THE NECESSARY REQUIREMENTS NEEDED IN A CUSTODIAN
FEBRUARY 25, 2012
CUSTODIAN OF TEOPOLI
FR CLAUDIO PICCININI, C.P.
FOUNDER AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR
MRS. ANDREINA BOLOGNA BRANN
I. BASIC REFLECTIONS FOR THE ASSUMPTION OF A CUSTODIAN(S) AT TEOPOLI.
Teopoli is 200 acres of land in the Town of Gravenhurst in Muskoka, Ontario. The property is owned by an Association of families called The United Society/Società Unita or The Mission. It has been in operation as a Spiritual Centre, under the leadership of The Mission, since 1972. At present the job of custodian opened to be filled by a family or individual/s able and willing to reside at Teopoli full-time.
Preferably the applicant should be a practicing Catholic and in good standing with the Catholic Church. The applicant should be a social person with excellent hospitality skills and prepared to put in time and effort into the future development of Teopoli and the Mission.
In order to apply for this position it is necessary to read the following information and job description.
A. TEOPOLI IS A SPECIAL PLACE
Teopoli is a blessing and a gift from God to The Mission. Teopoli is a gift and a blessing because we could not have found and kept a place such as Teopoli by our own strength and abilities. Therefore, The Mission welcomes Teopoli and pledges to do all in its power to protect and develop it as a place where everyone can experience the Presence of God.
The people who have followed the growth of The Mission through the years have come to look at Teopoli as a place of spiritual growth and physical well-being. This knowledge encourages us to be even more attentive to the development of this holy place that has been entrusted to us by the Holy Will of God.
B. THE BENEFACTORS OF TEOPOLI
The natural characteristics of Teopoli are beautiful and special in themselves. The lake, the river, the waterfalls; the wooded areas, the hills, the meadows and the rocks all add their natural beauty to the attractiveness of Teopoli.
The people who have contributed in the past and are contributing in the present in making Teopoli the place that it has become and continues to become are the living stones of a dream and a vision in the making.
Among all these individuals we consider Sr. Carmelina Tarantino of the Cross, C.P. as the most obvious gift and greatest blessing to Teopoli to date. Sr. Carmelina gave us the most concrete example of how to love, protect and develop The Mission and each of its apostolate, especially Teopoli. The legacy of her spirit filled life, her example of following the Will of God, her life of prayer and her courage in suffering will be elements that will provide The Mission and Teopoli in particular, with a solid and effective example for all those who will come to share in the spirituality of Teopoli.
We have this conviction in light of the following seven reasons.
C THE HISTORY OF TEOPOLI
1. The way Teopoli was obtained.
When the first step was taken toward the end of 1971 to acquire Teopoli we were told, by Father Patrick Pharand, O.S.M., speaking on behalf of the owners, the Servite Fathers, that the property had been sold. It was through the Providence of God that I asked Fr. Patrick to keep us informed of future developments in the eventuality that the deal would not go through, since we were interested in buying the property. It is important to note that at the time of this phone conversation with Fr. Patrick, who was residing in Ottawa, I had not yet seen the property. I never felt the need to see the land as if I already knew that this was the place where all the hopes and dreams I had at the time could be fulfilled. Actually I never saw the land before buying it.
2. The way Teopoli has developed since we bought it.
Looking back it is obvious to me that Teopoli has developed through the years slowly but constantly. Up to now the development of Teopoli has taken place mainly through the help of a limited number of devoted benefactors. No one is excluded from being part of this project. We need to continue looking for more benefactors who can build Teopoli.
3. The Teopoli Programs.
Since 1973 there has been the Teopoli Summer Experience for children at Teopoli without interruption. In addition, at different times, there have also been weekend and days of recollection for Elementary and High School students as well as for adults.
These programs have been like a seed that has been planted in the soil and that are ready at any time to spring up and grow into large trees, just like the mustard seed of the Gospel. This is our desire and our firm hopes. But we know and are strongly confident that it will take place in God’s time.
