They Come Back Singing: Finding God with the Refugees

Gary N. Smith, Author . Loyola $14.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-8294-2701-1

Where do you go after two decades of working with poor and homeless people, inmates and the mentally ill living in low-income hotels? For Smith, a Jesuit priest and author of Radical Compassion , the answer was to follow God’s call to work and live with some of the most disadvantaged people in the world, the Sudanese refugees living in Uganda. This book, a record of his six years in two refugee camps as priest and administrator, reveals not only the truly ghastly conditions in which people live and often die, but also the spiritual strength that supports them. Smith’s collection of journal entries, letters and other narratives shines a spotlight on individual stories, including masses and celebrations, a blind woman who doesn’t need eyes to see clearly, the intense suffering as the last of a family’s children dies and the terror of armies that attack and burn villages. Smith also documents his own struggle to learn a foreign language, culture and values, as well as his anger at injustices and, powerfully, his intense love for the people. “We find redemption in our lives by honoring our relationships,” Smith writes. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/12/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008
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