December 1, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In Christmas we see the ineffable humility of God coming to us as a poor babe born among the poor in very earthy circumstances. We ponder Jesus’ mother Mary who was incredibly brave and trusting to leave her family and believe in action what the angel of God communicated to her. We see his foster father Joseph going against the prescribed norms of the culture when he married the pregnant Mary, who led his family on pilgrimage to find a birth place and then away from danger while he trusted God.
For Saint Francis, Christmas the incarnation of God, is the paramount feast. Emmanuel, God with us!
We might ponder….. How is God birthing in our lives? Do we trust God? Have we ever heard God? If God is so close to the poor and born poor himself, do we even know a poor person by name? In our efforts to “do good” have we been changed by kissing any leper in our lives? I ask these questions of myself and wonder if my lifestyle, while “religious” is quite comfortably so, and find that I have to admit resistance to being interiorly changed. I do not ask these questions to rob you or myself of spiritual joy. Like Mary and Joseph, we are in exile and on pilgrimage together and questions in preparation for Christmas are helpful and necessary.
At our October gathering we discussed where to find adult examinations of conscience and later in the news section you will find a good one put out by the U.S. Bishops’ website that is based upon Catholic social teaching. May God be birthed anew in our lives. “But blessed Christ never hardens the hearts of the faithful. On the contrary, He softens it, He says through the mouth of the prophet, ‘I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.'” (Saint Francis)
Thanks to all for their contributions and participation that made our Day of Recollection very meaningful. Thanks to Cecelia Rayburn OFS and Sol Krueger OFS who delighted us with the Geste of the Great King, from which we have been singing/chanting the Little Office of Saint Francis for some time now. We continue our studies with the book “What It Takes.” We look for ways to assist the farm workers and their families and hope to have wonderful Christmas baskets. We look to purchasing a goat from Heifer International and continue the ministries of our lives. We look to praying especially for a particular person until our Christmas party and sharing the gift that is the one we prayed for. We wish Saint Frances of Cabrini Fraternity in Tacoma all the blessings of God as they celebrate 100 years as a fraternity. We continue to pray for our members who are no longer with us due to illness or other reasons. We wish all a most holy and blessed Advent and Christmas most of all!
Though no Christmas verses by Saint Francis have come down to us, there is a beautiful “psalm” for Christmas Day at Vespers, composed by him partly from passages of Scripture. (A portion of it is translated by Father Paschal Robinson)
“Rejoice to God our helper,
Shout unto God, living and true with the voice of triumph.
For the Lord is high, terrible: A great King over all the earth.
For the most holy Father of heaven, Our King, before ages sent His
Beloved Son from on high,
and He was born of the Blessed Virgin, holy Mary.
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This is the day which the Lord hath made:
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
For the beloved and most holy Child has been given to us
And born for us by the wayside. And laid in a manger because He
had no room in the inn.
Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.”
Peace and All Good,
Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!
Michele Brodoski, OFS
A Special Gift of Thanks from Michele
Aside from the parish and community ministries that our people are involved with, as Minister I would like to publicly thank our active members who bring so much to all of us despite adversity/illness/challenges. For the little things that matter so much.
For Patricia Mihalic Doyle OFS (Spiritual Assistant in Training) whose open friendly spirit travels to us from Grants Pass, who always looks for ways to share, whose heart is especially in care for creation; for beautifully composing and leading intercessions at our gathering.
For Joanne Kraan OFS who travels all the way from Klamath Falls to be with us, who loves the Franciscan life but cannot always participate in everything, who is supportive and kind in her down-to-earth friendly way that is much appreciated.
For Anna Krueger OFS (Secretary) whose committed, generous spirit accomplishes so much that needs to be done; for her vision to look ahead, for sending greeting cards on behalf of our fraternity to the sick, for birthdays and professions and “just thinking of you” cards.
For Sol Krueger OFS (Formation Director) whose musical and contemplative spirit has been proactive in sharing much of what we use as our format for our gathering – enriching and binding us together, for his openness and ear for those who might be considering a vocation.
For Glenn Ray OFS (Spiritual Assistant) whose joyful presence shares life experience, leads blessings at all of our gatherings, and shares produce from his garden. At 91 may God keep him in good health!
For Gloria Ray OFS canner, baker, friend to everyone she meets sharing Franciscan joy, has a gift for making people feel comfortable, and who gives the proceeds from her autobiography to help the fraternity purchase wells in Viet Nam.