4. The installation of the Cross at Teopoli.
Since the idea of installing the Cross at Teopoli came into my mind, during a telephone conversation with Sr. Carmelina in the winter of 1977, Teopoli has never been the same. All the dreams and ideas that were in my mind before this event, took a completely different meaning after the installation of the Cross. Following this event Teopoli officially became a place of prayer, repentance, conversion, adoration and a place able to facilitate a personal encounter with Jesus. Teopoli became THE CITY OF GOD in name and fact.
The Cross became the Throne of Jesus Crucified, the King of His City, Teopoli. The installing of the Cross was like God claiming this place for himself and for his own divine purposes which the members of The Mission need to constantly rediscover for the greater glory of God, our salvation and for the salvation of others.
5. The presence of many people who have come on Pilgrimage.
Since May 8, 1977 thousands of people have made the Pilgrimage to spend a day of prayer at Teopoli and pray before the Cross. Young and old have come to Teopoli, on Pilgrimage, to experience the presence of God in their lives. At Teopoli they have encountered a God full of mercy and forgiveness, a God ready to listen and to console those who are afflicted by the evil that surrounds us in this world. The Spirituality of the Passion is like a soothing balm that eases their pain and restores their courage to continue the journey through life. For all these Pilgrims Teopoli has become a place of monthly and annual appointments with God, where He shows us his greatest act of love, the Passion and Death of his Son and the promise held out to us of eternal life. From this perspective Teopoli has become a place of hope, peace and love.
6. The presence of the Shrine to Jesus the Listener.
The Shrine that houses the Jesus the Listener Crucifix has become one of the focal points at Teopoli. The late Bishop James Doyle blessed the Shrine and declared it an official Shrine dedicated to Jesus the Listener in the Diocese of Peterborough.
The Shrine has all the privileges of any shrine in the Roman Catholic Church. This has brought countless graces to thousands of Pilgrims who have come to visit and place their requests, their hopes and their sins at the foot of a loving, compassionate and Listening Savior. Jesus the Listener embodies the most profound and outreaching theological insights that are offered to the Pilgrims for their personal reflection as each asks Jesus to hear their personal and communal requests in his presence.
The image of Jesus nailed to the Cross, still alive and in an attitude of listening, combined with the title, Jesus the Listener, the Shrine represents the fundamental teaching of the whole Bible, namely that God loves us to the point of giving up his own Son for our salvation and that He is always listening in and through His Divine Son, Jesus Christ.
7. The presence of Sr. Carmelina’s University.
This small structure that I call “The University of Sr. Carmelina” is the place that houses the beginning of the monument planned to be erected in her memory at Teopoli. As such this is a place of meditation, learning, reflection and prayer. Here Sr. Carmelina will teach those who will come to visit, the most basic and necessary lessons about the relationship between God and us. In particular she will teach us about the importance of the Will of God and our obedience to it; the importance of prayer and its power to save us and others; the importance and meaning of suffering in our lives and how it relates to the sufferings of Jesus in His most Sacred Passion. Here, in her University, Sr. Carmelina will show us how mysterious God’s plan for our salvation is, how unconditional his love is and how his merciful love for us is without end. Sr. Carmelina will show and teach us how all of this relates to the relationship between the Passion, Death and Resurrection and our salvation.
II. TEOPOLI CALLS FOR OUR DEEPLY FELT LOVE AND FOR OUR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP
Therefore it is the responsibility of The Mission to protect and promote Teopoli as a place of spiritual growth and spiritual fortification with an emphasis on Passionist Spirituality and the spirituality of the Gospel of St. John for every man or woman of good will, but in particular for those who profess the Catholic Faith.
