Fr. Douglas JEFFREY, OMI tells of a new prayer ministry in Western Canada.
Have you ever planted a garden? Have you noticed how the seeds you place in the soil never look at all like the plant they eventually become?
In January 2015, God brought Dan and Janice Lamoureux to The Oblate Hill in Battleford, intent on helping the Oblates there. At the same time as they were responding to that prompting of the Spirit, I was returning from ministry east of The Battlefords. I was not listening to God’s prompting. I was engaged with God. I was asking God for help in moving the idea of a house of prayer forward. When I arrived home, Dan and Janice were visiting with Brother Don CLAERHOUT. What a surprise we had when we met and they shared their desire to help, and I shared my prayer and our need. From that moment, it was obvious that the hand of God was at work.
In April 2016 God’s grace intervened, as new doors were opened for us when Dan and Janice purchased a small, 100-acre farm just west of the town of Wilkie in West Central Saskatchewan. The dream of an Oblate Associate / Oblate contemplative community began to be realized. It is our dream to live and work and pray and minister together.
Today the community is taking shape. Our beginnings are small. There is a two-bedroom house and a two-bedroom trailer. There are several buildings on the property, a good supply of water, and 100 acres of good Saskatchewan soil. Our community life and ministry is characterized by Oblate values, by self-sustainability, and choices that are eco-friendly. Our focus is contemplative prayer and faith formation (in-house and outreach).
Together we shape a communal way of life — work, prayer and ministry that enables us to answer in word and deed the question posed by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” What the future holds for us is only partly known to us. Today we are focused on following the Spirit of God moment by moment. We recognize that the seed has begun to grow. We know that the invitation to draw nearer to God is clear and that in some small way we are being invited to share God’s life and love with others, enabling them to be more fully alive.
Since receiving the encouragement of the Oblate district and the Provincial Core Team leadership to move forward with this idea, we have met with the leadership of the local Diocesan churches (Prince Albert and Saskatoon) and have received further encouragement, support and blessing. Our meeting with the local pastor has also been a wonderful encounter. His openness and his support is a source of encouragement for us. We look forward to assisting him, when we can, in his work of building up the Body of Christ.
We know that we want to welcome others who share a need for contemplative prayer and community life. Because of that, visitors and enquirers are always welcome for prayer, to enjoy the life and work of the farm, and / or for some Oblate hospitality around the kitchen table. There is always a quiet place, a pair of work gloves or a waiting chair. Come and see! (Oblate Spirit, November 2016)