“Not being elected Provincial Minister
was a blessing:as a priest,
as a person and as a Religious . . .
It’s the best thing that
ever happened to me.” (March 1989)
Who’s smiling now?
Our brother Bill Wiethorn was a “people person”. That moniker is an undeniable description of the man and friar that, seemingly, everyone knew and loved. Bill loved being ‘in touch’ -- whether he was asking a friar to accompany him on a visit to another friary or whether he was picking up a receiver to call and ask “How ya’ doin’?” It became commonplace to say of this internationally known Capuchin that he “can smile in all languages,” despite his difficulties in coming up with actual words in the languages he tried to master.
A smile was an important communicator for a guy who didn’t have a facility for languages. After living in Rome for four years, he would still ask “What’s ‘pomodoro’ mean?” on a menu, even though a ‘tomato,’ its translation, is not a rare sight in Italy. After taking classes in Mexico for months, he still admitted he just couldn’t really say much more than “Como estás?” He needed that smile to show people he cared about them, and they knew he did.
Mike Letostak loved Bob Dylan. He claimed to possess every one of the folk singer’s recordings on CD -- he saw him in concert at least 10 times or more. One friar learned that he was typing out the lyrics to all of Bob Dylan’s song canon. “Why would someone do something like that?” asked the friar. Michael replied with the citation above without blinking an eye.
The word ‘radical’ would hardly come to mind when one remembers Br. Michael Letostak, but at the same time, you always knew there was a current beneath him which ran deeper than he would let his understated exterior display.
So often in the life of a friar, his rich and varied gifts can go unnoticed and under-appreciated by his confreres, simply because our achievements and exemplary performance are “commonplace.” Within a collection of gifted men, one blends in precisely by being talented and dedicated. Along the way, we can miss personal details that are unique and speak the personal story of ups and downs, of the failures behind the successes and of the energies expended to make things happen.
Our brother, Fr. Francisco García Cervera, OFM Cap., former Custos (Minister) to our friars of the custody of St. John the Baptist, Puerto Rico, died suddenly on February 27, 2014, in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
Friar Francisco was born in Cuba on June 11, 1947. He was baptized on his first feast day, October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, founder and patron of the Order to which he would later belong.