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.
Father Don's Vocation Blog

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Integrative Workshop was a Success

100_1078 Here is a copy of a note I sent to our provincial newsletter. The reference to Martha and Mary point back to St. Francis' rule for hermitages where he stipulates that the Friars should alternate praying and taking care of the household duties. He picked up the notion from the Gospel story of the two women--Martha did the household chores while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened.



Richard Goodin, O.F.M. and I spent June 1 through 8 at Holy Family Friary in Oldenburg, IN for the pilot run of the new Capstone Course in Franciscana for those of SJB Province who are about to make Solemn Profession. The program is my brainchild with input from Fr. Nick Lohkamp and approved by the Initial Formation Council a year or so ago. Richard is the first among our men in initial formation to reach solemn vows since the program’s inception.



Based on my experience of a capstone course at Walsh University and elsewhere, I feel that our educational process is highly analytical. We approach each course/subject as a separate unit and seldom, if ever, help a student synthesize what he has learned. The question of how it all fits together is rarely addressed. Feeling that the same could be the case for our men’s Franciscan education/formation, Fr. Nick and I designed a program to help those about to make their final profession look at both the courses in Franciscan philosophy/theology and spirituality they’ve studied and their experience of five years of formation as well as a year of practical living in the province (affectionately referred to as their S.T.I.P. year) in a synthetic or integrative way. This is not intended to replace or repeat the interprovincial month-long retreat in preparation for solemn vows, but is an academic workshop of integration.

Because Lorelei, the Poor Clare’s guest area and a number of other locations were unavailable, Richard and I chose Oldenburg as a proper venue for the workshop because of its seclusion; a place offering a quiet and reflective atmosphere. Frs. Carl Hawver, David Kobak, and Bro. Tim Lamb were excellent hosts playing the role of Martha to Richard’s and my role of Mary. (Obviously, if the program continues, next year we will need a location that can handle a larger group. Likewise, with only one man making the workshop, the schedule reflected less structure than perhaps would be required for a larger class.)



Richard reviewed various resources (including the Early Rule, Celano I, selections from our most recent Constitutions, a number of C.F.I.T publications, and some of the prayers/writings of Saint Francis) and, in discussion with me, reflected on them anew in light of his five years of Franciscan life and his recent experience in Jamaica. We purposely chose a date after the Chapter so that that experience would also be a fresh resource for reflection. The format was to alternate periods of reading and discussion with full participation in the fraternal/prayer life of the friary. (We also experienced a little of the cultural life of Oldenburg with a few trips to the local pubs for the area’s famous fried chicken as well as the local brews.)



Both of us found the experience very worthwhile and will develop an evaluation to take to the Initial Formation Council for further discussion, etc. with regard to future workshops.





Dr Noll

Congratulations, Richard.

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