The establishment of any Franciscan fraternity is proceeded by many years of prayer and hard work. It was in the early 1960’s when a few Secular Franciscans first gathered together in Southern Oregon. That initial group was not successful in sustaining a fraternity, however they planted the seeds that later became Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley (SFRV). Those of us who today are fraternity members are much indebted for the faith and communal life of these early members who huddled together in their Franciscan calling so that an approved fraternity in Southern Oregon could eventually be formed.
The formal request of the Provincial Executive Council of Our Lady of Angels in Western America attested to the viability of the newly emerging fraternity by Dorothy M. Palziniski, SFO (now recognized as OFS) on June 18, 1993. The Spiritual Assistant, Father Camillus MacRory, OFM Cap., was assigned to the newly emerging fraternity on October 4, 1993. The Permission of the Local Ordinary was granted for the fraternity to be established by William J. Levada on November 21, 1993. Finally, the Testimony of Establishment was signed by Father Brian McKenna OFM Cap. as our Friar Delegate declaring that Saint Francis of Assisi (now known as Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley) was a canonical fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order on April 21, 1994.
The earliest members of Saint Francis of Assisi Fraternity were Roy and Betty Ann Marlia, Raul and Mary Gulrich, Glenn and Gloria Ray, Lee and Jocelyn Pendergast, John and Patricia Preston, Paul and Elsie Williams, Florence Grimes, Laverne Henning and Herman Vogel, all professed Secular Franciscans. Of these faithful followers of Francis and Clare, four have met Sister Death, and several are no longer able to attend our fraternity gatherings due to health and mobility problems.
All of us who presently belong to Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley Fraternity, and all of those yet to hear the call, are eternally indebted to our Franciscan brothers and sisters who from the earliest days spent their time, talent and treasure to form a Franciscan community – not only in the Rogue Valley, but in the mentoring of the Brother Juniper Fraternity in Northern California – all to serve our Lord Jesus Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis.
The following photographs are some of the earliest in our archives. They reflect a sampling of our pioneering Secular Franciscan brothers and sisters.
Where ever there are Franciscans, there is guaranteed to be
lots of love, hugs, smiles and of course, food!
Below are some very special people in the hearts of all who have known them.
Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart,
And give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity,
Sense and knowledge, Lord,
That I may carry out your Holy and True command.
Saint Francis of Assisi