We pray and work so that the individuals who choose to live at Teopoli will be guided by the motto of The Mission, which is: Peace, Love and Unity. At Teopoli we endeavor to become partners with God in accepting in our lives and in our world the divine gifts of Peace, Love and Unity that come from Jesus our Savior through a faithful meditation of His Sacred Passion. We are aware that with the help of this constant meditation of the Sacred Passion of Jesus we need to ask our merciful Father in heaven to fashion in us a listening heart, a heart ready and willing to sacrifice self for others. We also know that in our daily lives, so readily filled with the many distractions present in our contemporary world, we must cultivate a humble but profound understanding of God’s Revelation of Himself to humanity in view of the relationship that God has established with each of us through the Person of Jesus, particularly through His Passion, Death and Resurrection.
All those who participate in the promotion of the goals and purposes of Teopoli and in particular those who live at Teopoli are expected to have a clear understanding of the Evangelization work that The Mission has been given by God. We humbly accept this work aimed at fostering the glory of God among people and the salvation of souls. We are fully aware that Salvation is first and foremost the work of God brought about by the Passion Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and that we are called to participate in it according to the plan and will of God.
1. We respond to this call by providing a Custodian for Teopoli.
In describing the functions of the Custodian at Teopoli, it is necessary to begin by stating that the position is not simply fulfilling a job description. The Custodian, just as every other member of The Mission, is directly engaged in the Evangelization work of The Mission.
The apostolate of Teopoli is not different from that of the mother organization, The Mission, but it is a practical application of what the Mission intends to accomplish in the work of Evangelization in union with and in the service of the Roman Catholic Church.
2. We respond to this call by forming a resident Community at Teopoli.
From the very beginning and founding of The Mission there has been the desire and aim to form people who could take up the work of The Mission as one’s life vocation. After the Mission obtained Teopoli this desire to establish a residential community at Teopoli became stronger and ever more necessary. This has not happened yet, but it remains our firm hope that one day it will take place. For now it is important that all we do at Teopoli will be done according to this vision and hope of ours. We must leave the timing to God. He knows what is best, how it will be accomplished and when it will take place.
After three different experiences that The Mission has had, with the past three custodians, we are now in a position to continue the formulation of ever more defined principles and guidelines for those who will follow. After all that has been said above it is clear that we need to look for people who have a profound and sincere belief in The Mission and its apostolate. It is important that these people who live at Teopoli have a desire to live the spirituality of the Mission which is one of service to God and to others, and to follow a way of life that is open to doing missionary work of Evangelization at and outside of Teopoli.
I, myself, have a small residence at Teopoli at St. Paul of the Cross Residence. I am a professed member of the Passionist Congregation and I am a Passionist Missionary, and am willing, but unable, to perform the duties of a custodian at Teopoli. I know full well and first hand all the responsibilities that are called for at Teopoli.
From the beginning to the present, the members of The Mission have volunteered to do most of the maintenance work at Teopoli. However, the time has now come for The Mission to prepare the necessary documentation and clarifications, by keeping the lessons learned by past experiences in mind, which will make it possible for individuals and families to live and work permanently at Teopoli. This task of searching, hiring and firing is ultimately the responsibility of The Mission’s Council of Administration. The Mission alone decides who will be allowed to live and work at Teopoli as permanent residents and custodians.
3. We respond to this call by searching for a custodian who can live and work at Teopoli.
All organizations, such as ours, depend on Voluntarism for its survival. In our case we need the personal involvement of a great number of volunteers in order to accomplish the goals of The Mission. However, we must look for a custodian that can be responsible for all that has to e done on a day-to-day basis.
At Teopoli the need of a custodian becomes even more evident on account of the amount of work that has to be done. It is also important to realize that the custodian at Teopoli is sometimes called to exercise strenuous physical energy. The Custodian is called to use discretion in the carrying out of his duties.
The Custodian at Teopoli is not simply meant to guard the property and accomplish those necessary tasks to keep the place running. He/she becomes an integral part of Teopoli vis-à-vis The Mission and the larger civil community outside of Teopoli, such as Gravenhurst etc. The Custodian, then, becomes a living representative of The Mission in the eyes of the larger community. He/she speaks, sees and acts in the name of The Mission.
