Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of CanadaFranciscains du Canada

Ordo Fratrum Minorum

Happy Canada Day

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In the shadows of red coloured Rockies, near Estes Park, Colorado (famous for Jack Nicholson’s The Shining), I miss the kickoff of Canadian Football Season.  Attending a 30 day “vows retreat”, it’s time to react to my surroundings.

Canada Day –what is that? Is that your “Independence Day”?  

Canada, or Confederation, Day is hardly a celebration of independence: liberty, equality, private property.  These values and my American confreres will have their turn on the 4th of July; not part of my history.   Interdependence, mutuality, cooperation and compassion are words that come to mind when I reflect on Canada.  The closest we came to a war of independence involved fending off American Imperialists in 1812. We won that battle, and have been afraid of our own shadow ever since.  

In these parts, Canadians are known for their humility and ability to compromise.   In a global context, there is little about which we can boast.  We are a threat to none and dependent on many.

Canada Day celebrates how people have come together.  The brainchild of two European nations, our country is diverse if not plural.  What we have is a flawed and far from homogenous communion, but it seems to work.  We stake no claim of superiority; with God’s help we witness to the gift of minority.

My prayer for Canada today is that we follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ, and persevere in the vision of our founders:  multicultural, multilingual, multi-faith, etc.  May we be always be hospitable, receptive and kind –a refuge for strangers on the road.