Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 27 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Simeon Sylites

What did Tim Kaine learn during his year in Honduras?

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/29/16

For all his significant weaknesses and flaws as a candidate, Tim Kaine has this impressive detail on his resume: he spent a year as Jesuit Volunteer in Honduras after college.

I envy that choice, and wish I had had the maturity and sense of mission to do something like that when I was in my 20s. But I was selfish and eager to get on with my career. It’s something I’ll always regret.

Now, Brendan Busse at The Jesuit Post has offered some thoughts, from his own life, on what that experience can give a person:

What does it mean that a candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States took a year away from Harvard Law to teach welding and carpentry in a Jesuit mission in Honduras? I think it means a lot more than, “he speaks Spanish.” Senator Kaine can (and will) answer for himself — but here are a few of my own thoughts based on how my two years as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize affected me, and might impact someone in Kaine’s position.
  1. You get used to being surprised. During my time in Belize I found myself regularly surprised by a different way of seeing things, by a different set of cultural priorities. Ketchup on rice and beans? Surprisingly delicious. Trust me. At the end of two years I continued to discover new things, but I was no longer surprised at my being surprised. In a diverse political landscape, this openness to newness and difference — this ability to thrive in surprising circumstances — could be a real asset.
  1. You realize that people very different from you can teach you a lot about yourself. Volunteers realize that their way of seeing and experiencing the world is not the only way and, at times, may not be the best way. In our current political climate, any hint of disagreement blinds us to even recognize an opponent as a human worthy of respectful dialogue and personal compromise. In this climate, it would be hard to underestimate how important humility can be.
  1. You learn how to take the view from below. The people who live ‘below us’ economically, socially, and geographically see the world very differently from us. Their vision is authentic and authoritative if we are to fully understand the problems we face. To study at Harvard Law (one of the most privileged places in the world) and to defer your studies in order to teach welding in a vocational school in Honduras (one of the poorest and most violent countries in the world) clearly demonstrates a preferential option for the poor. Understanding this might help us to think and speak more meaningfully about the influence of Sen. Kaine’s Catholic faith on his political decisions.

Read more.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
Sarah Robsdottir
What we can learn from Elon Musk’s housing decisions
See More