Build with Living Stones
by Kathleen Lotter
In the Franciscan movement today persons from thirty-nine nations of the world are participating in a remarkable mission program. The program is Build with Living Stones, translated into 13 languages. Experiencing the best in current theology, the program addresses inculturation, peace-making in a culture of violence and the continuing Franciscan tradition in the church among others. The task that St. Francis undertook in his day, "to fill the whole world with the Gospel of Christ," is our task today. Build with Living Stones helps us to reflect on this call and move from reflection to action.
Last year I kept hearing about a program called Building with Living Stones that would be taught my Sr. Anita Holzmer. Sr. Anita presented an outline of the program at our fall 2006 Staff Forum and I had also been reading about the program in Working Together. I thought and thought about it and finally decided to enroll in the program. I wanted to learn more about Francis and Clare and this would be the perfect venue.
I was really nervous when September 14, 2006 rolled around. I had no idea what to expect or who would be joining me for this 8 month venture. We met in the Campus Ministry dining room. There were 8 of us: Janice Pekrul, Vicki Jacobs, Trish Bugajski, Ken Williams, Randy Troy, Betsy Slagle, Theresa Letizia and me.
During our first session, we viewed a video on St. Francis and Clare and Sr. Anita gave a brief presentation on what would be covered during our 8 months together. During the next 7 months, I learned quite a bit about Francis and Clare. I heard stories about a hungry wolf and how Francis met with the wolf and told him that he was doing great harm and deserved to die. Francis, however, made the wolf agree to make peace with the people of Gubbio and never to harm them again. What a cool story!
Another story was of Francis meeting with the Sultan. The Sultan listened to Francis and admired his courage for speaking about his God and Savior. Francis and Brother Illuminato were invited to stay with the Sultan but the Sultan did not accept the salvation that Francis offered for fear of revolt by his people. What courage Francis had! He spoke with such a pure heart that the Sultan had no choice but to listen. Could we do that today? My guess is no.
One of the units in our text that had everyone all fired up was the one entitled Brother Sun and Sister Moon: a Franciscan View of the Environment. There was a heated discussion on how we’ve become such a wasteful society and what ways we can be more responsible to our community and Earth.
During my 43 years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience different faiths. Growing up I attend a Quaker (Friends) Church and a southern Baptist Church. During my years at Ball State University, I attended a Methodist Church. I experienced my first mass when I first started my work here at USF three years ago and I am now attending Sugar Grove Church of God with my husband. Build with Living Stones has taught me that no matter what your denomination is, we all believe in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and all wish for peace.