Saturday, April 15, 2006
In the course of translating a Latin hymn for the Grace Church children's choir, it finally dawned on me why the lyrics seemed so familiar - I knew them from a John Michael Talbot recording, "Come Holy Spirit (Veni, Sancte Spiritus)" [audio sample]. This renewed my curiosity about Talbot's life story, so I started reading online biographies. (I need to pick up a copy of his authorized biography, Signatures by Dan O'Neill [Troubadour, 2003].)
I knew that Talbot was a Franciscan monk who had been in the middle of the country folk-rock scene in the late '60s and early '70s with the band, Mason Proffit. I knew he was the founder and director (or "Spiritual Father and Minister General") of the Brothers & Sisters of Charity and the Little Portion Hermitage and Little Portion Retreat & Training Center in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
What I did not know was that going through a divorce was instrumental in his decision to join a "secular" Franciscan order in 1978, and that he remarried in 1989 with the blessing of the Catholic Church. (His wife, Viola, is a former nun and teacher.)
According to the Brothers & Sisters of Charity website, they are
a Catholic based community made up of an integrated monastic expression of celibate brothers, celibate sisters, families and singles located at Little Portion Hermitage in Berryville, Arkansas, and a domestic expression of those world-wide in their own homes. This unique religious community is the only community of its type in the United States to be granted canonical status in the Catholic Church.LayContemplative.org also has a nice page on the Little Portion Hermitage, and according to this John Michael Talbot biography page, the Brothers & Sisters of Charity
has been formally recognized as a Public Association of the Faithful and is one of 10 communities around the globe to encompass celibate brothers and sisters, as well as single people, married couples, and families. Though the latter are permitted greater latitude, the essentials are the same. All take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience appropriate for their state of life.We tend to forget about lay & married monastics. I'd like to learn more about their ways of life. Any recommendations?
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