Lynn F. Monahan

YEAR JOINED MKLM: 1990
COUNTRY: Peru
FOCUS: Education and Human Rights, Justice and Peace
MINISTRY: Editor at Latinamerica Press

PERSONAL DATA:
Lynn was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and grew up in nearby Thomaston, where he attended St. Thomas Junior High School. He went to Terryville High School after his family moved to the neighboring town of Plymouth the summer after his eighth grade. He attended Central Connecticut State University before transferring to Syracuse University to study journalism and literature. He worked for newspapers and wire services in Connecticut before joining the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1990.

After he left the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 1994, he remained in Lima another three years, married and had his first daughter. During that time he worked for The Associated Press. Among the stories he covered were the arrest of American Lori Berenson, the Peru-Ecuador Cenepa River border war and the takeover of the Japanese ambassador’s residence and hostage standoff by the leftist group MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement), which occurred six blocks from their apartment just months before he returned to the United States with his wife and daughter in 1997.

After returning to the United States in June of 1997, he took a job on the Latin America desk of Bloomberg News in Manhattan, where he worked for the next six years, during which time Lynn and his family settled in Ossining, New York. His second daughter was born in 1999.

In 2003 he resigned his position at Bloomberg, in part because the values of this major financial news organization did not mesh well with the values he held as a lay missioner, where the idea of service and a preferential option for the poor were diametrically opposed to the Wall Street idea that rich equals smart and visa versa.

After leaving Bloomberg, he spent a year writing a novel, while taking writing courses at Manhattanville College. The novel, Pistaco: A Tale of Love in the Andes, is not autobiographical but the setting and events are drawn from what he saw and heard then, as well as his research into Peruvian culture and history. The story deals with a diocesan priest who goes to mission in Peru and serves in a remote Andean village where he and the local school teacher are the main outsiders in a world caught between the Maoist insurrection of the Shining Path and a harsh military counter-insurgency. It deals with themes of love and loss, tradition and change, faith and superstition, and the syncretism of Andean and Christian beliefs. He finished the first draft of the novel in July 2004 and joined the staff of Maryknoll magazine in November of that year. Multiple attempts to find a publisher for Pistaco were unsuccessful until Michael Leach, publisher emeritus and editor-at-large of Orbis Books read it a couple of years ago and recommended it to In Extenso Press and ACTA Publications, the publisher and distributor respectively, both Catholic publishing companies run by lay people.

MKLM WORK:
In 1990 he joined Maryknoll Lay Missioners and was assigned to Peru, where I worked as an editor and translator for Latinamerica Press, a weekly, Maryknoll-supported publication produced in Lima providing information and analysis about Latin America and the Caribbean, with an emphasis on the problems and situations that affect the human rights of vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the population. While in Lima, Lynn met his future wife, Carmen Negron, who worked at an NGO with Maryknoll Lay Missioner Susan Weissert. They now live in Ossining, a mile from Maryknoll, and have two daughters, Abigael, 21, and Mariana, 18.

Lynn shares: “My role in Maryknoll is not typical of the average Maryknoll lay missioner. I worked as a journalist in the office of Latinamerica Press, yet was literally in the midst of the Shining Path urban guerrilla campaign during the time I was in Lima. At one point a bomb damaged a stained-glass window in our office. The head of Peruvian security had a safe-house directly across the street from our office. And several of the worst car bombings in the country occurred mere blocks from our office. I remember a meeting of lay missioners being disrupted by a bright arch of light and screams of “duck” as a car bomb exploded blocks from the apartment of the lay missioner family hosting the meeting.”

CURRENT WORK:
Lynn stated “Since being blessed with the opportunity to work on Maryknoll magazine, I have traveled to various parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, reporting on the mission work of Maryknoll fathers, brothers, sisters, lay missioners and short- and long-term volunteers.” Lynn is currently editor-in-chief, with oversight of Maryknoll magazine and Misioneros, the Spanish-language publication (successor to Revista Maryknoll), as well as being directly involved in the web and social media presence and working to adapt the traditional legacy magazine to the sea change in media, communications and mission in an age that Pope Francis has described as “a change of era.”

Pistaco can be purchased in hard or soft cover or ebook on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/Pistaco-lfm-book or direct from the publisher at http://actapublications.com/pistaco-hardcover/.