Debbie Warrier: Meditation a way of life for Br Negus

27 Nov 2008

By The Record

br20peter20negus.jpgWe have formal prayer in our Christian Brother community. There are six of us at West Court which is right on the edge of the Aquinas College property. It’s a beautiful site to be able to pray. From Monday to Friday we say the Office of the Church at 7am and share prayer. That’s followed by Mass in our chapel. On Thursdays we meditate from 6.40am to 7.20am.
The weekend is for personal prayer. Usually on Saturdays I go for a walk along the river. That’s a special prayer time for me. Every night after the evening meal we have a prayer and share what happened during the day. Then I spend 10-15 minutes in the chapel meditating on the Gospel readings for the next day.
I am an identical twin and I have closeness with my brother Laurie that can never be broken. You know that you are loved for who you are. That love probably existed before birth. When I joined the Christian Brothers, Laurie was going out with a number of girls. I must admit his choices were very good! Then Laurie got engaged to a nurse called Jan after going out with her for a year.
When Laurie told me of the engagement I said, “You don’t seem so totally rapt.” We know each other backwards. He was uncertain if he had made the right decision. My response was probably the work of the Spirit. I said, “Well, it’s not too late to join the Christian Brothers.” He went back to Jan and told her that they had made a mistake. He said that was one of the most difficult things that he had to do. Then he joined the Brothers too. I think he saw how happy I was as a Brother and a teacher.
Since February this year I have been working as Director of The Shopfront. The Shopfront is situated at 170 Whatley Crescent, Maylands.  It provides a place of fellowship and food for the destitute. People who are homeless, lonely, addicted to drugs and alcohol or subject to violence are welcome here. We also provide assistance with obtaining emergency accommodation, network with other agencies on their behalf and give interview times to people who want to discuss their problems. There is even a shower on the premises. 
Julie Williams is the manager of the Pastoral Care Centre at Highgate and was responsible for the establishment of Shopfront with the assistance of Archbishop Barry Hickey. There are about 40-50 people here on the weekdays. We have 70 volunteers. Opening hours are Monday to Friday between 1pm – 4pm. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays it is also open between 6pm – 8:30pm. To contact us you can call 9371 9109 or 9422 7901. 
Our opening prayer here is: “O God, we acknowledge your presence amongst us as we gather at Shopfront today. Help us to create here a place where we respect the equal dignity of every person we meet. May Shopfront be a homely and relaxed place where all people feel welcome. Mary our Mother, watch over us and be a mother to all who come here today. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.”
One of the Bible quotes that inspire me in my work is: “If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14: 23) That’s talking to each of us.