Monday, February 25, 2013

Br. Joe the Carpenter

Br. Joe working in his shop
If you see someone in the winter wearing wool socks, a sweater and shorts, carry a hammer, you most liking are seeing Brother Joe Steen.  Br. Joe is a very valuable member of our mission team applying both his humor and hammer to building the Reign of God in Union and Grainger County.

Baptismal Stand designed and built by Br. Joe
Br. Joe helped with the redesign of both mission store front churches.  Yet, most recently he has been responsible for a number of special projects at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that have improved our sanctuary and welcome area.  These small tasks demonstrate a great skill in carpentry, but also are works of faith.   There is prayer and reflection polished into each edge and corner.  Each object helps our prayer experience and creates a beautiful area to praise God.

Liturgical Book Rank for BTC
Besides these projects, Br. Joe is out and about doing home repair for others in Union and Grainger County.  He has installed toilets, fix roofs, and build handicapped ramps.   Usually he asks the people to donate towards the material if they are able and he provides the labor for free.  Recently a Glenmary donor has begun to contribute to his ministry allowing him to take on some projects where it would not  have been financial possible before.

One of the houses Br. Joe is repairing
Yet, Br. Joe's skills at construction and woodworking are really just a gate way to his true ministry.  He is "brother" to many.  He has a wit and sense of humor that is almost none stop.  He makes people laugh!!  Rather it is a silly knock knock  joke or a biblical joke.  An example of one of his Biblical jokes, is did you know that baseball is in the bible?  It is in the very first book in the first line, "In the Big -Inning".  He also is great with puns and the twist of phrases.  My favorite being "Whenever two or three people are together there is ... tension."

This ability to put people at ease and feel at home where ever he is, is his way of sharing faith.  He can sit and visit with folks for a long peaceful time as long as he has a cup of tea.  If you do not have the tea, do not worry.  He brings his own!

Underneath all these skills is a deep and profound faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, a commitment to the Holy Eucharist, and concern for the poor around the world.  In many ways he reminds me of a Son of another  carpenter many centuries ago whose father shared the same name.

Tabernacle built by Br. Joe

Our mission is stronger, happier and more beautiful for the mission ministry of Br. Joe the Carpenter.

1 comment: