from the Companion Directors Team
While Jean Swymeler is passionate in her pursuit to bring an end to the death penalty, she is also involved in other endeavors that serve the common good. Among those is Dream Seekers. All participants have some sort of poverty, whether that be financial, physical, mental, or another condition in which the support of others is helpful. They meet monthly to share friendship and life experiences. Members express a need or a want but also offer a service in payment for their wish being fulfilled. One man needed a walker with a seat. Since he has good upper body strength he offered to fulfill a task that would require sitting and lifting. One woman needed bigger diapers for her infant, but offered coats that her children had out grown in exchange. This creative approach allows the individual to preserve their dignity as they share their talents or resources in exchange for a service or item they need.
Dream Seekers fits into Jean’s perspective that as members of the human family, we are called to learn from each other and support one another. It is a ministry of accompaniment. As relationships grow, stereotyping becomes an attitude in the past. Fr. Ron also participates in this endeavor as do Companions Gail and Gary Kincaid, and Wille Clarke.
Jean also participates in Show Me Women Who Care, an organization that was founded by a graduate of JustFaith, a social justice transformation program. At gatherings, members enter a charity into a drawing. Three charities are drawn. The supporter provides a description of the charity. Participants cast their vote for the charity that most reflects the intention of the group to lift up people who are struggling. The charity that receives the most votes will be blessed with a pot consisting of a minimum of twenty-five dollars from each person totally about $5000. Jean who is also a JustFaith graduate finds this to be a good way to live out her Precious Blood spirituality.
Jean is also active in Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), a sorority that assists women in obtaining an education. They fund Cottey College where the women engage in undergraduate and graduate studies. In coming together and uniting their resources, members are making a difference. Jean states, “Everyone has the right to be the best they can be, and education gets them there.”
The pursuit of social justice and peace is near and dear to Jean’s heart. This is evident by her participation on the Precious Blood Justice and Peace Committee, her parish justice group, and Pax Christi. She is a proponent of Pope Paul VI’s opinion, “If you want peace, work for justice.”
Jean is a wonderful example of someone who is living out Gather Send. She finds strength and encouragement in her companion gatherings. This propels her out into the world to lift up those that struggle.