WILMINGTON — Traveling to Japan to repatriate an atomic-bombed cross with a Catholic church in Nagasaki was what Campus Minister Nancy McCormick called “a life-giving” experience for herself and four other Wilmington College travelers in August 2019.
The group will speak about their remarkable journey Thursday, Dec. 17 in an Office of Campus Ministry Quaker Lecture, titled “Gifts of Peace,” at 7 p.m. and available virtually on the College’s main Facebook page.
Sharing their stories will be Dr. Tanya Maus, Emma Marks, Mikaela Prescott and Julio Olivarez. McCormick will host the program
Maus, who came to WC in 2015, serves as director of the Peace Resource Center and Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center at the College. The holder of a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Maus has an extensive background in Japanese culture and initiated the project of returning the cross with its rightful owners at Nagasaki’s Urakami Cathedral. The cross was displayed at the Peace Resource Center from 1982 to the summer of 2019.
Prescott is a senior majoring in history who plans to further her education in public history and Native American studies. She has worked in the Peace Resource Center for several years and assisted with the distribution of 108 handmade “friendship dolls” while the group was in Japan.
“The trip to Japan was memorable to me in the way it affirmed that history can remain impactful on an interpersonal level even retrospectively,” Prescott said. “This trip made me open my heart to the pain of those around me, and it made me realize my own ambitions to continue to strive to do the right thing, even when it is also the hard thing.”
Marks and Olivarez had been in Japan all summer when the other three joined them in August 2019. Marks, who graduated last May, and Olivarez, who will graduate this spring, were interns with the Rural Asian Institute, where they worked on an organic farm and helped teach farmers and leaders from developing countries some of the intricacies and sustainable practices related to growing rice and wheat.
Marks, who majored in agriculture and political science with a minor in sustainability, also had a hands-on learning experience working on an organic goat farm in the Netherlands while at WC. She is pursuing her interest in the field with an apprenticeship at Amber Waves Organic Farm in Amagansett, NY.
Olivarez, who is majoring in mathematics, described his summer in Japan as a “life changing experience” into organic agriculture, sustainability and community.
“I worked, ate and lived alongside a host of rural leaders from around the globe who learned organic techniques and skills that they took back and implemented within their own communities,” he said. “I met these inspiring leaders that I now have the honor of calling my friends.”