Your Storytelling Friend, Jan Kilburg Milton-Freewater, Oregon

“I made a friend in October of 2008 when I attended an Alice’s House storytelling workshop.  I live in Oregon.  This workshop was an enormous event to me.  I met a man the first day of the workshop.  He introduced himself as Deacon John.  I had never heard anybody refer to themselves by saying, “My name is Deacon John.”  I liked that.  He was older than I.  I liked that too.  I have always enjoyed visiting with people older than myself.  He was 79 and I was 60.    He had been a deacon in the Catholic Church for twenty-two years.   I didn’t know the Catholic Church even had deacons.  I loved visiting with Deacon John immediately.  His voice, little sayings, heart warming stories, and smile drew me in.  We laughed at the same things.  As the days of the workshop progressed we became kindred spirits.  He mentioned to me one day that he gave a homily every Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Raynham.  “What’s a homily?” I said.  He told me a homily (little flame) was a short simple two minute sermon/story to light the path of the parishioners for that day.  On Saturday evening of the workshop, you (Jay) mentioned privately to me that you felt a sore throat coming on.  Deacon John and I quietly stepped outside.  We prayed that your sore throat would go away.  It did!  The answer to that prayer solidified our friendship even more.  Since 2008 Deacon John and I have written hundreds of e-mails, called each other, and SKYPED a few times.  I returned to Massachusetts in 2014 for another workshop with you.  I stayed in John’s hometown to visit John and his family a day before the workshop started.  I got to hear John deliver his weekly homily Thursday morning.  I was so proud of him.  Alice’s House gave Deacon John and I the gift of friendship.  Alice’s House changed my life.