What is Behind a Title?

st anthony walnut tree 2What was the genesis of my blog’s title?  To answer the question, I need to write a little about where I was coming from, when I finally decided to begin blogging.  Most of my adult life, from my college years, to the 1980’s, I have been in some type of religious, spiritual formation; feeling called to life as a Catholic priest, and later, to be a Franciscan friar.  I would finally discern that God wanted me to follow a different path; which lead me into the business world, and to my wonderful wife, Peg.  One thing that did not change for me, though, was the Franciscan spirit I inherited from the friars.  I found myself joining the Franciscan lay movement, known as the Secular Franciscan Order.

Fast forward a few years, to around 2008; where I was becoming more acquainted with the concept of Web blogging.  I inherited my interest in personal computing from my Dad, and I was finding this blogs, with these interesting articles.  I was wondering if there was anything I could contribute to mass of online information.  One day, I browsing through Border’s bookstore, (it was still in existence then!) when I came across a book, “The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging!”  I purchased it, and devoured it in a few days.  I decided to give it a try, and in 2009, I opened my first blog on “Blogger.”  But what was I going to call this new blog?  It was suggested that any title I picked had to be unique, to separate it from the other blogs.  My hope was to share my observations of what was happening in my country, the world, and in my Church.  I would draw on whatever insights came to me from my Catholic, Franciscan spiritual life.  Now, for Franciscans, out of all the saints in the movement, the key ones are Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Clare of Assisi, and Saint Anthony of Padua.

Saint Anthony of Padua has been popular with Roman Catholics, because of his reputation as a miracle worker; “Miracles waited on your every word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety.”  This is part of a prayer, addressed to St. Anthony; asking for his intercession.  However, St. Anthony was also famous as a preacher.  A trained theologian when he joined the Franciscan Order, he was sent on preaching tours throughout northern Italy, and southern France.  He was successful not only because of the quality of his sermons, but also the example of his life.  After many years of bringing the Gospel of Christ to all who would listen, he sensed his life was drawing to an end.  He went to a friary, located in a small village near the Italian city of Padua.  There, he asked his fellow friars to build him a tree house, in a walnut tree.  There, he intended to spend his last days in deep prayer and contemplation.  However, people still sought him out; seeking spiritual guidance, or a word on the Love of God.  St. Anthony died on June 13, 1231.

So I decided to name my blog; “From Saint Anthony’s Walnut Tree.”  Later, I would reestablish the blog on WordPress; and one of the Blogging 101 assignments was to tweak our titles.  It suddenly came to me tweak the title to:  “Musings from Saint Anthony’s Walnut Tree.”  I think it more accurately indicates what I hope to accomplish with this

All About Me


Howdy!!…….One More Time!

My modified profileHowdy, my name is Jonathan Francis Jones. I am a 62 year old man, who is happily married, a Roman Catholic, a Secular Franciscan, and an ordained Permanent Deacon.  Oh, and as of January, 2015, I have been unemployed.  This is my second go-round with Blogging 101; but to all of you newbies, allow me to reintroduce myself.

Ever since I was a kid in elementary school, I felt that God was calling me to some sort of service.  After high school, I entered the Catholic seminary for the Archdiocese of Boston, and spent eight years in studies.  I felt the need to take a leave of absence for a year to sort some things out.  I spent the year with an ecumenical organization called: “A Christian Ministry in the National Parks.”  It recruits theology students, and other college students, to go out into the country’s national parks, lead Sunday worship services, Bible studies and other activities.  I spent the summer in Yellowstone National Park, leading Sunday services at Old Faithful Inn; and washing dishes the rest of the time.  The Fall and Winter of that year, I was in Texas, at Big Bend National Park, right on the Rio Grande River.  My “earn my keep” job was being a night watchman; after which, on Sunday morning, I lead 2 worship services.  It was in the midst of all this natural beauty that I began to sense the Holy Spirit drawing me to testing a calling to be a Franciscan friar.  I spent at year and half in formation, when I came to discern that maybe I was meant to go down a different road.

So I found myself working in the Mutual Fund industry, servicing customers, but I was still felt being called to be a follower of St. Francis of Assisi.  Fortunately, the Franciscan movement has a lay branch, the Secular Franciscan Order.   I became a professed member in 1988, coincidently, the same year I married my beautiful, wonderful wife, Peg.  I remained active in the Church, as a member of my parish choir, and as a reader during the Sunday Mass.  I continued my life of prayer and service, still feeling called to go deeper.  I, along with my wife, entered the formation program for the Permanent Diaconate.  In September, 2012, I, along with my fellow classmates, were ordained as Deacons.  Peg, with the other wives, gave me the vestments I was to wear.  I have been assigned to several parishes in Beverly, Massachusetts, serving the people there I whatever way I can.

While, still in the Diaconal formation program, I felt called to blog; yes, called!  As I surfed the Web, I came across blogs that I really enjoyed, some that infuriated me, and others that confused me to no end.  One day, during 2009, in a downtown Boston bookstore, I found a book: “The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.”  I bought it, read it cover to cover.  I felt God calling me to share my faith experience with others, to try my hand at being an electronic evangelizer.  At the same time, I wanted to share my own observations of what is happening in my community, my Church, and my world.  So in 2009, I started my first blog, on Google’s Blogger, I would later move to WordPress.

I am hoping that through my random scribbles, I can inform, get people thinking, and in some small way, share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

What is Behind a Title?

st anthony walnut tree

Our second Blogging 101 assignment was to tinker with our blog’s title and tag line.

Well, I have had this title ever since I started blogging five years ago, on Google’s Blogger, and I really do not want to let it go.

How did the title come about?  Well, I am Franciscan at heart, as well as in reality (a lay Franciscan)!  Among the most popular Franciscan saints, after St. Francis of Assisi, is St. Anthony of Padua, a Portuguese friar, who wanted to be a missionary in North Africa; but wound up in Italy.  It was there that his talent for preaching was discovered, and he was sent off to preach throughout Northern Italy and Southern France.  Towards the end of his life, he went off to a small Franciscan friary, near the Italian city of Padua. There he had a sort of tree house built-in a walnut tree; it was going to be a place of quiet, contemplative, prayer for Anthony, a hermitage.  Legend has it that people would still come to the friary, seeking a good word from him.  And he would preach from the branches of the walnut tree.  It is this story that inspired the title for this blog