Because The Mission itself is a living entity, it is not easy to predict all the duties and responsibilities that may and will arise in the future regarding various individuals who will be living and working at Teopoli. One thing is absolutely certain, namely, that the role of the Custodian is reviewed from time to time by the Council of Administration and that this role should be understood and respected by all those who will be working at Teopoli
The Council of Administration is the only authorized body that, under normal conditions, has the power to determine what is done at Teopoli. For the sake of good order and also as a sign of subsidiarity the Custodian should be an integral part of all the work that is done at Teopoli. In as much as it is possible he should be informed of what is being done and when the situation warrants it he should be consulted as Custodian of Teopoli as to what is most important to be done at any one time. As a person who lives at Teopoli and as one who knows the immediate needs of Teopoli the custodian’s ideas and suggestions should be heard. No one should presume to go to Teopoli and do anything without the Custodian knowledge, and when deciding the priorities of things to be done.
It is important for everyone to have a clear understanding of these procedures and respect them in order to avoid duplication of work, confusion in communication, and bad feelings.
At the same time it is important that the Custodian be duly informed of what is being done and the role that he has in doing the work. The Council can convey its wishes directly to the Custodian or through the heads of committees. All individuals involved in the realization of assigned duties are encouraged to express personal ideas and feelings in a professional manner so that the goals of The Mission can be more easily achieved and that Peace, Love and Unity may be promoted and established.
III. THE NECESSARY REQUIREMENTS NEEDED IN A CUSTODIAN
The Custodian at Teopoli is called to believe, promote and protect the purposes and vision of The Mission and its apostolate at Teopoli.
The Custodian must be physically, spiritually and mentally ready to be part of the future plan of The Mission for Teopoli, by personally investing time and energies in its future development.
The Custodian needs to provide a vulnerable sector police clearance according to the regulations of the Diocese of Peterborough.
The Custodian must provide a resume with three references including one from a Pastor of his parish.
In addition it is important to provide pertinent information relating to health, personal contacts to be used in case of an emergency and any other documentation that is deemed necessary by the Council of Administration of The Mission.
The Custodian’s permanent residence is at Teopoli. He has to have the ability to feel comfortable with the other people who will live and work at Teopoli and be able to participate, whenever possible, at meals, prayer functions and other meetings for the good of The Mission.
The Custodian is not simply fulfilling a job description, but is engaged in fulfilling the objectives of Teopoli, spiritually and physically. The purpose of Teopoli is not different from that of the mother organization, but it is a practical application of all that The Mission, would like to accomplish, as described above. The Custodian is called to protect the physical property and uphold the spirituality, traditions and moral values of Teopoli as something valuable, necessary and morally correct. The Custodian, therefore, is called to live, in a concrete manner, the life of The Mission physically and spiritually.
In view of all that has been said this far, it is important for the Custodian to know fully and well the purposes of The Mission and of Teopoli. The Council of Administration will provide the Custodian with the yearly schedule of activities that will take place at Teopoli. The Custodian should make every effort to be present at these events as an active member of The Mission. It is important that any time off, vacations or any other time away from the property be discussed and agreed upon by both parties, the Custodian and the Director of The Mission, to avoid conflicts and disruptions in the smooth running of all activities at Teopoli. It might be necessary that these times off, vacations or time away from Teopoli be scheduled during slow times of operations.
The Custodian is called to be present and to co-operate with other volunteer helpers before, during and after any of the programs that are conducted at Teopoli. This means assisting in preparing buildings and grounds, helping out in whatever way necessary during the program themselves and cleaning up, storing equipment back to their proper places after programs have been completed.
In order to accomplish some of the government regulated tasks, such as water treatment analysis, food handling, and operation of heavy machinery, he is required to obtain the proper licensing from the respective government ministries.
