ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Nearly 50 people turned out earlier this month for a lecture, titled “Walking Softly on the Earth,” sponsored by the Namaste Group, an organization in Western New York that takes a stance of non-violence.
The program, held June 11 at Canticle Farm in Allegany, featured Mark Printz, farm manger of Canticle Farm Inc., and Linda Matthews, retired professor from Jamestown, N.Y., Community College and a Canticle Farm board director. They spoke on natural farming, building the soil, and protecting the earth.
Caring for the Earth
They also discussed caring for the earth and how pesticides harm health and the environment.
The Namaste Group comprises Franciscan friars and sisters, as well as faculty and students of St. Bonaventure University, who strive to explore and share a stance of non-violence.
Richard Husted, OFM, a group member, said he was pleasantly surprised by the large turnout.
The Namaste Group, which was formed in the fall of 2007, also includes Joseph Kotula, OFM, and Peter Schneible, OFM, an SBU instructor. Next year, Daniel Riley, OFM, director of the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, will join.
Richard said the group last met at Mt Irenaeus to discuss the year. They meet again this month to plan a direction.
“The group is trying to go slowly so we don’t re-invent what is already present,” said Richard. For example, a JustFaith group may start in the fall. “I am convinced in the value of Franciscans of different communities gathering to share experiences and values and hopes for the future,” Richard said.
The Genesis of Namaste
Joseph explains how the Namaste program started. “The Province’s engage program that the JPIC recommended does not work very well for college population, so we came together and brainstormed on how we could put into practice the call to non-violence. Those of us who gathered to brainstorm were from Mt. Irenaeus, SBU, St. Bonaventure Parish, the nearby motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, as well as faculty and students.”
“It seems to me, that the value of this program is that we can engage a large population in the discussion and educate people. Out of that, perhaps we can affect change in their lives. We hope that all of us might discover how to embrace non-violence in our lives,” Joe said.