Friday, June 28, 2019

Br. Mike Springer

Glenmary Brother Mike Springer passed away on June 20, 2019. 
One of Mike’s favorite novels was by Henry Miller. The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder, a modern parable. 
Auguste, a famous clown in a small traveling circus, removes his greasepaint and walks away from the circus in search of his own identity underneath the makeup and to try to discover how to bring “joy supreme” to people’s lives instead of just laughter. Auguste wanders, searching for some time but his journey eventually makes full circle as he comes across his former circus troupe. 
Now knowing that joy can be found in simplicity. Auguste returns to the circus, not as a performer but as a hired hand, or a “roustabout” as we would say in the business. Auguste’s mantra in his daily chores is, “at your service” as he humbly served the circus workers doing his tasks joyfully and by doing so, he brings joy to each of the people he encounters. 
“He no longer received applause, nor gales of laughter, nor adulation. He was receiving something far greater, far more sustaining – smiles. Smiles of gratitude? No, smiles of recognition. He was accepted again as a human being, accepted for himself.” 
Auguste said, “To be yourself, just yourself, is a great thing. And how does one do it, how does one bring it about? Ah, that’s the most difficult trick of all. It’s difficult just because it involves no effort. You try neither to be one thing nor another, neither great nor small, neither clever nor maladroit… you follow me? You do whatever comes to hand. You do it with good grace, that is understood. Because nothing is unimportant. Nothing. Instead of laughter and applause you receive smiles. Contented little smiles – that’s all. But it’s everything… more than one could ask for. You go about doing the dirty work, relieving people of their burdens. It makes them happy, but it makes you much happier, do you see?” 
Like Auguste, Brother Mike’s ministry of presence in the “Glenmary Circus,” gave joy to others and relieved people of their burdens. As a Glenmary missioner, he shared himself as he served the forgotten and neglected, the young and old, in places like Morehead, KY, Cullowhee, NC, or Baxley, GA, Lebanon, VA, or Chapmanville, WV. Places that only a Glenmarian could find on a map. 
Mike was as a football coach, a baseball coach, youth minister, counselor, parish brother, an adult literacy teacher, musician, prayer leader, Activity Therapist, did Ministry among the aging, and so much more. A Brother to all. 
Mike’s joy touched lives; this can be seen in letters he received, like this one from 40 years ago. 
Dear Brother Mike, 
I thank you for all you did in the athletic line. You are a holy, cheerful, friend! Even after we lost several games, you stayed with us. We learned the sports, rules, and how to play fair, and in a Christian way, that is, not to cheat or fight. If we were hurt in a game, you were right there to take care of us.
Sincerely, Steve. 
Brother Mike touched lives wherever he went, even when he was a resident at a nursing home for those with memory care needs, Mike joyfully served other residents. On the day he died, one of the activity directors came in to Mike’s room and tearfully said goodbye to Mike, she then turned to us and said that “Brother Mike always reached out to everybody else to get them involved in the activities.” 
On his 25th anniversary of his Glenmary Oath Brother Mike said: “Imagine having a job you enjoy doing every day. I have since I professed as a Glenmary Brother 25 years ago. There have been some hard times, but basically I have enjoyed everything I have ever been asked to do.” 
Mike’s philosophy was simple, “If you are going to be a missioner, become the best missioner you can be!” 
Brother Mike, “Glenmary’s gentle giant,” was a faithful Glenmarian. 
He was a humble servant to the people in the missions. 
He was dedicated to his fellow Glenmary members. 
And he had a great love for his family. Mike tried to be there for his family when he could. Just as they have certainly been here for him these last couple of years; His family members have visited frequently. And his is the only Glenmary family that I know that has rented a bus and brought forty or fifty family members to celebrate Christmas with Mike. 
Thank you Mike for the joy you shared with us here on earth and I am confident that you are sharing that joy in heaven now.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Br. Mike Springer

Lord God, you chose Mike Springer to serve your people as a brother and Glenmary missioner, and to share the joys and burdens of their lives. Look With mercy on him and give him the reward of his labors, the fullness of life promised to those who proclaim your holy Gospel. Amen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Chapter of Elections 2019

Every four years the Glenmary Community gathers for our "General Chapter." This week all of our priests brothers and students are gathered together. Our Glenmary Constitution states, "all members of the Society under perpetual oath will elect the President and the two Vice Presidents. The process shall be prayerful and provide time for dialogue between the candidates for office and the membership of the Society as well as among the members themselves."
We are gathered at St. Meinrad Archabbey and Seminary in Indiana for our Chapter.  The first three days are dedicated to prayer and reflections. We are grateful to have Abbot Jerome from Subiaco monastery in Arkansas to lead us though these days of prayer in preparation for our elections.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Glenmary Ordinations

