+Brother Daniel, Franciscan deacon, who is trying to be a beacon.
*Our Love is Like a Yellow Rose
Preface: For many years friends have been asking my wife and I to write down our story of faith: how I received the call to live on God’s providence under the guidance of Saint Francis of Assisi, how Mary and I met, got married, how music became an important part of our life and how we became a musical family living a missionary life style while home schooling our four children, as we moved from place to place throughout Canada.
We’ve shared bit and pieces of our story but it could never be completely told in one evening or even two evenings was not enough to recount all the wonders God had done for us. I started writing our story but Mary was slow in taking up the challenge too. Family life was very busy but we managed to write one book, Walking on the Waters describing a 18 day pilgrimage of faith we made to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Mary found it hard to be stuck in front of a computer when the sun was shining outside. She preferred working in her garden, getting her hands dirty and growing flowers for the several little shrines we had around the house and caring for a small vegetable garden. Though Mary was a good writer, I was the one with the most motivation.
This new project would include our life’s story. It promised to be quite a challenge and we hesitatingly started writing it. Then Mary got cancer and she became the first priority. Being hospital visits and doctors appointment we had time for little else except for a period of eight or nine month when her cancer seemed to have disappeared. But it came back with vengeance. After four years of in her heroic battle to stay alive Mary passed away. Since she and I had been so close--we did everything together--I went into deep morning. Writing hurt too much. The four children all got married and moved away to different parts of the world: Ireland, Spain, Oregon and Texas. I couldn’t deal with the loneliness and the memories that were still like an unhealed wound. The project was abandoned for the next eight years.
After my dear wife, Mary, passed away on April 17, 2002 in our living room surrounded by most of her children, I became a hermit visiting my children now and then. I also took long trips across Canada and the US to revisit friends and communities in which we had worked as a missionary family for over three decades. During these long journeys by car or plane I often shared our way of life and people kept asking me to write it down. I felt guilty not sharing the wonderful things the Lord had done for us and our family because I felt I owed it to Mary’s memory. Nevertheless, writer’s block caused by a broken heart kept me from writing it. I found life hard and too depressing at times, though I tried to start writing.
It was a special friend from Grand Rapids, Michigan, Barry Feldpausch, who prodded me to do it, He said he wanted to read our whole story before he “ kicked the bucket” and “what was I waiting for?” With the hopes that I would began writing he had even sent me an audio copy of an evening of sharing by Mary and I had done on July 8, 1997 in his parish of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. That evening Mary and I had taken turns giving our testimony and so I decided to use incorporate this format in writing this book.
Introduction Tonight we’re not here just to talk down to you. We’re here to share our life with you: our experiences of God and our vocation as a Franciscan missionary family. Many of the experiences shared, you will identify with in your own lives because we are all on a search for the meaning of our lives here on earth and we all have to make that sometimes difficult pilgrimage to our Father’s House. This life is the testing ground through which we pass on our way to Heaven, traveling together and helping each other along the way.
Mary and I will be skipping back and forth taking turns telling you our story as the Spirit inspires us. It will not necessarily be completely well-organized or well ordered. Bear with us. We feel however that God wants us to give this personal sharing about a very special calling. In doing this, we don’t consider ourselves any better or worse than anyone else. It is just that God calls us each in his own way to enter His plan and He wants to share our gifts with others. Each vocation is different whether we are single or married, widowed, old or young. The call is always the same: the call to unite ourselves to Him. It is always there in our hearts whether we realize it or not, or whether we accept it or deny it. We all have that feeling of restlessness and emptiness inside that can only be satisfied by God, though we often try to fill it with the things of the world. We hope that you will derive inspiration and new insights as we speak of our walk in faith, living on God’s loving Providence.
Daniel J Dauvin
FRANCISCAN SPIRITUALITY IS:
1. Union with God and joyous confidence in Divine Providence.
2. Childlike abandonment of yourself in the hands of our Heavenly Father.
3. Poverty welcomed, loved and lived.
4. Modesty, love of solitude, the desire to keep out of public notice. Humility. The life of prayer. Gospel sincerity.
5. Practical supernatural love toward your brothers and sisters everywhere and towards God's creatures, who are our brothers and sisters. The sentiment of universal brotherhood.
6. A generous apostolate, with total staking of your heart.
7. It is an atmosphere of cheerfulness and holy peace. Love of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph.
8. It is a love of suffering, of our daily crosses, of sacrifice, of Christ crucified. It is a devotion to the Church. It is childlike affection for the Holy Father.
9. It is love of work and disregard of money.
10. It is, in fine, happiness in spreading peace and blessings among mankind.
PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.