Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Baking our own bread

It is difficult to imagine why anyone would want to bake bread at Holy Family House. It seems that every week a title wave of  old bread comes crashing down on us. We can't eat it fast enough, and often some of it grows moldy. Yet baking bread is a Holy Family House tradition that has gone by the wayside. When Brother Louis is in the mood to reminisce he will tell you stories of yeast rising, ovens full and the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house.
A potential new community member named Robyn visited us last weekend. She went through the first in a series of discernment meetings and the outlook continues to be positive. We are excited to have her moving in with us at the end of July. We really enjoyed her visit.
Robyn is a young woman who recently graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. She spent her first year out of college as a Vincentian volunteer working with urban youth at a bakery called Angel Baked Cookies. Currently, she is an Americorps volunteer working with a community radio station in St. Louis. Robyn will provide the house with interesting new perspectives: she belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Finally, Robyn has spectacular bread-baking skills and I hope she revives the old tradition at Holy Family: baking our own bread.
Baking bread in these days of abundance of store-bought preservative-injected "probably isn't that good for you" bread is a quiet sort of radicalism. We will have to baby the yeast, allow it to rise, work the flour and dough with our hands. If we choose this activity, we must be present from beginning to end, coming to know the slow work of providing the things our bodies need (and knead...he he).
We are now doing the similar slow work of welcoming Robyn into our community. And the yeast is multiplying; she is returning this weekend for Louis' farewell party. We are so grateful for her: herself and her interest in our community. Thanks be to God for sending her to us.

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