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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Laundry list (Don't shoot the messenger...or the laundry lady)

Well, folks, ELB is midway through their extraordinary session, but halfway is not all the way so keep those prayers and intersessions coming. Amongst many important presentations about aging, retirement, what is the right time and when can you tell if a member should start to consider coming "home" to Maryknoll and why so many members avoid Mission Central like vampires avoid daylight (my words), it seems that this time around there will be adequate time for input from ELB members, N'Sha'Allah.

Two themes are certainly bubbling (or simmering) not so far below the surface here at Mother Knoll and from a surprising wide range of members, age, Region and theology-wise.

One is what seems to be a total breakdown in communications between leadership and both individual members as well as regions and departments.Odd—and sad—as the last Chapter was supposed to herald in a new age of openness and transparency.

The second is more subtle if not insidious. With all the necessary, indeed urgent, hiring of lay employees in top managerial positions and with the emergence of our able stable of lawyers and insurers calling the shots, guys have the distinct impression Maryknoll and Maryknollers are no longer in charge of their own actions and lives.

Let me hasten to add that this is NOT the fault of the employees, who are doing the jobs for which they were hired. The fault, dear Hamlet, is not in the stars but in ourselves. It isn't enough to have an M.M. nominally at the top of the food chain. He must be proactive. It needn't be a full-time assignment, either. But when decisions are made that effect the quality of life here at the Knoll (and I assume at other centers), a Maryknoller should put the final stamp of approval or disapproval on the action or decision.

For too long we have witnessed an abdication on the part of Maryknollers who hide behind what our lawyers, insurers, internet auditors, external financial auditors, health services, safety committee, and yes, even the all-important food committee says about how we are to live.

Now, lest you think this is "washing our dirty laundry in public," as one member expressed his uneasiness to me with this much appreciated yet far too candid blog, because—and this is a direct quote—"anybody can read it. Even Jesuits and Franciscans." Let me hasten to back up the contention of one of my defenders that other groups face the exact same issues and maybe we can help one another find a solution expressly by shining some daylight on it. To wit, the following link to a Cappuchin blog that makes my paltry effort seem positively Pollyannish by comparison.

I refer you to some Franciscan dirty habits:

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