The Columbus Catholic Worker officially signed a 1-year lease for the former convent at St. James the Less Catholic Church on Friday, December 19th, 2008. We gathered together in the rectory with Fr. Scott and Tim, who is the business manager of the Church and Bill, a notary from the parish. Sr. Barbara, Cheryl, Pat, Dale and I (Frank) were also there.
It was very appropriate that Sr. Barbara was present. The convent is her former home. When the sisters were planning to move out, it was her recommendation that our Catholic Worker group should pursue utilizing that space. It was her dream--as well as the wishes of the parish and Dominican sisters--that the convent would continue to be a place of prayer and outreach in the Catholic tradition. The sisters left us a fully furnished, well-stocked and well-loved place that has been lived in and prayed in for over 50 years.
Cheryl, who along with her children started our community and who has faithfully held us together for the last 3 years, also saw a dream realized on Friday.
The three of us who have committed to living there--Pat, Dale and me--got an "insider's" tour by Sr. Barbara, learning the secrets and tricks of the place. Afterwards, the three of us got some food from the pizza shop next door and gathered at the table to eat, pray and put the pieces of this mission together, slowly.
I am sometimes daunted by the big shoes we are trying to step into. There is a large tradition that has come before us, and we will work hard to honor and continue it, in our own way. The convent naturally exudes community living and the three of us found ourselves discussing the nuts and bolts of our community life and just enjoying time in fellowship till nearly midnight.
This is a community house. Those of us who will be living there are merely the stewards of a space that we all share. Please join us in building community life there and spending time with us.
Photos from the lease signing will be posted here within a few days.