“Rebuild my Church, …

“Rebuild my Church, …

…which, as you can see, is falling into ruin.” Those words that St. Francis heard were hardly my inspiration for a back-porch redo, but I found myself hauling rocks, laying foundation, fitting them together—much as Francis might have done if he were here today. My patio was certainly on its way to ruin, as my wife and I had been noticing for years.

patio to be paved

A segment is layed out and readied.

First, I went to Lowe’s and chose the stones. I know St. Francis was kind of anti-commercial, but he worked with what he had. I have Lowe’s. I ordered a pallet of sand bags and 2 pallets of patio pavers. The truck brought them to my home, got them fairly close to my backyard and the work began.

Visualizing what it all would become was impossible for me: it was my first time at it. I did have a plan though, which I set into action. I measured carefully, got out tools, made a section, laid sand into it and started on the stones.

sand for the foundation

Sand, to leveled, will be a foundation for the stones.

I’ll spare you the details, but it was long, hard work, one stone (paver) at a time. Sometimes I had to pull a stone out, re-level the sand, and reset the stone. I had to problem-solve as I kept discovering more and more little problems that crept up along the way. I worked long hours, finishing at dusk each night. But it was beautiful—it all kind of surprised me as the project unfolded.

“Rebuild my church.” I truly think that’s what we’re about at St. Anthony Messenger. Sometimes—often—it feels as if we are laying one stone at a time. We plan, but still we wonder what’s next, and problem-solve along the way. We set and reset, and learn as we go. Isn’t that true in most all of life? What do you think?


The result at day's end--more tomorrow!


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).
  • http://www.americancatholic.org SLDigman

    Good job, John, on both the writing and the patio! Finding problems along the way sounds a lot like life! And what you did with the stones, taking them out, resetting them, adding more sand to get them just right sounds a bit like what God does with us!