Franciscan’s focus was spirituality, prayer and simplicity

We ran a story Tuesday about the death of Franciscan Sister Jose Hobday,  80, who was well-known as an author, storyteller and lecturer on spirituality and prayer. She also was a Seneca tribal elder who spoke often of what the larger culture could learn from Native Americans.

In preparing the obituary on her, I looked through the archived CNS coverage we had had on her over the years, and a gem caught my eye: a 1973 interview with her that we picked up from the Clarion Herald, newspaper of the New Orleans Archdiocese.

“Indians’ values are so different,” Sister Jose told reporter Florence Herman. “They have a terrifically strong sense of family, and will throw over a job — a good job — and move back to the reservations to take care of older  members of the family when there is no one else. And though they realize that white people think they are crazy, they know they are doing the right thing.”

“The Indians,” she added, “have certain values they want to keep, even as they realize and know that they can’t live in the old-style Indian culture. … Indians are willing to work with the white man and his world, they just don’t want to work in it all the time.”

And when it comes to money, she said, it is not “a big thing to the Indians. Enough to cover your needs is all you have to have. They aren’t really convinced that you should spend a lifetime pursuing money.”

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