We have spent a most enjoyable two weeks here at St Francis Farm and Lorraine has asked us to add our bit to their June newsletter before we leave today. We have come from far away New Zealand and are traveling the U.S., visiting Catholic Worker Farms in view of starting a C.W. on our family farm back home.
Having recovered from our bus trip we got into the swing of things happening on the farm. There was gardening to do, the orchard to scythe and the Farmhouse living room to paint.
We started each day with 30 minutes of restful silence that was really good for getting through the days. The meal times and evenings were filled with very constructive conversations(or talking about the differences between N.Z. English and U.S. English), we have learnt a lot and found the balance of work, prayer and discussion very good here at St Francis Farm.
It was nice to be in a more family oriented place, after being away from home for quite some time, and we spent many happy hours with Joanna, Zachary and Dan as they are similar in age to us. We also got to see a bit of the surrounding countryside including a beautiful waterfall and the beautiful but sadly polluted Lake Ontario. The quarter hour stroll though the woods to Unity Acres for Sunday Mass was lovely as were all the places that we walked, on or around the farm.
We were lucky enough to be here during a weekend retreat for a group from Syracuse and have a sample of what this C.W. does for Groups. It was especially interesting to us as we are thinking of offering hospitality to University Groups if we start a Catholic Worker Farm in New Zealand.
The community here does a lot for the local people and one of the ways we could join in with that was to help them build a handicapped access ramp and to help hang drywall in a nearby house.
It was refreshing to do a good hard day’s work again.
St. Francis Farm is similar to what we would like to be doing in N.Z., even though this community is new and the C.W. Farm is old, unlike home where we have lived for 20 years, but a Catholic Worker Farm would be a new idea.
In conclusion, we would recommend St. Francis Farm to anyone who is seeking a way of life that is an alternative to the consumer culture as a place to stay for a while and to be encouraged to live differently and to be informed as to the joys and hardships of such a life. There is also plenty to do to help other people in a way that the Gospel asks us to. Many thanks to Lorraine, Joanna, Zachary, Dan and Miguel for making our stay so awesome and worthwhile.