Friar Don Miller. OFM
I am a Franciscan priest. I spent my early years of ministry in New Mexico working among the Pueblo Native Americans and the Hispanics. In 1978 I began my years in academics working as a chaplain, faculty member, and administrator at various universities in the southwest and the midwest. I taught various course in theology, especially in my area of specialty which is moral theology. I have been the Vocation Director for the Province of Saint John the Baptist since 2003.
 
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Comment from Michael

Michael comments on the "House that moved:"


Father Don,


That is a great post!  I'm sorry you were in the traffic jam though.


Take care,
Michael


The House that moved

Sorry I don't have a picture of this but . . . . .


Yesterday as I was returning from visiting a prospective in Tennessee, I came upon a traffic jam and had to come to a complete stop. Then for an hour and a half--I am not exaggerating--I crept along never getting over a mile or two per hour.


At one point I saw some police cars up ahead with lights flashing. I also noticed that the oncoming traffic was very sparse--those vehicles that did get through were arriving in small groups of maybe ten or fifteen at a time. So I presumed that there had been a major car accident and I offered a prayer or two for the victims hoping no one had been killed or seriously injured..


Gradually the line crept along. We had to stop for a couple of red lights as we crossed intersections, but that really didn't affect the progress much because once the light turned green there was no where to go--the line had not advance significantly.


Finally I was able to get a distant view of the problem. There was a two story house being moved down the highway. No accident, no one hurt, just someone moving their house to another location. I immediately thought of an incident in Macbeth where a messenger tells the king:


As I did stand my watch upon the hill, I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought, the wood began to move.

The king, incredulous that a forest of trees could move said to the messenger:

Liar and slave!

But the slave responded:

Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so: within this three mile may you see it coming; I say, a moving grove.


Well, within that three mile I saw it going; a moving HOUSE.


Note to the Postulants

Mark McPherson writes:


Pax et Bonum!


To all you new Postulants! You are all in my prayers as you embark on a lifelong journey with Saint Francis and Saint Clare towards Jesus with their brothers and sisters today. You are about to share your lives, open your hearts to a group of great and challegning men of God. I myself was a postulant just two years ago. I am still on the journey of vocation towards where God wants me and still to this day two years later, the wisdom of those friars is molding me into a better man today. Be open,, as I was not, be loving, be accepting and be at Peace brothers.


Christ is with you all!!


Mark McPherson


Transitus of Saint Clare

Blessing_with_relic_2Last evening a good number of local Friars and the Postulants joSr_mary_dorisined the Poor Clares in celebrating the "Transitus" or Passing of Saint Clare from this life into eternal life. This is an annual celebration which Franciscans throughout the world observe. We also observe the Transitus of Saint Francis on the evening before his Solemnity in October. Pictured on  the left are the Poor Clares blessing us with the relic of Saint Clare. On the right is Sr. Mary Doris, the Abbess, welcoming us before the celebration began.


A local custom is an ice cream social following the Transitus. The Friars, Ann_and_louis_bartkoPostulants, and Sisters gathered in the monastery dining room and recreation room for ice cream and home-made cookies. At the gathering were Sr. Ann Bartko, O.S.C.and her brother Fr. Louis Bartko, O.F.M. The Bartkos are from northern Ohio and now both reside in Cincinnati.


John_stein_and_postulantsPictured here are some of the Postulants visiting with Fr. John Stein, O.F.M. who will be one of their Novice Directors next year. Pictured from left to right are Andrew Stettler, O.F.M., a Temporary Professed Friar who is about to leave for four months in Pakistan, and Postulants, Tim Tran, Clifford Hennings, and Joshua van Cleef--all a little blurry. :-(


Family Celebration

Anniversary_2As things worked out in my sisters' and my life, my ordination anniversary and their wedding anniversaries are all five years apart. This year Mary and Otto Kaufman (couple on the right in the picture)  are celebrating their 40th anniversary, Dorothy and Michael O'Toole (couple on the left) are celebrating their 30th anniversary, and I am celebrating my 35th anniversary of ordination. (I am also observing my 41st anniversary of Profession of Vows as a Franciscan this year.)


Yesterday afternoon, my sisters' families and I gathered for a Mass of Thanksgiving at the parish church where we grew up and where Dorothy teaches junior high social studies. All together we commemoration 105 years of sacramental life.


The families have grown over the years. Three of my nieces and one nephew are married. That leaves one niece and one nephew to go. I also have two great nieces and two great nephews so far.


Our parents died in 1984 and 2000, but the generations continue to flourish. Together we have many blessings to celebrate and for which to be thankful to the Lord.


Vacation Note about the Sinsinawa Dominicans

Madelyn_and_iFor the past several years, my sisters and I have made one or more small trips a part of my vacation. Every summer I travel to Peoria, IL where I was reared and where my sisters live, and the three of us plan some excursion together. Since their families are grown, they are free to travel. This year is no exception.


Yesterday the three of us drove to the Mother House of the Sinsinawa Dominicans. This community of Sister taught us in grade school and have been a part of our family ever since I can remember. We had called ahead to see if Sr. Madelyn would be available and found that she was. Sister taught my younger sister and me in the first grade. She is now a very healthy and spry 90 year old. (She and I are pictured above.) We arrived just before lunch and visited her and other Sister that we knew until almost 5:00 p.m. We even unexpectedly met with my elder sister's first grade teacher who is 92.


Visiting the Mount, as the Sisters' Mother House is referred to, is a bit of nostalgia but it is also a bit of who I am. The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa helped form my faith and helped me develop into the man I am today. They were also very, very instrumental in my discerning a vocation to the Religious Life and Priesthood. While I did not end up joining the Dominican Friars, the spirituality and faith of the Sisters gave me the foundation upon which to build my faith and my vocation.


We sometimes hear horror stories about the "nuns" of the past. I don't know if they are true or not. I can testify with out a doubt to the love and hospitality, the gentleness and care of the Sinsinawa Dominicans. I somewhat miss the days when they were the center of our school days. But I am even more convinced of the gift that they were to me and my family.