A Fall Message to Our Glenmary Partners
Two of my brother missioners celebrate 50th jubilees this year. Although they were in the same novice class together, they have not lived in the same community at any time during their 50 years as Glenmarians. However, Father John Rausch and Brother Curt Kedley remain great friends and talk almost every week. Among the things they have in common is a passion for promoting peace and justice, which they approach from two different directions. Both bring a Catholic presence to their communities with their attention to justice.
Father John and Brother Curt, like all Glenmary missioners, use the gifts God has given them to benefit the people they reach out to in ministry. Your support of Glenmary enables them and their fellow missioners to approach ministry in ways that are best suited to their gifts. A donation will help ensure that the gifts of all Glenmarians are always used to their best advantage.
Father John approaches peace and justice from a systemic angle. He asks why people are poor, and he doesn’t usually have to dig very deeply before he learns that low-income folks have little or no power to change their situation. That power is in the hands of other people. The Appalachian region, where Father John has lived for all of his 50 years of ministry, is home to thousands of people who have low incomes, insufficient education and poor health.
Relying on extensive reading and study, as well as friendship with the people whose lives he works to change, Father John asks hard questions about the system that keeps people in chains. And he shines a light on the people and organizations responsible for those grim realities. He speaks on a national stage and writes for national publications about the injustice that affects people in his community, while suggesting ways to address that injustice.
Even so, Father John says he envies Brother Curt, who takes a direct approach to peace and justice and connects with people as he goes about his work. Father John laughs as he remembers that Brother Curt called himself a “janitorial engineer” when he was working in housekeeping in a nursing home and conducting what he referred to as a “mop ministry.”
While many of us would see such work as unimportant, Brother Curt knows the soothing rhythm of his mop allowed him to listen intently to residents of the nursing home as they talked to him.
Brother Curt, now living in Windsor, N.C., has a special love for African American members of the community and often visits their homes. That takes racial inclusiveness to a whole new level, especially in the southern towns Brother Curt has called home during his 50 years of ministry. But don’t get it wrong, Father John cautions. Brother Curt knows just how countercultural his actions are and how important his witness is.
When he thinks of Father John’s ministry, Brother Curt remembers a time when the two lived about an hour apart. One damp, cold evening, they stood together in Powell County, Ky., with about a dozen people whose lives and homes were adversely affected by an industrial mulch pile covering many acres of land. Brother Curt describes the people as not only powerless, but powerless to do anything about the mulch. Father John stood with them, Brother Curt says, and helped them devise ways to let elected officials know that the mulch the Chamber of Commerce saw as an economic benefit to the community was anything but beneficial to the people who had gathered that night.
Father John and Brother Curt say they are humbled by each other’s ministries! I am humbled when I think of the 50 years during which these two men have tirelessly worked with and for people who seldom, if ever, have anyone to speak up for them.
And I am humbled and thankful, too, when I realize that their ministries are possible because of the generosity of Glenmary donors like you. Father John and Brother Curt bring their communities a powerful Catholic presence, which continues to shine the light of justice in areas where that light is sorely lacking.
I hope you continue to put your faith into action with a gift to support Father John’s prophetic voice and Brother Curt's hands-on ministry. And I hope your support and prayers will continue well into the next 50 years for all Glenmary missioners, as they use their unique gifts to carry out their work
This year of 2016 is a year of celebration for the remarkable ministries of these two missioners, two great friends who approach the important work of social justice in two very different ways. Please join me in a prayer of thanksgiving for their work. And please know that you and your loved ones are in my daily prayers as well.
Your brother in mission,
Father Don Tranel
Director of Development