Saint Francis Day 2015 Recap

Gratitude to the many friends and supporters who turned out for a fantastic annual Saint Francis Day!  

Building and Sustaining Nonviolent Communities: What is Our Future

  Keynote: Michael Baxter Michael J. Baxter holds a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from Duke University, a M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. from Allegheny College. He was a longtime member of the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and now teaches in the Department of Catholic Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. A co-founder of Catholic Worker houses in Phoenix, Ariz. and South Bend, Ind., Dr. Baxter also served as the national secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship.     Michael Boover, well-known and much loved co-founder of the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker, author of 15 Days of Prayer with Dorothy Day.  Michael Boover has been connected to the Catholic Worker movement since the early 70s when he met Dorothy Day and Catholic Worker priest Bernard E. Gilgun. Michael joined other young Catholic Workers in Central Massachusetts doing the works of mercy in a storefront and later house of hospitality in the city of Worcester and at the “House of Ammon” farm commune in Hubbardston. He also lived at the Catholic Worker Farm in Sheep Ranch, California. Michael currently lives and works at “Annunciation House of Worcester,” a household blending Franciscan, Benedictine (Cistercian) and Catholic Worker influences. He and his wife, Diane, have four adult children who inspire and entertain. Jackie Allen and Chris Doucot—co-founders of the Hartford Catholic Worker in Hartford CT.  Christopher J. Doucot is happily married to Jacqueline Allen and the proud father of Micah(17) and Ammon (16). In 1993 Jackie and Chris, along with Brian Kavanagh, founded the Hartford Catholic Worker community and opened St. Martin De Porres House of Hospitality on Clark street in Hartford’s north end. At the Catholic Worker folks from greater Hart- ford gather to practice shalom by seeking right relationships that overcome economic, cultural, generational, gender and racial divides through the personal practice of the Works of Mercy. Chris has participated in nonviolent campaigns for peace and human rights in the U.S., Darfur, Palestine/Israel, Iraq, Chiapas Mexico and Bosnia. He is currently teaching Race,Class and Gender and Religion and Nonviolence at Central CT State University. Edgar Hayes and Ann Rader, founders of Freedom Farm Community. Edgar Hayes who is in the Commissioned Lay Pastor program in Hudson River Presbytery and his wife, Ann Rader have nurtured a farm space in Middletown, NY. Working as a bi-racial couple with inner city youth who experience food desserts, this dynamic couple have welcomed inner city youth from NY to their community. During the year churches, young adults, and youth are welcomed to use the space for community building, learning about sustainable agriculture practices, and cultivating peace in individual lives, communities, and the world. Edgar is a former Agape intern and both Edgar and Ann are discerning membership in Agape’s Mission Council. Music by Chris Nauman and The Midwives of Mystery.

Comments on Francis Day 2015:

This Francis Day was transformative, hopeful, beautiful. The day carried this sort of mystical energy, drawing us all together in this unseen but very much felt caress. We were being held that day, held by our own burning hopes and desires for peace, held by those who have gone before us, and held by the Divine Creator breathing life into us and that day.

– Samantha Leuschner

I am impressed with the gathering of young people who are now rising to the top, and taking hold in terms of responsibility and enthusiasm. The program was so beautifully balanced. Loved hearing Mike Baxter, who is friends with scripture and lived experience and seems to inhabit a joyful, hopeful place. He warmed my heart, and reminded me that gladness is possible in the midst of darkness.

– Pat Ferrone

The panel talks were very personal, real and inspiring.  It was generous of everyone to share their stories from the daily trenches of community living. Another highlight for me was the involvement of all the new folks taking a look at the Mission Council.  From the music to MCing to the prayer service to all of the other organizing tasks throughout the day, I really saw an emerging new face to the day and it was very heartening.

– Bob Wegener