Smoon-yoh

“Smoon-yoh”   — A phrase used to greet by  some Indians in Mexico as related by Roger

What brought that greeting to mind was Roger. And what brought Roger to mind was  mud and Franciscans .And what brought mud to mind was White Rose Catholic Worker  having a craft program. What brought Franciscans to mind was David, ofm  and Kris sfo  and Roger sfo  and the copy of famous Franciscan crucifix that Fr. Simon pained  for St. Thomas of Canterbury.  Rather than choose one subject, this entry will discuss two. First crafts and mud,  then Roger.

“Mud” is one of the names of drywall compound, which is mostly gypsum plaster. Its obvious use is to fix walls. But it can be used like plaster-of-Paris as a craft material.  So art can be produced at the same time one is becoming familiar with the material that encloses us indoors and helps protect us from fire. Many homes have a bag of it in the basement.  So the use of mud  was suggested as part of a crafts evening.  Another suggestion for crafts  was the creation of mason bee-blocks.  Bee blocks are said to attract mason-bees to gardens and allow the bees to flourish. Larger mason bee populations might mitigate the affect of some of the problems affecting  honey bee apiaries.  In any case, bee-blocks are easy to make and hold  the prospect of helping gardens and observing bees. But no honey is harvested.

Roger is an accomplished mudder ( and an accomplished man of prayer and an accomplished maintainer of buildings and an accomplished  mechanic and an accomplished user of dynamite ). He learned “smoon-yoh” when he journeyed with a Franciscan  missionary to a very remote part of Mexico. These particular Franciscans operate Marytown, across the lake from the seminary. Roger continues to help at Marytown while  butworks at the seminary.  Roger’s distinct responsibilities in Mexico were to fix vehicles and buildings. If he could not fix a vehicle, then it would be very difficult to have it fixed  for weeks.

Roger had been a member of the St. Francis House community many years ago .  He and Mark enclosed the attic in drywall and mud and added insulation. They  enabled the attic to be used as a sleeping place and saved energy. Anyone who works with drywall knows that the  most difficult part of the installation is the  cutting and taping and mudding and sanding and sanding . Generally, the  more full sheets of drywall that can be used, the less cutting and taping and mudding and sanding  is necessary. But to save money. Mark and Roger used  lots dryall scraps, ends and pieces discarded by others.  This meant they committed to a lot of extra dirty, difficult work in cramped quarters with minimal circulation. The term “white martyrdom” is used to distinguish witnessing via uaster life  as opposed to black martyrdom, witnessing via acceptance of death. But getting covered by gypsum  dust underthose conditions could be considered another type of white martyrdom.

For whatever reason, Roger was not regarded as a Worker by the  group managing the house ( the “ruling junta”, to use David Stein’s term. David is  now or recently was the head of the “ruling junta” ).Roger  was not invited to meetings to discuss how the house was run or even given a key to the house. But one night Roger summoned to himself a great deal of authority. One of the “ruling junta” had taken a guest for her lover. And on one night that lover was drunk and abusive and loud. Roger awoke  that  night to the commotion, saw various others confused. In that moment of grace,  Roger was not confused. He opened her door and told Bob to leave  right now. And he saw to it that Bob did leave and he told him to not return.  And no one questioned Roger’s standing that night.  That was a rare moment. Roger’s good deeds were typically those of prayer and plastering and are too many to be retold.