It was such a pleasure to have Jimmy here with us for the week. Given the warm welcome he received, I’m sure he will be back!

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