Saturday, October 17, 2015

An Election - Franciscan Style

Last night my Fraternity held its officer elections.

As I had mentioned previously, when nominations were initially made over the summer, I had been nominated by various people for almost every office - Minster, Vice Minister, Treasurer, Secretary, and Councilor. When contacted by the election committee, I said I didn't  desire any office, but I would be willing to consider serving as a Council member again - after all, I'm the person with the key to our meeting site and I had to be there anyway for the Council meetings.

I like being the doorman. Like Venerable Solanus Casey.

The election committee contacted me again, and said many people wanted me to run for Vice Minister. I again declined. I had many reasons. But at this point I began to wonder if I was doing this out of ego - by turning it down I had control, and it was drawing attention to my "humility." And I wondered if by saying no I was denying a call, and rejecting the opportunity to be a servant to the Fraternity. So I began to pray and decided that if people approached me again I would let my name be on the ballot and leave it up to the fraternity and the Holy Spirit. Sure enough, at a Fraternity meeting three people approached me. I said my name could be on the ballot.

To the elections.

The Minister was reelected almost unanimously. No surprise.

Then came the vote for Vice Minister. There were two candidates, a long-time fraternity member - a woman I considered a fine candidate - and myself.

First vote - a tie!

Second vote - still tied.

At this point, the woman running the election looked up the Franciscan rules. If at the end of a third ballot there was still a tie, the office would go to the candidate who had been professed the longest. In this case, it would be my worthy opponent.

Third vote, someone apparently changed votes ... and my opponent won.

Alleluia. I didn't get an office I really didn't want.

I think the Holy Spirit was messing with me by dragging it out this way, though.

A side note. My wife, who is in formation and so had no vote in the election, had been asked to record the votes on a whiteboard for all to see. She was standing near the woman who was running against me. My wife noted the woman was sweating, closing her eyes, sighing, muttering, seemingly praying as the votes were taking place. My wife's reading of it was the woman really, really wanted to be elected.

If so, I'm glad she got her wish.

Ah, but there was more.

The elections for Secretary and Treasurer went as expected. Then we came to Formation Director. The man who had been the Formation Director was running for reelection and was expected to win easily, but he was not at the meeting because he was on retreat. Under Franciscan election rules, if he is elected he has to either be there to say he accepts or be reachable by phone to say he accepts, or he had to have submitted a letter prior to the night to say he would accept. He had not submitted a letter, and he could not be reached by phone - likely his phone had to be turned off  during retreat sessions. So ... he was disqualified, and the woman who had been helping him with formation was elected Formation Director. An upset!

But there's even more.

Last up was the election of Councilors - as noted earlier, I was currently one, and had indicated from the start that I would be willing to continue in that role (that whole key thing!).

There were four candidates: a current Councilor, a married couple, and myself. Prior to last night, the Fraternity had two Councilors. But then someone asked if all four candidates could be named Councilors. The woman from the region who was running the election said no, according to the rules, a Fraternity could have a maximum of three Councilors. The Fraternity voted to raise the number of Councilors to three.

But ... one of the candidates, the wife of the couple, was not there. Unlike the former Formation Director, she could be reached by phone, and she agreed to serve if elected.

So we voted. I finished first. The husband of the couple finished second. The woman who had been a Council member finished third. We three were elected. Asked if we were willing to serve, I said yes, the woman said yes, the husband said ... no.

It seems he and his wife do everything together, and since she was not elected he was not willing to serve without her. So we ended up with two Councilors anyway.

In the end, I continue in the office I'd been willing to serve in in the first place, and we now have three new people in offices. Interestingly, the officers for our Fraternity consists of six woman and me. Once again, I'm one of the token males, or in this case, THE token male!

Just call me the doorman.


Pax et bonum

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