From the Minister
Maybe I am not so different from most people, but try as I may, I am guilty of enjoying many a sermon, while forgetting most of it after the initial hearing wears off. Does anyone else suffer from this type of short-term memory loss? Still, we try to remember and pray that through grace a kind of Holy Spirit osmosis takes place….
Surprisingly sometimes sermons do stick with me, however. A few weeks ago our Pastor, Fr. Ken Sampson, was expounding on a passage in Acts of the Apostles that talked about reminding the people to “persevere”. He mentioned something that many of you probably know, but I did not, that the more correct translation is to “encourage”, the French word that can literally mean “put in – heart”. To put heart into (someone/situation).
With the passing of Deacon Tom Bello, OFS, Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan, and Franciscan nun Mother Angelica – all who had lives larger than themselves, I have had to reconsider “where do I serve and encourage?” As Kierkegaard said, “we are not called to be admirers but followers” and we can be in illusion that we are living the Way by going to meeting after meeting. In these beautiful end of spring/summer days I ponder how we are encouraging servant leadership and ministry to the people of God in our own times. We are not social workers but work in the field of community. And we are heartened by all the ministries of our brothers and sisters. Still, where are we being called to divest in order to be freer to serve? When Lady Poverty asks something of us we don’t want to turn away sad or numb!
Francis had a difficult time being in administration of his growing Order, and preferred “to put in heart”, to live/model the way of life as a means to encourage his brothers and sisters, in his time and now, to live the Gospel life. Guided by the Holy Spirit and thanks to Francis and Clare, we have our common life together and our Rule to help and encourage us, to supplant our negativity/paralysis with the joy of the Gospel. Service and Franciscan courtesy go a long way to help give heart to one another.
Entering again into Ordinary time, we pray for a portion of the spirit of those who have lived lives larger than themselves. And we are drawn to the most precious of all gifts given us, the Holy Eucharist, keeping us connected in life and death encouraging us to become what we eat. Francis was so concerned about honoring the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord that he exhorted in writing on many occasions that the linens and chalices were to be kept clean and in good order.
The Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ is May 29th.
To keep us encouraged, our fraternity’s ongoing formation time has been spent reading/discussing a hard-to-find gem of a book titled This Living Mirror, Reflections on Clare of Assisi by Sister Frances Teresa, OSC. It was found by mistake. One of our members who passed on to new life last year, Florence Grimes, OFS had a few Franciscan items that her family put in a box and donated to us. Our Vice-Minister, Debbie Wasche, OFS read it and recommended it to us. Further down our members will be sharing some of their favorite parts of the book. We hope you enjoy and are encouraged too!
With upbeating hearts we wish everyone a wonderful summer!
Peace and Every Good,
michele brodoski, ofs
Lord Hear Our Prayer
For our Holy Father Pope Francis, his intentions and his faithful fruitfulness
For the repose of the soul of DeaconTom Bello, OFS and his family
For the repose of the soul of Carol Pyle, OFS and her family
For our Franciscan family as well as our birth families
For all who suffer in mind, body or spirit, and for an outpouring of love and support
For Mary Gulrich, OFS
For Glenn and Gloria Ray, OFS
For Lois McWhorter who begins her Franciscan journey with us
For simple, joyful, dedicated lives
For all the exploited – humans and the earth – that all Franciscans strive to live in Universal Kinship
For the victims of natural disasters, especially in Ecuador and the USA’s south
For a fruitful AMM in June
For the intercession of Sts. Anthony of Padua, Maximillian Kolbe and Clare who we celebrate in this cycle
For the success of the movie on Francis and the Sultan and conversion of hearts
Our Sister Carol Pyle, OFS (with the tie-dyed t-shirt) passed over to new life on January 17, 2016. She suffered with cancer but was such a role model for us all in that she truly lived day-to-day with what the Good Lord presented her. Because she lived so far from us, the last few years we were usually only together on our Day of Recollection each year. Our hope was to get over the mountain to see her but due to inclement weather this winter, it was not possible. Fraternity members made phone calls and sent cards to keep connected. Carol, while remembered for many things, will be remembered and missed for the thousands of rosaries she literally made for the service men and women and for the parishes, especially Legion of Mary. RIP dear sister.
