Finally Back From Detroit

Look how tired I am from this long weekend!

Actually, this was a pic taken down at St. Clare Friary in Chicago. This is where I began my weekend ministry with the new candidates looking at joining the Capuchins. Every October, the Vocations Department plans an event to tour the different ministries in Detroit. Along with information and scenes, there's the opportunity to talk to friars, other candidates who are discerning, and of course current Postulants who can talk about their experience with the order. I was one of the first selected to help John and Jerry with their weekend this year.

The drive was extremely long. Traffic from Milwaukee to Chicago was horrible, the weather just sucked when driving the seven hours from CHI to DET, and there were 11 of us crammed into a fleet van. Since I have "more to love," it's quite obvious that I was rather uncomfortable.
The Director of the Capuchin Food Pantry explains how things work to the visiting candidates. Rich Reinhardt (in the middle with the tote bag)displays his suspicion with the now-patented "eyebrow look."

After some well-needed rest and a few beers to end the day, we got up early Saturday and began our tour of Detroit. We visited the various Soup Kitchens run by the Caps to give the candidates a sense of our presence in DET. One of the things many people are surprised by is not the existence of a "bad neighborhood," but how empty this metropolis actually is. Driving by abandoned lots, burned out houses, bombed-out factories, and abandoned homes with stuffed teddy bears nailed to the siding, the sadness in this city never ceases to amaze me.

They say haunted houses aren't real. I think this place is the exception to the rule, because it still creeps me out!

At the end of the day of visiting ministries, we took a drive up to Washington, MI...about 45 minutes north of Detroit. Here in Washington we have one of our three retreat houses. With 95 acres of property to roam and explore, a great spiritual direction staff, and a cool whippet who's always looking for attention, this place is always nice to visit. I told the candidates that before making a decision, I talked to the director about having a 3 day retreat to really clear my head and assess my next move in life. I ended up not taking that retreat, but I think I found the right answer, regardless.

After returning to CHI from Detroit, and then to MKE, I am glad to be back in my room, listening to my music, while typing on my laptop. But each time I travel to the different ministries of the Capuchins, I'm reminded of one very important thing: each friary is my home.

As a brother (well, still technically a Postulant) my home is wherever a friary exists. My stuff might be at one friary, my office may be at another, my mail might even go to a third; but in each of those places I am invited to participate in the community just like here. There are moments in my reflection where I realize how wonderful it is to live this religious life: knowing that no matter where I go, I have a place to go and family waiting to share a laugh.

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