It takes a village to raise a child ….

It takes many hearts and hands to build a home ….

These simple lines acknowledge the contributions of many in forming a person … or a family. They can also apply to a congregation’s extended family of benefactors in word and deed.

As a Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi in the United States, from the United States, I have always felt our congregation’s tradition of hospitality alive and well here. From my first days of visiting our home in Holyoke before I entered, I felt welcome, especially in one of those donated, narrow, metal-framed but well-cushioned, beds. As a postulant and novice, I often served the tea and biscotti to our collaborators in renovating our home or our benefactors who stopped in with some goods for us. Way beyond those days, I have seen many ‘Friends’ cross into our home over our welcome mat to become concerned and caring benefactors. Their contributions have been many and varied, and their names, as a group, have always been ‘Friends of the Franciscan Sisters.’

Ken Bushey is one of those ‘Friends’ whose hands, holding many talents, have cut, whittled, planed, painted, stained, and placed many wooden objects, both practical and ornamental, in our homes over the years. Each room in Holyoke, I would dare say, has some mark of his workmanship in it. The chapel’s altar, lectern, and niche for the Tabernacle are examples of his mastery. The kitchen’s towel rack, the back porch’s bird feeder, the dining room’s gigantic tables, and the TV room’s radiator cover all bear his fingerprints. And those many small decorative wooden vases are his also.
Ken has to see what is needed, have time to think about what he can do, and then he works painstakingly on the details he envisions. He will tell you all about the process, the trials, the insights and the fine points that make each wooden article unique. He signs every piece he can, and puts a date on it somewhere to leave tracks of the projects he has been asked to tackle over the year. And they are many!

Thank you, Ken, for your willingness to use your talents here. You, too, have spoken of mission, of God’s call to you here, of your doing whatever He tells you, and of your loving service to those in need. While some of our requests may seem mundane, you have always met them in a spirit of service and an appreciation of your God-given talent. And some of your practical solutions have also travelled away to some of our other mission lands in the good hands of our Sisters as they left or as they visited our communities elsewhere. You have brought a beauty to our homes that enhances what is here and who we try to be together. Thank you!

May the Lord bless and keep you in His care!