Retreat weekend focuses on wheat experiences

POCATELLO, ID (09-11-2012) - Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist offered young women experiences of the process of wheat becoming bread as an analogy to the spiritual process of prayer at their recent Vocation Exploration weekend. After an introductory evening of Mass, dinner and a meeting on Friday, and Saturday morning Mass and breakfast, the Sisters, the young women and Father Paul from the Benedictine monastery in Jerome, Idaho, went to a wheat field to harvest wheat by hand. Using hand sickles was a new experience! The next step was threshing the wheat they had gathered to release the grains. They then tried their hands at winnowing as the wind cooperated in blowing the chaff away. Next came the grinding, using an old "mita'te" (Spanish for the two stones used to grind grain by hand). Due to the time limit, the remaining grains were milled using a small electric stone grinder.

In the afternoon, the group began the process of bread baking, using the flour from the wheat they had harvested. Together the participants made three kinds of bread - pita bread for dinner, bubble bread for Sunday brunch, and cinnamon rolls to take home to their families. The Sisters led the young women in prayerful reflection on the process they had experienced, using pertinent Scripture passages: "Unless the grain of wheat dies . . ."; "I am the Bread of Life"; and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

During the Eucharistic Liturgy on Sunday morning, Father Paul presented a homily on the meaning and mystery of the Eucharist as the "source and summit of our faith." The weekend concluded Sunday afternoon following a meeting on the call to religious life and a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Father Paul threshing the wheat (left) and winnowing (right).

Christin winnowing the wheat.
Sister Rose Mesa, Alicia and Christin grinding the wheat.
Christin shaping the dough and Sarah kneading her portion of dough.
Cinnamon rolls ready for baking.