The Custodian needs to be familiar with the storage and availability of materials and supplies needed for maintenance to ensure the smooth running of all programs. For all expenses that may be involved with the above supplies, obtain invoices and/or receipts for accounting purposes for the Treasurer of the Council of Administration, and to obtain reimbursement.
The Custodian will need to keep a supply of literature that can be distributed to pilgrims and visitors. It is up to the Custodian to give visitors general directions and basic rules of behavior. In case of resistance or violent behavior the Custodian needs to remain calm and not take unnecessary risks, but has the power to ask the individual or individuals to leave, and if needed, call the police.
The Custodian has to be familiar with the regulation governing the rights of people using the waterways and that people who have no business with Teopoli have no right to be on our land, other than to portage their canoes. The more information the Custodian has about all the aspects concerning Teopoli, the easier it will be to answer questions asked by visitors.
IV. THE FUNCTION OF CUSTODIAN AT TEOPOLI HAS TWO COMPONENTS: THE SPIRITUAL/SOCIAL AND THE MATERIAL.
A. THE SPIRITUAL/SOCIAL COMPONENT.
The spiritual/social component is of great importance because it will reveal the soul of Teopoli, the theology and philosophy of The Mission to anyone who comes to visit for any reason at all. When alone on the property, the Custodian is the person who represents and speaks for The Mission when anyone arrives at Teopoli. When Fr. Claudio or the Director or anyone else who has the knowledge and the authority to give the information requested, the Custodian calls upon them immediately.
The Custodian needs to have a calm and friendly attitude when approaching a visitor or a pilgrim. He has to be able to convey a sense of welcome, hospitality, and willingness to serve the needs of those in his presence. It is necessary to show the joy that the presence of the visitor or pilgrim brings to Teopoli. Most likely the first person that a visitor or pilgrim coming to Teopoli will encounter is the Custodian.
These feelings and attitudes expressed in the first few minutes and even seconds will have a lasting impression in the minds and hearts of those coming to Teopoli. They also show what Teopoli is and what it tries to do for the glory of God and the good of souls. Therefore, the Custodian, will be the primary messenger of the purpose of Teopoli, and on a larger scale, the purpose of The Mission itself. It is desirable, necessary and beneficial to everyone that the Custodian be a person comfortable in spending sometime in prayer, spiritual reading, such as the reading of Scripture, the lives of the saints and of other spiritual books. The celebration of the Sacraments and the reception of the Eucharist are practices that are to be part of spiritual growth. The spiritual development is of primary importance to the Custodian if the work is to be accomplished correctly and effectively.
B. THE MATERIAL COMPONENTS.
The material component in itself can be divided into two parts: maintenance of the property and development of the property.
The Council of Administration decides what and how the work is done at Teopoli at all times.
The maintenance part is applicable especially to the existing buildings and grounds at Teopoli and is divided in the fallowing categories.
a.) SECURITY OF TEOPOLI.
The Custodian must be aware of who is on Teopoli’s grounds. With courtesy welcome visitors and inquire the reason for their visit and in what way they can be assisted.
The Custodian needs to have a set of keys for all doors and locks at Teopoli.
All buildings need to be properly secured each day and night. (i.e. lock doors and windows, shut lights off, heater/air conditions set to proper temperatures; all appliances remain in a safe state, no taps running etc.) When programs are in progress, unused facilities, equipment, and appliances are to be inspected.
The Custodian must regularly look for any damage or vandalism on all buildings, grounds, statues, indoor or outdoor, equipment and vehicles.
The Custodian is required to familiarize himself with all the alarm systems existing at Teopoli such as fire, security, and water treatment system, septic system, electrical generator, medical kits and the Emergency Medical Services etc.
If anything is not the way it should be, the appropriate person or the Director of The Mission is to be notified.
In cooperation with other maintenance personnel authorized by the Director or the Council of Administration, the Custodian is responsible to keep all grounds in a neat and clean appearance, such as cutting lawns; trimming shrubs, watering lawns and flowers. The picnic tables, benches, tents, fences, roads, signs must be properly maintained.
