Since MONKROCK was established on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, 4 October 2002, we have had the privilege of serving hundreds of thousands of souls face-to-face as well as countless others online. We are thankful for the great many who appreciate and support what we do, and we are eternally grateful to be a humble instrument of God and his Church in the hearts and lives of others. Such a calling brings many graces and blessings, yet with it come many responsibilities, sufferings, and even persecutions.
Since 2005, our primary work and source of income has been traveling to Catholic conferences around the United States setting up our portable retail store and hermitage of sorts for holy conversation, preaching, spiritual support and sales. Each conference requires days of planning and packing, 5, 10, 15 or more hours of one-way travel, 2-3 hours of set up and tear down, 12-20 hour workdays, and sometimes the hotel room is a mini-van in a parking garage.
While on the road, we do more than distribute MONKROCK products and Christian resources (apparel, sacramentals, sacred music, books, coffee, etc.). We provide an atmosphere and culture in which others can encounter the truth and love of God and receive healing and direction as they follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ when leaving our booth. We are often the favorite exhibitor of attendees and many times we are told the best conferences, sermons and spiritual guidance they receive are in our booth. In exchange, we meet a lot of wonderful people, make new friends, and we get to witness first-hand the miraculous things God is doing in their lives. We also receive the added benefit of meeting bishops, priests and religious from all over the world who voice their praise and blessing of our work.
In addition to our itinerant apostolate, we have our online store and community, and we serve our local archdiocese as well as churches, associations and individuals worldwide. Even more, MONKROCK is an integral a part of a multifaceted mission and ministry model – that is now celebrating its 20 year anniversary – which now includes an international new monastic association, artist collective, pro-life apostolate, pop culture brand, liturgical resources, handmade fashions, and more. We look forward to the day we can open a brick-and-mortar store / coffeehouse / chapel / gallery / school / monastery, which can be the first of many throughout the world.
As you can imagine, the work of MONKROCK and the greater mission is more than a full-time job (7 days a week, 365 days a year), and with limited funds, resources and only so many hours in the day, the task at times seems impossible, especially while raising (soon-to-be) five children. We are self-employed and self-supported, we work from home – or better said, we live in our office – and by the grace of God we somehow get by each day, each month and year.
Since the business of MONKROCK is truly a ministry – an apostolate – it would not be inappropriate to be financially funded by donations, as many like organizations are, whether they are registered with the IRS as “for-profit” or “non-profit”. Yet we have always sought to imitate the life of monks not only in our spiritual life but also in our organizational model and our finances: a life of total dependency on God’s provision by working and paying for all things ourselves, yet not being afraid to beg or receive help when help is truly needed. This is one of those times.
“I worked with my own hands and I am still determined to work; and with all my heart I want all the other friars to be busy with some kind of work that can be carried on without scandal. Those who do not know how to work should learn, not because they want to get something for their efforts, but to give good example and to avoid idleness. When we receive no recompense for our work, we can turn to God’s table and beg alms from door to door. God revealed a form of greeting to me, telling me that we should say, ‘God give you peace.’” – St. Francis of Assisi, Testament
On 19 October 2011, a prominent Catholic publisher committed the most direct and devastating crime against us in our ten-year history. The person in charge of the company’s warehouse and wholesale accounts intentionally deceived us – as well as other departments in their company – into thinking we would receive our order (over $2,000 worth of merchandise), but instead he deliberately withheld it without the possibility of our receiving it in time for our next event.
Though the department who handles conference accounts approved the order and our sales representative assured us it was already shipped – as it appeared on their computer systems – the person at the warehouse held it hostage. It had been clear to him and the company the merchandise was for a specific event, one that historically had generated enough income to cover a month or more of all our business and family expenses, and that this single action prevented us from attending the conference and earning our living. It came at such a crucial time that it almost put us out of business, out of ministry, and set our family back many years.
To add insult to injury, the person verbally assaulted my wife on the phone, bringing her (and me) to tears, heartbreak and despair. Even after begging and explaining our good standing with the company and fidelity in paying our bills, the great sacrifices we make for the Church and serving others, and the negative impact this would have on our business, ministry and family – he forcefully said, “THIS IS WHAT YOU GET!” There was no compassion, only relentless vengeance and a sense of delight in our suffering. Though this was not because of anything we had done, and even though (I believe) this was all due to a simple oversight and misunderstanding on his part, it was clear the act was premeditated and malicious.
After much prayer and consultation, I tried, through a series of phone calls and e-mails, to plead our case with the company. We only received a half-hearted apology and no reimbursement. The financial loss has snowballed from $5,000 to $15,000, and it is still rolling. The psychological and emotional trauma is still felt daily even now, over seven months later, and this is not the first of its kind. There is no amount of money that could heal such a wound; only God’s divine mercy, the fervent prayers from people like you, and time. We did receive much grace from our other suppliers, who were patient with us as we paid off our invoices, and we even received a little financial help from friends to get us through the winter. We sincerely forgive the guilty party. Nevertheless we have still not recovered from the loss. We are doing everything we can to survive this blow but we cannot do so without assistance.
Please prayerfully consider a donation of $25, $50, $100, $1000 or more. Our first goal is to raise $30,000, which is (for example) less than $50 from each person who has "liked" our MONKROCK Facebook page and less than $10 from each person on our e-mail list. Though this amount is far less than what we need annually to fulfill our mission, this will enable us not only to get back to where we were at the time of the attack but also to surpass the vulnerable and limited state we often find ourselves.
As better stewards of God’s redemptive ministry, we want to be less hindered by lack of funds and operational debt, so we can continue to grow, as we are, despite all limitations and snares of the enemy, growing! We believe it is now time to enable others to share not only in the blessing but also in shouldering the burden of our work, so that we can more effectively meet the needs of others for the salvation of souls and the kingdom of heaven.
Our future is in God’s hands, yet, as St. Teresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body but yours; no hands but yours.” Please pray! And if you can, please give. You have the power to sustain this company and apostolate and to help our growing family. Thank you.
God give you peace.
Kevin Francis Bernadette Clay,
Founder & Owner of MONKROCK
Husband & Father of 5 children
Donations can be made online, mail or phone.
9051 Watson Rd. Suite 165
St. Louis, MO 63126
+1 (314) 495-8593
© 2012 MONKROCK, LLC
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