New monks in town

The past year has brought three new religious orders to Denver. October saw the Sisters of Life and the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo. Now, the archdiocese is also home to the priests and brothers of the Congregation of St. John.

Though the order is new to Denver, it has existed since 1975. Five students studying under a Dominican priest began a spiritual regimen that eventually led to them wanting to join a religious community. No existing community could take them, so they founded their own. Father Francis Therese Krautter, a member of the community in residence at All Souls Parish in Englewood, explained their unique spirituality.

“We are focused especially on St. John’s theology of Christ, as the beloved. To be the beloved is an honor, but also a responsibility,” said Father Francis Therese Krautter. “Philosophy is a huge part of our spirituality, because it makes our charism of a contemplative life possible…One of the things our community thrives on is the search for truth, with the understanding that there is truth to be discovered.”

The congregation is active-contemplative, meaning they are grounded in prayer, but still do ministry and are at the service of the archdiocese.

Father Krautter said the community has wanted to come to Denver for some time, but was only recently able to make that wish a reality.

“It’s great to be in a diocese where there’s so much dynamism, and so many groups that are active,” said Father Krautter.

In addition to their charism, the brothers hope to bring new opportunities to individuals who want to be successful in ministry. They are already accepting applications for the St. John Institute, which will provide a business degree to individuals who want to work in ministry. The program is accredited through Walsch University in Ohio.

“What we’ve realized is that while the discernment mode appealed to some, there was something that we as a Church weren’t providing. Some young people are on fire and want to give their whole life to Christ, but aren’t going to become a brother or a sister or a missionary. So we wanted to find another opportunity for them,” Father Krautter said.

Students in the program will live in community, share a common life of prayer and take classes.

“They’ll have opportunities for spiritual direction and to be grounded in a contemplative life of prayer, but also have the skill on the business side to start these initiatives, or help initiatives that already exist but need grounded people to help,” Father Krautter said. “It touches on the spiritual life, but also on the practical.”

He said the program is aimed at individuals who have already been evangelized, but would like to go deeper while growing in business skills. The Church needs this combination, he said.

“If we continue to live in the Middle Ages or say that you only need the Gospel and no skills, I think that’s unfortunate,” he said.

The brothers are in residence at All Souls Parish. They invite everyone in the archdiocese to get to know them. They chant vespers and have an hour of adoration most days in the Church, and chant morning prayer at 7 a.m.

“Come pray with us. We’d love to have people come join us for prayer. We’d love to help with spiritual direction, confession, giving talks to small groups, or parish retreats,” said Father Krautter.

COMING UP: Team Samaritan cyclist goes ‘Everesting’ for the homeless and hungry

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When it comes to the daily sufferings of those who are homeless, there’s nothing like a 29,029-foot bike ride to keep things in perspective.

That’s exactly what Corbin Clement will be doing this Saturday, June 19, with a couple of his riding buddies as they attempt an “Everesting” ride to raise money for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in Denver. Starting at Witter Gulch Road in Evergreen, the three riders will climb Squaw Pass Road to a point in Clear Creek County and ride back down the hill for over eight laps, which amounts to roughly 190 miles in distance and the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing – hence the name “Everesting.” Their goal is to complete the feat in 20 hours or less.

Oh, and they can’t sleep. It is, indeed, just as crazy as it sounds. Those who aren’t avid cyclists might be wondering, “How in the world do you train for something like this?” 
“For training, it’s been just more or less ride as much as possible,” Clement told the Denver Catholic. “The training is structured around endurance, and that’s of course what Everesting is. It’s just a lot of peddling. So, a lot of my training so far has just been trying to ride as much as possible and ride longer high elevation rides.” 

In March, an Irish cyclist set the world record for Everesting when he completed the feat in six hours and 40 minutes. Clement isn’t trying to set a record, but regardless, it’s quite a feat to undertake, even for a seasoned athlete like him, whose pedigree includes snowboarding and rock climbing. 

“Our ride will be the same thing, but it’ll be pretty different,” Clement said. “We don’t have any sort of special bikes or super focused diet or a really regimented plan or a crew that’s very well-instructed on how we’re going to tackle this. I’ve read a couple of things to just kind of make it into a party — have friends come out to support you, get people to join you on certain laps…that’s kind of the approach we’re taking.” 

Clement has already raised $5,200 for Samaritan House, with a current goal of $8,000. This is Clement’s first year riding for Team Samaritan, but his dad, Kevin, has ridden for the team for several years. When his dad offered to give him an extra kit and uniform, Clement accepted, but didn’t want to take it without doing something help the cause. He could’ve simply opted for a nice ride in the countryside, but he chose to do something a bit more challenging.  

Corbin Clement used to experience the challenges that homeless people face on a daily basis when commuting through downtown Denver to work on his bike. This Saturday, he will raise money for Samaritan House homeless shelter by “Everesting,” a 190-mile bike ride that is the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in terms of vertical climbing. (Photo provided)

“For some reason, the Everesting idea popped into my head,” he explained. “I think it’s one of those things that has a little bit of shock value for people who hear about it. It’s certainly something that’s gained more popularity and visibility in the last couple of years with endurance athletes. I wanted to choose something that would actually be a challenge for myself and something that I’d have to work towards.” 

Clement currently resides in Utah, but he used to live in Denver and commute by bike to work every day. During those rides to his office, which was located near Samaritan House, he would pass many homeless people and have conversations with them. This experience was also a motivating factor for his Everesting attempt for Team Samaritan. 

“It’s very different when you’re on a bike versus in a car because you’re right there,” Clement said. “If you stop at a stoplight and a homeless person is on the corner, whether or not they’re panhandling or something like that, you hear the conversations, or you’ll have a conversation with them. There are things you smell or you hear or you see that you just never would if you were in a car. So, it kind of made sense, too, with the biking aspect. It’s part of my community that I’ve lived and worked in for a very long time.” 

Clement’s Everesting attempt is one event in a series of endurance event’s he’s doing over the summer that culminates with the Leadville 100, a single-day mountain bike race across the Colorado Rockies. In that race, he will be riding to support young adults diagnosed with cancer by raising funds for First Descents.  

Both causes are near to Clement’s heart, and he said that while his Everesting attempt will be a form of “suffering,” it pales in comparison to what the homeless face day in and day out. This is ultimately why he’s riding and raising funds for Team Samaritan. 

“Any time we see a homeless person or people who have to live on the streets,” Clement said, “That is true suffering — true endurance — with no end in sight.” 

To learn more about Corbin’s fundraising efforts or to donate, click here.