Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mud bricks and Ministry

This place is pure poetry. It is called the Hermitage of St. Bernadine of Siena, located in Stroud, NSW, Australia. I came here for the Provincial chapter meeting March 28-April 2. the meetings were useful and interesting, as such meetings go. but what was really great is this place: built in 1980 by dozens of volunteers is is constructed of thousands of hand made mud bricks. The site itself was slated to be a garbage dump on the edge of town, but the brothers and sisters were able to re-claim it. The moved onto a bare, rubbish-strewn, treeless site and began making bricks. The dedication attracted thousands of people. It is the kind of place that really grabs my imagination. Think of it as a metaphor for the Franciscan life: inhabiting unwanted areas and making them lovely, turning mud into beautiful homes, living in and on and with the earth. The brothers who live here offer the place for retreats and quiet days, for groups, but mostly for individuals looking to get away. St. Francis depended on regular times of retreat and withdrawal in the wilderness, living in caves and wandering in the forests.
Pictured at the right are some of the pioneers who built the Hermitage. From left to right: Br. Brian, Isabel, Trevor, Br. Bruce-Paul,Gwen, Alfed BoonKong. In front Br. Joseph (he is a novice and wasn't a brother in 1980).

1 comment:

Ed said...

Dear Clark:

Greetings to you and congrats on all the blogging you are doing for all of us back here on LI and around the world. Your pictures and stories (England/ Solmons/ PNG and now Australia are just great and take a little of the sting out of not having you around 24/7.

First things first: I must apologise for not "blog" commenting sooner and as you can see (moving forward),, I am doing something about that right NOW and take the pledge to be more active so that you have a sense of what is happening back at the home front.. for example>> This is Earthstock week at Stony Brook University and all kinds of shaling and baking are going on. The week has been packed with daily talks and seminars that focus on the Environment, Greening solutions and Sustainablity issues.. then on the 18th (Friday) we have the big celebration where the SBU Academic Mall will be filled with Music, banners, over 80 exhibitors and of course the SBU drum circle (that you helped to form) along with special guest "OWUSU." and a morning Labyrinth Walk on the SBU Red Dragon Labyrinth.. So this Friday will be one of those Little Portion/SBU daze for me (thinking about you all day) that will include Baking Bread in the am, dropping off Chili at Little Portion Friary for the Labyrinth Walk/ Taize service at 7 PM ,,,
and finishing off the day with a cooncert by Jack's Weaterfall at the University Cafe at 9:30 ..

On Saturday the Brother's are hosting an ECO Franciscam day that will include stories of Francis and the Environment,, Nature Walks, Outdoor Mass, Drum Circle and Poetry ,, so Clark lots going on .. you are prayed for, remembered and missed daily ..
plus everyone is looking forward to your return "HOME" in a couple of weeks..

Stay well and keep on blogging,



Last touch: I wrote a Grant through the President's Office "Dialogue across Difference" prgram in order to sponsor you to give a workshop about your rookie year as the Minsiter Genereal sometime during the 08/09 semester.. So we will talk more about that when you get home