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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Franciscan Mega Conference

Untouchables

I went to the MEGA CONFERENCE in Libertyville, IL as I do every other year expecting a fraternal gathering of Vocation Directors from the various Franciscan families. This is the fifth such gathering I have attended and have never come home disappointed. The input, sharing, prayer, and fraternity are always more than satisfying. Again, this year I was not disappointed.

But this year we expanded our group to include two young Friars from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. They were a pleasant addition to our group along with the new Vocation Directors from the Franciscans, Conventuals, and Capuchins. (Each gathering includes new Friars as assignments within the various provinces change. That, of course, means some old friends have moved on to new assignments and are no longer part of the gathering.)

The addition of the Missionaries highlighted the diversity and breadth of the Franciscan charism. I was reminded that Franciscan spirituality and vision of life are not captured solely by any one Franciscan entity. They are rich and open to multiple interpretations all of which add to what is commonly referred to as "Franciscanism." We need one another to complete the mosaic of which each Order or Community is merely a part--and also a part of the bigger mosaic which is the Church.

I came home feeling blessed and challenged by our mutual sharing and fraternity. Thank to all who participated, especially to the new Friars who graced us with their presence. I have found some new friends within the larger Franciscan family.

On yeah, the whole gang went on the "Untouchable Tour" seeing the gangster haunts of Chicago in the '20s and '30s. And, yes, we did enjoy the irony of a gang of Franciscans visiting the gangster sites of Chicago. But we did it in a truly Franciscan, peaceable manner.

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