May 17th, 2016
Meg Hunter-Kilmer ‘Hobo for Christ’: visits Hurtado
Meg describes herself as a ‘Hobo for Christ’, but is something more like we, in the UK, might call a Catholic Apologist. That is not to deny that she is doing some serious leaning on the providence of God. She has no fixed income, or place to live, and is constantly itinerant. But Meg has two Dame, and speaks intelligently and eloquently about her faith. As she told us about her journey to her current way of life it was evident that God had come up trumps for her. She is invited to speak all over the English-speaking, and indeed, non English-speaking world. She has always had somewhere to stay, and sometimes very wonderful places to stay. Two months in Hawaii doesn’t sound too bad to me!
Yet it is evident listening to her that this is a life with many trials and hardships. It is continually unexpected and precarious, there is a lot of moving involved, and with this comes a loss of control of the direction one is putting one’s life in.
“I always tell teenagers” she said
“If you’re naturally a bum on the couch, don’t live like this. But I’m naturally really type A, so when I suddenly found myself inclined to be homeless and unemployed, I knew it had to be a God thing.”
As someone who likes to be busy and achieving myself, I imagine a life of the type she describes to be at times overwhelming, demanding enormous trust in God. Her life source it was evident is prayer, particularly in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
‘I put myself for 45 minutes every day in front of the Blessed Sacrament’ she said
‘Sometimes I am just spending my whole time in a continual struggle to concentrate. But in the end that time where I have put everything before God means I do not have to worry. I have given him the opportunity to speak, and if he doesn’t say anything, well that is his choice’
Meg was inundated with questions, very genuine ones too, both in the official question time, and after as she met with the audience over a glass of wine. She seemed to touch on the audience’s genuine feelings of searching. And perhaps that is why her title ‘hobo’ is so attractive in a culture like our own. Most of us are vaguely aware that the jobs and possessions we spend our lives slaving over fail to satisfy, yet are equally unable to offer ourselves an alternative lifestyle. Meg’s alternative lifestyle suggests a capacity to answer this conundrum.
Meg likened her decision to follow Jesus to that of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius. He rejected the insubstantial spiritual food of his worldly life for the peace that he found in God.
The holy choice of St Ignatius found him followers, quite accidentally, as the men he met at university wondered and questioned the choices he made and the things he said. The Hurtado Community are the spiritual descendents of the first Jesuits, and a testimony to the action of God in the life of St Ignatius, who can so work in one man’s life as to ensure that it continues to bear fruit almost 500 years later.
Listening to Meg’s own faith journey one is struck by the action of God, but cannot tell what its fruits can be. But perhaps that is fitting.
‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’ John 3:8