In winter snow must be plowed off driveways, and parking lots as needed. Entrances, exits of buildings and fire escapes must be kept free of snow and ice, including the entrances to the White House.
Items that need to be replaced or repaired should be done in a timely and correct manner.
The interior and exterior appearance of all buildings is to be maintained in good conditions. A list of items that require repair (i.e. walls, floors, furniture, doors, windows, screens etc. should be kept and acted on as need requires and time permits.
The Custodian residence is the only place on the Teopoli grounds used for personal needs and activities. The interior and exterior appearance is to be maintained in good conditions.
d.) EQUIPMENT, APPLIANCES AND SERVICES
The Custodian needs to become familiar with all the equipment and appliances of Teopoli and ascertain that they are always in good working condition.
Ensure the proper operation of the heating and air-conditioning systems, including the hot water tanks.
Before the winter ensure that all doors and windows can be shut tight, the water outlets inspected and drained so as to prevent freezing and busting. The water treatment systems (i.e. drinking water, river water, sewage system and pool) must also be inspected and prepared for the winter and summer months accordingly. Maintain all indoor or outdoor plumbing and drains free of leaks, including sings, toilets, and showers.
Record daily water volumes in logbook and complete all water analysis as per schedule after taking the Trained Person Course from the Ministry of the Environment.
The electrical systems (i.e. motors, fans, timers, and indoor and outdoor lighting, electrical generator, refrigerators, freezers, cooler, washers, and dryers are to be kept in working condition at all times.
Maintain a list of items that require repair or scheduled maintenance and refer to maintenance personnel immediately if necessary
Schedule the removal of garbage, refilling of the propane tank, delivery of diesel fuel, cleaning of portable toilets and pumping of the sewage tanks.
e.) TOOLS, MACHINES AND VEHICLES
The Custodian should be trained and licensed in the operation of motorized equipment and vehicles and also knowledgeable in the safe and proper operation of all power tools at Teopoli.
The backhoe, tractor, chainsaws and any power tools, such as skill and table saws, are to be considered restricted tools at Teopoli. The Custodian must ensure that only authorized persons use restricted equipment as specified by the Director of The Mission. Under no circumstances should the Custodian allow anyone to use restricted equipment or tools at Teopoli unless they are qualified.
All equipment at Teopoli must be periodically inspected and properly maintained. Oil, filter changes, machine and vehicles maintenance inspections must be regularly done. If the situation requires outside intervention to repair defects or breakdowns the Director must be informed.
All tools and equipment must be kept in good working conditions and returned to their proper place after use.
The development of Teopoli consists of the construction of new structures and the improvement of the existing facilities.
The Mission is in the process of planning the construction of new facilities at Teopoli. The Custodian is expected to assist and cooperate in whatever way possible.
Improvements are particularly applicable to the property as a whole. To make it more specific, by improvement the Council means the maintaining of trails, the completion of the Way of Jesus, the harvesting and transplanting of trees in different parts of the property, the planting of flowers etc. etc.
The Custodian should not be afraid to suggest to the Director whatever improvement could be brought about making the facilities more secure and more beautiful, as the case may be.
V. THE PRESENCE OF ANIMALS AT TEOPOLI
Animals are part and parcel of God’s creation. They are beautiful and in many ways they serve a useful role in the life of people. They are to be properly cared for. At the same time, because of the apostolate and the present condition of the facilities at Teopoli, the presence of animals must be considered with these factors in mind.
For the sake of everyone’s peace it is advisable that no pets are to be kept inside the buildings. Cats, dogs and other animals that can be used for protection and control of rodents and other pests are to be kept in appropriate outdoor shelters. They must be properly immunized against rabies and other diseases that could be detrimental to human health.
If farm animals are going to be present they must be properly housed and maintained. The area where they are placed must be clean and properly protected from predators.