by Joyce Rothermel
Fr. Vince Stegman, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) and a member of the Thomas Merton Center, has written an account of his cross-cultural experiences as a missionary among the Maasai people in Tanzania and the Borana people in Ethiopia entitled, Crossing Bridges.
Born in Pittsburgh, Fr. Vince began ministry as a Catholic priest and missionary in 1963. After teaching for two years here in the U.S., he left for Tanzania in 1966. There he worked with the Maasai people for ten years. He was then asked to go to the newly begun mission work with the Borana people in Ethiopia in 1975, where he ministered until returning to the U.S. in 2011. He is currently a chaplain at Duquesne University.
In the Addendum to the book, Fr. Vince writes: “I went into the experience with very little understanding of what I was getting into. But I experienced so many wonderful things and learned so much about myself and my life’s calling…. I am happy to have lived it all and feel that I helped a number of people answer some of life’s questions for themselves as I went along…. Being able to enter not only the Maasai culture in Tanzania but also the Borana culture in Ethiopia may have benefitted me more than it did the people I met in those two countries…. I can’t stress too much the value of living in a culture different from ones’ native culture for an extended period of time. You expand your understanding of human nature and its variety. You learn that any one culture cannot have the answers to all the questions that humankind has, because every culture, every significant number of tribes or peoples, has its own particular answers to life’s variety and challenges.”
In the Conclusion, Fr. Vince invites, “Some who read this may be inspired to do something more with their lives than to just go on, without considering the many blessings and experiences new perspectives may yield. All have the potential.”
To obtain a copy of Fr. Vince’s book, contact him at email@example.com
JOYCE ROTHERMEL IS THE CO-CHAIR OF THE SW PA BREAD FOR THE WORLD TEAM
Originally published VOL 49 No. 7, September 2019