Couple wants to share blessings of farm life

| June 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
Don and Bonnie Quigley will host the annual Rural Life Sunday Celebration at their farm near ­Lindstrom. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Don and Bonnie Quigley will host the annual Rural Life Sunday Celebration at their farm near ­Lindstrom. Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit

Don and Bonnie Quigley say they feel blessed to have had the opportunity to live and raise their four children on a farm, and they want to share that blessing with others.

That’s why they are opening their farm June 23 for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ annual Rural Life Sunday Celebration. The Quigleys want people to come and experience what farm life is like.

The event — which begins with Mass at 1:30 p.m. with Bishop Lee Piché — is hosted by the parishes of St. Joseph in Taylors Falls and St. Francis Xavier in Shafer.

Lunch — which will include pulled pork sandwiches with homemade barbeque sauce and hot dogs — and entertainment will follow the Mass. There will also be a rodeo roping demonstration, music and a petting zoo.

The archdiocese has celebrated Rural Life Sunday for more than 50 years “as a way to celebrate and enliven the spirituality and life experienced by parishioners in our rural communities,” said Dale Hennen, a member of the Archdiocesan Parish Services Team.

The celebration is moved to a different part of the archdiocese each year.

“People who live in urban areas don’t have many opportunities to celebrate with our sisters and brothers in rural communities,” said Jim Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. “It’s an opportunity to give thanks to God for the gifts of the earth and the important contribution of those who are involved in agricultural production.”

Want to go?

  • When: 1:30 p.m., June 23
  • Where: The Don and Bonnie Quigley farm, 25051 Olinda Trail, Lindstrom
  • Directions:

From I 35 exit at Highway 97, go east 15 miles to County Road 3/Olinda Trail, go north 4 miles on Olinda Trail (County Road 3 turns into County Road 25 when you cross Country Road 86/Panola Drive).

From Highway 8 in Lindstrom, go south 6 miles on County Road 25/Olinda Trail.

From Highway 95, go west 3 miles on County Road 86/Panola Drive to Olinda Trail; farm is just north of Panola Drive on Olinda Trail.

Living in ‘God’s country’

The Quigleys moved to what is now their 40-acre farm in 1974. They had beef cattle until 1995 and now grow corn and soybeans. Don, who grew up on a dairy farm not far away, worked in construction and ran the farm until he retired in 2004.

Now he helps neighbors, and he said the best thing about being a farmer is that “you get to be your own boss.”

“Living in the country to me has always been living in God’s country,” Bonnie added. “I remember looking out the window here not too long ago and I said to my youngest daughter, ‘Amanda, look at the orioles. . . . This is how I know there’s a God. The beauty of these birds didn’t just happen. They were created.’”

Planning the event is a time-consuming undertaking for the host family as well as the parishes involved. Arrangements must be made for the food, entertainment and other details, from finding parking space to setting up an outdoor altar.

But there is help. “Everybody in the parishes is just so excited about this,” Bonnie said. Women from both parishes have volunteered to provide homemade cookies for the lunch, and someone has donated the barbeque sauce, which Bonnie describes as  “to die for.”

Recently, Don said, someone who hosted the Rural Life Sunday Celebration a few years ago called to tell them they had several signs they could use.

Sharing their blessings

The Quigleys agree that the biggest challenge of farming is the weather. But Bonnie isn’t worried.

“Weather-wise, I’m having a lot of conversations [with God] and praying for good weather,” she said. “And even if the weather isn’t good, it will still be a good day. I’m not going to worry about it, I’ll just leave it in his hands.”

“Rural Life Sunday serves to celebrate the importance of rural life — the people, the culture, and the land — to the Church and to all people,” Ennis said. “Rural communities have much to teach all who live in urban areas, and the Church recognizes and celebrates all the gifts and blessings rural communities give to us.”

“We’re really blessed for the opportunity to be able to do this,” Bonnie added. “We don’t have a big farm, but we’re out in the country and it’s been a blessing to live here all these years, and we just want to share that blessing with others.”

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Category: Local News