Happy 50th OFS to Blanche Richman!
On February 24, 1966, Blanche was professed in Union City, CA by Fr. Leonard Herzberg, OFM. For us Blanche formerly served as Councilor, and now as our hospitality person toting coffee pots and all the goodies needed for our functions.
Thank you and congratulations Blanche!
Cecelia Rayburn, OFS, pictured on left with OFS sisters Debbie Wasche and Patricia Mihalic Doyle
For five years Cecelia has done the work and been at council meetings and fraternity gatherings as our Treasurer. Until someone has done the work they cannot appreciate what goes into the “job” to do it well. We are so grateful to Cecelia for giving of her time, talent and treasure! She’s not going anywhere, so we will still see her at least at our gatherings. Thank you so much Cecelia!
Monthly donations: Please remember to bring Costco brand HE laundry detergent, combs, brushes, shampoo and conditioner for the Urban Rest Stop at St. Vincent de Paul.
We still continue to collect for the Food Bank as well
This year is the National Park Service Centenary. In late April Tom and I have been able to watch PBS and learn, or refresh ourselves with, the history of our national parks and monuments. The parks’ slogan in the series is: Our National Parks, America’s Best Idea. The series is by Ken Burns. I hope you have been able to enjoy the series, too. If not check out pbs.org, or there is a set of DVD’s available.
I am amazed at how many sensitive, dedicated people cared for the beauty of our country, and found ways to get involved and make significant contributions to protect it for us and future generations. Many of them are very familiar (John Muir, Ansel Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold) but many more, less so. They include our presidents, conservation leaders, photographers, artists, philanthropists, politicians and many others. Many of them had long, drawn-out legal battles on their hands.
It was repeated many times that the parks were created FOR EVERYONE, not just for the rich and famous to enjoy.
Last year I joined NPCA – National Parks Conservation Association, Wash. D.C. with a very modest donation. Still, I feel connected to the spirit of all those amazing people. At this time of Earth Day, for me, the PBS series was very special.
I brought out my booklet of many black-and-white photos by Ansel Adams to look at again. My favorite is always Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite.
Seniors, 62 or older – You can pay a small fee once and be a lifetime holder of The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which gives you free vehicle entrance (sometimes discounted), and allows you to avoid if per-person fees are charged, and to bring 3 others, even non-seniors, with you. The last time Tom and I visited Crater Lake I was happy I was able to remember we were pass holders AND to produce the pass from my wallet!
We have Crater Lake 100 miles from our house. I really miss Yosemite. I’d love to see Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, The Grand Canyon, on and on across our United States! My young grandsons have been to The Grand Canyon with their parents already.
How about a visit this year to a National Park?!
Good News From Our Larger Franciscan Family!
FAN is supporting a movie about Francis and the Sultan
(submitted to our Region by Dan Mulholland, OFS Regional Councilor)
ONGOING FORMATION – favorite passages from This Living Mirror as mentioned above
I was very moved by last month’s chapter assignment in our current Formation book. “The Holy Exchange of St. Francis and Lady Poverty” really struck a chord deep within me and while challenging, it was also comforting. Like Clare, we have come to realize that Francis’ Way to God is through the imitation of Christ. St. Francis sought out Lady Poverty in his effort to strip himself of all the clutter and obstacles that were keeping him from God. Yet, no matter the degree of difficulty in scaling the mountains between Francis and Lady Poverty, his efforts were met with shouts, challenges, insults and advice from her. For me, Lady Poverty’s behaviors were, at first, incomprehensible. Wasn’t she supposed to be cheering on her Knight and encouraging him in his ascent towards her?
