October 20

Going Home to Grenada

The mountains of Grenada, viewed from Mount St. Ervan Retreat Center. Photo by Catherine Bulger.

by Catherine Bulger

Editor’s Note: Catherine Bulger has joined the staff of Vine & Branches both as a writer and as the managing editor.

In August of 1988, Catherine’s parents, Jim and Beth Bulger (Servant Branch), moved to Grenada with two-year-old Catherine and six-month-old Annie in tow. The community sent them to implement a high school Christian Family Life program that Laurie (Tychsen) Magill (northern Virginia) and Linda Porto (South Bend) had written for religious education teachers in Grenada, at the request of the then bishop of Grenada, the Most Rev. Sidney Charles. The Bulgers shared People of Praise life first with John and Amy Zwerneman and, before long, with Grenadian branch members as well.

The Bulgers lived in Grenada until May, 1991, when Catherine was five. Twenty-seven years later, in February, 2019, she fulfilled a longtime hope to return to Grenada and see her former home again, traveling with her parents, who visit annually on behalf of the community’s branch relations office.

Part I: Remembering a Distant Home Before a Long-Awaited Return

Nutmeg, lime, coconut, mango, ginger. The warm smell of spices in the air. Tall palm fronds waving gently high above my head. The deep, deep, endless green. The ferns on the mountaintop. Little green-brown, funny lizards scurrying down the walls. Juicy ripe fruit with brilliant sweetness exploding in my mouth. Goats grazing in the yard when we came home from church. Women walking on the roof of the cocoa-processing plant outside our kitchen window, stirring the cocoa pods with their bare feet. Read more.

 

At the closing ceremonies, the praise songs are loud and go late into the night, and as far as I know those hallelujahs are still being raised through the woods and fields of Camp Phillippo.

 

"I often refer to camp as the beginning of the Holy Spirit working in me. It was at camp that I learned how to use a prayer journal and hear the Lord’s voice."

 

“Ed was like Lazarus emerging from the tomb. My heart is full of gratitude and praise.”