Saturday, November 8


Greetings, dear reader!

Perhaps some of you remember that I am a robe-wearing, card carrying member of a merry band of Franciscans called the OEF? (Order of Ecumenical Franciscans) As you may or may not know, we are a real community, not a virtual one, and we meet together regionally to have fellowship and check in with one another. Today we had such a meeting here in "the Vern." One of our dear brothers entrusted his life (and directions) to Tom Tom and headed our way. After a few wild goose chases and a couple of pig paths later, he showed up at the door, grinning ear to ear.

Gathered today were myself, Michael Vosler of St. Louis, and my dear friend Dusty, who lives semi-locally. Dusty is an amazing cook. Add that to an incredible gift of hospitality, and we can always know that if SHE is volunteering to bring the food, we will eat well. And eat well we did! She brought a delicious baked potato soup, and a hearty chicken tortellini. Both were beyond fabulous. As per her fashion, she also brought a vat-0-chex-mix...for she knows a certain Franciscan sister loves the stuff. (She even adds extra cashews, and leaves out the wheat chex, and has a perfect blend of spices and seasonings she entitles the "Paula Clare mix.") She also made (I told you we'd eat well) a yummy cranberry orange bundt cake...heaven, I tell you! TOTAL heaven!

After checking in with one another and discussing how we were doing in our Franciscan vocations, we spent some time in the sanctuary, singing, praying, and reading liturgies that centered around the subject of poverty. We are incredibly blessed to have some wonderfully gifted writers in our little order, and the incomparable Katie Cook created the "Room at the Table" packet of services and liturgical materials. It's an incredible mix of traditional liturgy and Bible readings, contemporary dramatic readings, and thought provoking exercises and activities meant to "spur us on to good deeds."

I presided over the eucharist (communion, Lord's supper) and we shared a common loaf and a common cup in remembrance of our Lord's DECISION to become impoverished so that we could find solace in our spiritual poverty. As always, the breaking of bread and drinking of wine (grape juice) together is very bonding and humbling. I'm often amazed at the power in this simple act of service and obedience. We in OEF share around an open table, meaning anyone, ANYONE, who is a member of the family of Christ is welcome to come to the table with us. It's one of the first things that drew me to this little Order. Inclusion for ALL is truly an act of love and comittment to our Lord's mandate to "Remember Me."

All in all, a wonderful, inspiring day! I am SO grateful to have found this little, rag tag group of "wacky monks!"

More soon!


Paula Clare

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