As I read on, the author revealed that Lady Poverty’s actions were actually acting as a mirror for Francis, allowing him to see the failings and vanities of the human heart. It is in her words that Francis is able to begin divesting himself of all the useless and vain junk he has amassed in his life over time. Further into the chapter we also encounter the three rivals, Lady Avarice, Lady Providence, and Lady Procrastination. Here is where I truly found myself standing in front of the mirror! I realized with a start that from these three Ladies oozed deceptive messages which often seep into my own best intentions. With Lady Avarice, the message of discretion guiding us to ensure our own needs are met before we begin to be generous with others. Lady Providence advises us to seize the initiative to take what we can as opportunities appear, then once we’ve got what we need, we can begin to look after the needs of others. Finally Lady Procrastination and her message of putting things off till tomorrow. In just this one short chapter, I found myself spiraling deeper and deeper into reflection upon my own “best” intentions and thus began recognizing the siren call of these Ladies in my life.
Fortunately, the author tosses us a life ring with a passage from St. Clare, “His resources are the stronger, his generosity of a more heavenly kind, his appearance is more beautiful, his love more tender, more attractive his every grace.” In those words, the author provides us with the comforting knowledge that Christ’s beauty is more attractive and powerful, to us who seek him, than all else. It is that beauty of the Beloved that will help give us the strength to overcome the lure of the Ladies Avarice, Providence and Procrastination. He will call us to him and be that beacon upon which we set our course.
Wow, what a powerful chapter! The book, This Living Mirror, has definitely been one of the more inspiring and instructive books in my Franciscan formation. I find that I can’t wait for our next discussion!
From Lois Whorter our newest sister beginning Orientation. We are so happy for her and us! She shares: I love the opening up of why Clare (and Francis) so desired poverty. The author pointed out that poverty alone, as deprivation, wasn’t the ideal.
“In a world where there is a poverty which is obviously bad, unjust and exploitative, The Lady Poverty stands for totally self-giving generosity, and indicates that the solution to this negative form of poverty is not that we all become rich, but that we all become generous.”… the author goes on… “Clare’s advice, to focus on what we have already been given, not on what we might grasp, is especially good because it returns us to our true condition of being mendicants, that is pilgrims who wait on God’s goodness. She reminds us that all the desires of our spirit find a focus on God. ‘May he to whom you are devoted with all the desire of your mind deign to pour out on you the reward you long for.’… Clare and Francis didn’t attract people because of their poverty but because people saw that even in their poverty, they had no needs – God was enough. Lois: To me that says it is not a matter of seeking either poverty or riches but seeking to understand what stands between me and God, and seeking to understand what brings me closer to God.
From Ralph Wasche, OFS (Formation Director) on Clare resisting her family: “It was and is essential that this particular spiritual battle be fought in terms of non-violence in her heart, no matter how violent the opposition. Otherwise the violence in her heart, or our hearts, would have been a Trojan horse for the family, an enemy within fighting on their side. As these days of conflict continued, Clare learnt a great deal about the chain reactions of violence, and how aggression in ourselves is released by aggression in others, and it seems that in time she uprooted all violence form her heart until that of others had no power against her. As the Baal Shem said, we recognize violence because it is alive within us. We see without what we are within and the sin we see around us. We see undeniable evidence that we ourselves are sinners. If we were sinless, we would see no sin, though we might see wounds. If we were sinless, evil would have no part in us, no confederate within our camp. If we were sinless, while evil might damage the body of flesh, it would still leave our essential being pregnant with resurrection because the integrated heart cannot be touched by any violence; but such battles are not won in a single skirmish. The fact that so many of Clare’s sisters spoke of her gentleness and serenity, strongly suggests that these were not just gifts of nature but the result of hard work. However remarkable she became, Clare is always one of us.”
From Debbie Wasche, OFS (Vice Minister) “If we follow Clare’s advice, we will come to see that poverty is not primarily concerned with economics but with the heart. It is freedom from the treadmill of self-centeredness… Freedom of Spirit is a sign which we all understand, a clear indication that here is someone on the way to the Kingdom. Freedom is the language of the Kingdom because it means we are ready to hear the Word of God and keep it, and then we are like Isaiah who found that the more he listened to God, the more God seemed to be speaking to him. ‘Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple… and I made no resistance, neither did I turn away’ (Isaiah 50:4,5). It is keeping the Word of God which makes us free, a paradox incomprehensible to our libertarian culture. Francis pointed out that Adam could have eaten from any tree in Paradise (God’s word to him) except one, which instantly became the only one he wanted. Because he insisted on his own way, he set in motion patterns of imprisonment which we all know only too well. We are too like the churning wheels of a car, making the rut deeper for each other, generation after generation. Francis maintained that disobedience is a moral expression of something which shows itself materially as greed. In our greed, we want to have good things for ourselves and security for tomorrow, because we are not sure about the Lord. Our disobedience is that we want control – the one thing for which we are not fitted, so we worry about the future in spite of the Lord’s dry comment that today usually has enough worries to be going on with. We long to know how God is going to run things, especially us and we are always seduced by the chance of knowledge about what will hit us next, what will be good and what evil. That is like a bite taken from the fruit of the tree of knowledge; yet chewing that bite is so against our true nature that it instantly becomes a poisonous fruit for us, destroying our freedom and bringing disaster. We think of Macbeth in the inaccurate and powerful way that Shakespeare portrayed him, ineluctably drawn to the kingship because it had been prophesied, and seeing that as justifying all the corpses littering his way to the throne. Our dilemma is that, while goodness is simple, badness is easy and we want both. No wonder our spiritual technology is so primitive when we spend our lives rediscovering the wheel; yet any acorn knows how to roll downhill. Most of us could learn wisdom from that acorn.”
From Patricia Mihalic Doyle, OFS (SA in study)
My favorite idea of This Living Mirror
CLARE on PRAYER (Caps Patricia’s emphasis)
“When Clare taught her sisters about prayer, she taught them always to keep in touch with that tender and compassionate heart of Christ, showing them how ‘to grow warm again through the exercise of prayer, and leave the listlessness of not caring, to commit their cold lack of devotion to the flames of holy love’. Clare taught her novices, and teaches us in the process, that we can throw that particular bit of rubbish (listlessness) into THE FURNACE OF CHRIST’S LOVE. As a cure, it is brilliant because it does not require us to ’snap out of it’ – by definition impossible but simply says that there is this FURNACE where our listlessness is like snow in the boiler room. We do not have to do anything except be near the FURNACE. That is the exercise: to go near the FURNACE, to BE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE POOR, CRUCIFIED ONE. She makes no requirements of ‘success’ in prayer, only that we perform the exercise. Inevitably we shall grow warm if we stand near that compassionate FURNACE for long, and in time spontaneous combustion will take place, we will catch fire from His burning longing.”
For Fun – The Dancing Seminarians
SFRV Treasurer’s Report
As of May 2016Gathering Fund is $502.92
Fair Share is $0
Well Fund is $81.38 towards well #66
Heifer International Fund is $0 SFRV Fraternity Members Birthdays
4 Gloria Ray OFS
7 Joanne Kraan OFS
SFRV Fraternity Members Profession Date
Patricia Mihalic Doyle OFS (1984)
Cecilia Rayburn OFS (1968)
Catherine Paradis OFS (1968)
Franciscan Calendar, USA
12 Bl Jolenta, religious of II Order
13 St Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of I Order
22 St Thomas More, martyr of the III Order
30 Bl Raymond Lull, martyr of III Order
8 Bl Gregory Grassi, bishop, and companions, martyrs of I and III Order
9 St Nicholas Pick, priest, and companions, martyrs of I Order
10 St Veronica Giuliani, vigin of II Order
12 Sts John Jones and John Wall, priests and martyrs of I Order
13 Bl Angeline of Marsciano, religious of III Order
14 St Francis Solano, priest of I Order
15 St Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of I Order
21 St Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of I Order
23 Bl Cunegunda, religious of II Order
23 St Bridget, widow of III Order
24 Bl Louise of Savoy, religious of II Order
27 Bl Mary Magdalene of Martinegro, virgin of II Order
2 Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula
4 St John Baptist Mary Vianney, priest of III Order
7 Bls Agathangelus and Cassian, priests and martyrs of I Order
8 Holy Father Dominic, priest, founder of the Order of Preachers
11 St Clare of Assisi, virgin of II Order
14 St Maximilian Kolbe, priest of I Order
17 St Roch, member of III Order
19 St Louis, bishop of I Order
21 St Pius X, pope, member of III Order
25 St Louis IX, king, member and patron of III Order
St. Francis, St. Clare:
Pray for us!