Watermarked Pt. 2
When I was a young brother, my Che Guevara as it was, was a pope called John XXIII, Giovanni Roncalli. He said, “Accept nothing, question everything, even the structure of the church.” I was in an order of brothers, among other things, all of whom took a vow to teach the poor gratuitously.1 With no criticism from my brothers, I felt that there was an enormous poor community in Northern New Mexico, where I was stationed, that I could have some access to, and make some contribution to. So, I drove my superiors crazy. I ended up working with street gangs.2 I still had to teach school, and that lead to a conflict with the order, and in 1968 at a deliberative body in North America, I think it was in Illinois. I was asked to leave the order.
So, I wasn’t shocked at the time. I felt that was coming, but it was different. When you live in a religious community, you have the support of your community. By 1968, I was already living outside of my community with the dispensation to do so, but it was not the same. So, it was appropriate that I left the order, and I was never sorry to have been in it, and I think never regretted that I had to leave it. So, while I’m not a brother now, I can say a brother is me, I was watermarked with the habituation, the influence, the point of view, the compassion that I found in the community.3