Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of CanadaFranciscains du Canada

Ordo Fratrum Minorum

“No one can learn too much”

“No one can learn too much”


In his book Pioneering in the West, Fr. Boniface Heidmeier concludes with what he’s learned from his years of ministry. And that is, no one can learn too much!

No one, specially a priest intending to do missionary work, can ever learn too much. It may seem to young aspirants that it is useless to learn this or that; but later on it will be found that everything is worth knowing. Thus in the novitiate in France, I learned how to run a sewing machine, make sandals and cords, using a straight razor and playing the harmonium. Some of these things I found irksome even nonsensical. But how thankful have I been, many and many a time, to that exacting novice master when preaching missions.

In what plights I would have been on my trips had I not known how to use a needle or fix my sandals. Through sheer necessity I have learned to handle a hammer and saw, paint brushes, shovels and spades during my holidays among the homesteaders.

If anything needed repairing, most people had the bright idea: Father can fix it!

And thanks be to God, I could do almost anything.

I have re-hung doors, fixed knobs and locks, set windows changing them from one place to another, and cooked meals for over-busy homesteaders (and no fatalities!) No one can learn too much.


Top left: Friars in the kitchen of the Rosemont friary, 1920s-1930s
Bottom left: Friars sewing at Rosemont friary, 1923
Right: Fr. Leonard Puech cutting Br. Herman Specken’s hair in the library of the Vancouver friary, 1971