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Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.



The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

How Brother Juniper Was Hit With a Barrel Three Times

Ouida Tomlinson, SFO

Does your Franciscan journey sometimes feel as if you've been hit with a barrel loaded with stones? Well, there is a little known tale about this very thing happening to Brother Juniper.

One fine and glorious spring day, Brother Juniper and the other brothers were helping Father Francis rebuild yet another church. This one was not small like the Portiuncula or San Damiano, but very large and very tall. By modern standards, it was about six stories high. All the brothers were busy working when suddenly there was a loud racket and then several more, all mixed with screams of horrible agony. Father Francis and all the brothers rushed to the side of the poor brother in distress, lying in a pile of stones and covered with a broken barrel. It was poor Brother Juniper.

All were in fear for his life and with great haste, they carried their beloved brother to a doctor in Assisi . Several weeks later, when Brother Juniper was feeling better but still confined to his mat, Father Francis came to visit him and asked what happened that terrible day. This is what Brother Juniper said:

"O Father Francis, it was poor planning - just poor planning that caused it all. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of the church. When I completed my work, I found I had some stones left over which probably weighed over 500 lbs. Rather than carry the stones down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley that was attached to the side of the church at the top. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the stones into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the stones. Please remember that I weigh only 135 pounds.

"Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the church. In the vicinity of about half way up, I met the barrel, which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone.

"Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of stones hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the stones, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I remind you again of my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the church. About half way down, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

"Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of stones and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to say, however, as I lay there on the pile of stones, in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back onto me. This explains the two broken legs."

After Brother Juniper finished explaining, Father Francis sat silently for a while, shaking his head and looking with sad concern at his beloved little brother. Then slowly his eyes began to twinkle and a grin began to grow. He and Brother Juniper began to chuckle and the chuckles turned to an explosion of laughter with Francis jumping around the room and Brother Juniper holding his sides and bursting forth with howls of joy and pain.

These troubles of poor Brother Juniper did not discourage him from continuing to help Father Francis rebuild the church. However, from that time forward, Brother Juniper never worked alone in his Franciscan journey but always worked along side his brothers and always sought their discernment to avoid hasty judgments when considering weighty matters.

Peace and All Good,
Little Scribe

Based on “Bricklayer’s Accident Report,” http://www.usmra.com/accidentreport.htm.

3 comments:

Tausign said...

Can you make a cartoon version of this and scroll it up and down the left margin of your blog?

Little Scribe said...

Well, I can't draw but maybe I can find someone who could draw this for us. Do you have an example where someone else has done something similar to what you are talking about? Always open to ideas!
Thanks for writing.

Peace & All Good
Little Scribe

Little Scribe said...

Tausign - my e-mail address is scribe564@bellsouth.net.