Up at the Mountain — News from Mt. Irenaeus

Robert Struzynski, OFM Around the Province

WEST CLARKSVILLE, N.Y. — August was a busy month at the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat.
During the first weekend, Franciscan Sojourners, the recently-formed Mt. Irenaeus alumni group seeking to spread the contemplative spirituality of the Mountain into their everyday lives, gathered for a weekend retreat from Aug. 3 to 5.  St. Bonaventure University alumni from across the country returned to the Mountain for spiritual refreshment and to further organize their new ministry.

Holy Name postulants gathered at the Mountain from Aug. 5 to 10 for their retreat and Immaculate Conception Province postulants gathered for their hermit days up at the Mountain from Aug. 27 to 3l.  On Aug. 14, more than 30 new SBU resident assistants spent an overnight at the mountain as part of their training.

New members of the faculty, staff and administration of St. Bonaventure were welcomed Aug. 19 to the Mountain for Eucharist, brunch and a tour of the Mountain.  Seven new members of the Bona community participated.  On Sunday Aug. 26, 70 new freshmen from St. Bonaventure came to the Mountain for an afternoon of fun, fellowship and prayer and on Aug. 31 nearly 20 Students for the Mountain from St. Bonaventure gathered for an overnight of reflection on their ministry and preparation for the new year.

During the summer, three interns from St. Bonaventure lived at the Mountain for 10 weeks.  They participated in the life of the friars, leading prayer, fully participating in our community life, working in the garden and on the trails, sleeping in tents.  Andy Mancuso, Monica Ana and Emily Tansky had a wonderful summer. The highlight was probably the Franciscan Good Samaritan morning when Andy found a near-dead humming bird lying in the chapel.  He raced down to the main house for an eyedropper and some nourishment that saved the little creature to fly away once again and add to the beauty of the Mountain.

The first evening away for Bona students was held Sept. 5.  A beautiful day and the anticipation of a great barbecue brought 19 students up to the Mountain.  The evening Eucharist was especially rich in sharing from the students during the time of the dialogue homily.  Thursday saw 26 students from the first University 101 class for an experience of Franciscan values. Many more classes will be coming from this course and also from Clare 101.

Several Mountain on the Road events are being planned for the fall. The first is Sept. 23 in Elmira, N.Y., followed by a Sept. 26 program at 5:00 p.m. at St. Greg’s Gathering Room in Williamsville, N.Y. Family and friends are welcome.

Several autumn events are scheduled for the Mountain including:
• Franciscan Heritage weekend  Oct. 12  to 14.
• The Mountain auction on Nov 3.

—  Fr. Robert lives at Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus.