As our apostolate continues to grow and reach new people, many have asked about the Mission of Saint Thorlak website. It seems like a good time to pause and take a look around. This week we will talk specifically about our blog, and next week will be a site tour and walkthrough.
A recurring theme in the comments we hear about our website regards the visibility and indexing of our blog. The format we currently use is fully integrated with the website but not the easiest to navigate, especially in trying to reference past posts. Our “blog” is more of a running instruction manual for Missionaries of Saint Thorlak, and less a running commentary. It consists of specific thematically sequenced reflections to help familiarize readers with our Missionary mindset. Thus, we place our weekly posts under the header “Mission Activities” and refrain from calling it strictly a blog.
When this apostolate first started out, we very literally began from nothing and built our way up. We needed framework and context for the concepts underpinning the choices and ways of interacting that emulate the example of Saint Thorlak and seem particularly effective for helping autistic people connect more meaningfully with others, and, ultimately, with God. We decided to roll these ideas out one at a time, week by week, gradually introducing our purpose, mission statement and objectives, striving for a good balance between abstract and concrete. This would be accomplished by sharing our thoughts – our Missionary Thoughts – and would serve both to communicate our reasoning and provide enough of a glimpse that the thought could then be emulated in readers’ minds and actions. We purposefully use the heading “Contemplation in Action” because this further reinforces the idea that we aim to present ideas that are at once spiritual and practical. In doing so, our model hopes to imitate the ideals of a good prayer life.
We have acknowledged the need for better indexing and referencing, and so have created a table of contents by date and topic on our “Missionary Thoughts Archive” page. Behind the scenes, we are working to formulate these posts into a Missionaries of Saint Thorlak Guidebook which will be made available in print and e-book formats for easier reference.
Please, keep the feedback coming. We are here to serve. It is an exciting place to be in terms of this apostolate, as our inventory has affirmed that our foundation is in place and looks to be solid. We can now start building real, tangible ways to help people connect spiritually, across the globe and in our own regions. It’s here. It’s time.
Along with the site tour, we are also working on rolling out a Google Voice phone line that can receive voice mail and text messages, and then, we are very serious about writing an annotated catechism for those affected by autism - and, anyone else who finds that format more readily applicable to engaging our faith.
Keep us in your prayers!
-Aimee O’Connell, T.O.Carm.