This week we are preparing for two Glenmary ordinations this coming weekend. We are very excited to have two men who will be ordained priests on Saturday morning. We are grateful to have Bishop Stika from Knoxville coming to ordain these two men. 
Deacon Charles and Deacon Richard professed their Final Oath as Glenmary members last year. In doing so they dedicated their lives to serve Mission Land USA. After professing their Oath they were ordained deacons, spent some time in Mexico studying  Spanish and have been serving in Glenmary missions in Tennessee. They will continue to serve in the missions but now as priests! 
All our welcome to join us for this wonderful celebration. Details below.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sharing our Vocation with family

How do we tell our parents or family members that we are discerning a vocation? We might not be certain ourselves of what path we might be going.  We might be afraid to start something because we don't want to let someone down. We might want to leave some possibilities open. We are not sure others would understand our reasoning of why we want to enter religious life. We might not be sure how others will react. 
They love us, we need their support but might not know in what ways. Letting others know at the right time might give us some prayerful people who are willing to pray for us as we go through the discernment process.
I think the following excerpt from a letter is one that many young men in this situation might be able to relate to. Even though it is 73 years old it is still pertinent today.

Glenmary Father Leo Schloemer wrote the following letter to his mom on 12 March, 1946. He was only 21 years old at the time and was serving on board the U.S.S. Renshaw. 

Dear mom,  

I received quite a batch of mail today and in it was two letters from you, postmarked the 8th and 9th…

I noticed in your last letter that you are still a bit worried about my enrolling at N.C., so I am going to tell you something now that perhaps I should have disclosed a long time ago. When I get out of the Navy I want to enter the seminary and study for the priesthood. Whether I am religious enough or studious enough remains to be seen, but I at least want to try, and if I don’t make good, nothing will have been lost. Along these lines I have contacted Fr. Bishop of the Home Missioners of America; and I received a letter from him today stating that he has made arrangements for me to enter the special Latin class at St. Gregory’s, so that I could start to school in September. All this will probably come to you as a great surprise, but the only reason I said nothing of it before was because I was not too sure myself as to what my course would be. Now you know, and I hope it is no great disappointment to you to find out that I am not going to be there at home with you all as much as we had all hoped. One other thing I ask and that is, outside of the family, you don’t pass the word around until I get out and am home. It really doesn’t make much difference, but a lot of things could happen in a couple of months.

Well, now I suppose I had better get around to answering your letters… 
…Give my love to Paul, Dad and Aunt Catherine, and I will try and write again soon. 

Your loving son, 
Lee

Thanks be to God, nothing did happen in those couple of months. Leo was religious enough and studious enough and did make good in 63 years as a Glenmary priest.  I share this for those who are discerning to see that others who have gone before them share in some of the same doubts. It would have been Glenmary's loss had Fr. Leo not tried.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rev. Leo Schloemer

Lord God, you chose Leo Schloemer to serve your people as a priest and Glenmary missioner, and to share the joys and burdens of their lives. Look With mercy on him and give him the reward of his labors, the fullness of life promised to those who proclaim your holy Gospel. Amen.
Fr. Leo's obituary can be read here:  http://www.glenmary.org/schloemer-obit/

Friday, March 15, 2019

Vocation Panel

One of the most life-giving ministries that I have been involved with during the past year is serving as a member of a Religious Vocation Panel. Our team of four religious, Sr. Ruth Lubbers, SND, Fr. Steve Dos Santos, CPPS, Sr. Vickie Griner, OSC and I, have visited schools around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and met with over 1,500 junior high age students to talk about discerning a call to religious life. I think we have designed a very positive program for the students that covers a lot of the solid information about religious life, from what is a call to how to discern, what are the differences between communities and what are the vows religious profess. Teachers have repeatedly said this type of program has been missing from their curriculum for a long time. At one school the students said they had never met a religious sister before. 
I think that one of the best parts about the Religious Panel program is that we have time for Q&A with the students. You never know what they are going to ask but for the most part they have asked questions about religious life. 
Lef to Right - Sr. Ruth Lubbers, SND, Fr. Steve Dos Santos, CPPS,
Sr. Vickie Griner, OSC and Br. David Henley