Sister Elizabeth Padilla(1) of the Brahma Kumaris Worldwide Spiritual Organization, left last Friday for a month of travel, retreat and work in India, the founding country of the Brahma Kumaris. The local Brahma Kumaris have a center here in Marin, Anubhuti Retreat Center, where I have attended several MIC days of retreat.
Another member, novelist Nafisa Haji, of the International Association of Sufism, left Sunday for two weeks in her family's homeland of Pakistan, where she has been invited by the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan to represent the US at the Karachi Literature Festival. I have read Nafisa's first two published novels, The Writing on My Forehead and The Sweetness of Tears, and I recommend them highly, both for their eloquence and literary merit and for the unique perspectives on Pakistani-Americans and people of mixed heritage in today's complicated world.
Both prior to and since Partition in 1947, India and Pakistan have a complicated and challenging history. Today those relations continue to be strained relations. Not to mention the challenging and complicated relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan.
To quote MIC's Director, the Rev. Carol Hovis,
It is fitting and hope-filled that two of our own MIC leaders (Elizabeth is currently on our Board of Directors and Nafisa served as Board President last year) are in these two countries, representing the very best of the US and world-wide humanity.I have always enjoyed a very warm and respectful relationship with both of these women. I'm proud to report to the Pagan world the extent and potential of the work of my local interfaith colleagues.
We send our traveling mercies, love, prayers and strength to these two courageous and talented women, Nafisa and Elizabeth.
Yours in service to Coventina,
M. Macha NightMare (Aline O'Brien)
1. Sister Elizabeth, in a previous life, played Snow White in the well-known San Francisco revue, Beach Blanket Babylon. Now she sings beautiful Hindu devotionals.