For Cecelia Rayburn OFS (Treasurer) who likes to golf but does not spend her retirement on the golf course very much as she is so busy with bringing communion and many other ministries, for quietly and lovingly making Franciscan Chaplet “rosaries” for all of us.
For Blanche Richman OFS flower and plant gardener who has been in charge of hospitality for a long time toting cups and coffee pot and goodies, whose generous spirit helps out whenever asked, for opening your house, our home for meetings.
For Debbie Wasche OFS (Vice Minister) whose compassionate spirit reminds us of what those on the margins might feel like, who attended the Annual Minister’s Meeting because the Minister could not attend and who is very supportive and kind in her Franciscan walk.
For Ralph Wasche OFS (Councilor) whose honesty in life experiences with the 12 step programs has enriched our discussions of living our Franciscan calling, for his willingness for his assumptions to be challenged.
For our non-active members, we miss you and pray for you at all times knowing your struggles, challenges and infirmities. Your love of God despite adversity shines into our hearts and calls us to walk the walk. Thanks be to God for you!
IN THANKSGIVING, GOD LOVE YOU ALL!
Winter Fraternity News
The highlight of the Fall season was our annual Day of Recollection held, as usual, at Suncrest Retreat in Talent and hosted by Sister Mary Pat Naumes, SNJM. The day was beautiful, both in regards to the weather and the spirit of the event. We were blessed by a mid-day trip to the Saint Mary’s high school chapel. Mary Pat kindly offered her time and expertise in introducing us to all aspects of the chapel history and construction. A wonderful communion service was given by Deacon Ron Filardi and we chanted the Little Office of Saint Francis. It was extremely uplifting. The chapel is simply beautiful. More photos of the day are in the “Photos” menu under Day of Recollection 2013.
The Christmas gathering will be held at the home of Blanche Richman and Michele Brodoski on Saturday, December 21 at 1 pm. This will take the place of our usual December Gathering on the third Sunday of the month. The regular Gathering time will resume in January at Sacred Heart Church. Instead of sharing material gifts, we are sharing prayers for one another. The money collected for material gifts will be used to purchase a goat through Heifer International for a needy family. This is our second year of purchasing a goat. We are also doing food baskets monthly for the Sacred Heart food bank as well as gathering food, clothing and household items for our “adopted” farm workers.
Several Fraternity members will be gathering in early December to make scarves for the homeless. Some cloth and some labor will provide scarves and then warmth during the upcoming cold season for those who lack proper housing. Anyone wishing to participate contact Anna Krueger.
The Gathering of Southern Oregon Secular Fraternities is planned for February. This year, instead of offering Fraternity presentations to guests, we intend to dialogue amongst ourselves to find a project that we can share. Our hope is to create a way of serving others as a collective of Seculars. Though we are of different calling – Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Benedictines, Carmelites – we are Catholic and each have chosen a way that sets us aside and demands greater service to the Church and social community that surrounds us.
Fr. John dePaemelaere, OFM sent a thank you note to Anna after receiving a card from our Fraternity. He said,
“Thank you for your card-note and for your continued prayers and thoughts. I do miss you wonderful people while serving as your Spiritual Assistant. But now it is full time working with five men in their discernment time to see if God is calling them to religious life. Living here in Santa Barbara since August is a great adjustment after 60 years of ministry in Oregon. Blessings to all.”
Centering Prayer Group
The Centering Prayer Group is still meeting on Sunday evenings at Sacred Heart Church in Medford. The group has been meeting for nearly two years! Most of the participants are Franciscan, however the group is open to all. For information, contact Sol Krueger.
We have begun our new Ongoing Formation book, “What It Takes.” The first two chapters brought about some good dialogue amongst our brothers and sisters. We will proceed with chapter 3 at the January Gathering, so don’t forget to read ahead and take a few notes!
Saint Francis and Christ Crucified carved from olive wood near Bethlehem
This olive wood carving of Saint Francis and Christ Crucified came from a Catholic artisan near Bethlehem and was purchased recently at Sacred Heart Church. This work of art was hand carved from a single piece of wood. The elderly man who does this particular carving is called Khader. He lives in Beit Sahour (The Shepherd Field). It is a town adjacent to Bethlehem. We were told that Khader only makes a few of these each year and that his eyesight is growing so weak that he may have to stop carving these beautiful works. We are blessed to have been able to purchase this carving and are pleased to be able to support the efforts of the gifted artisans in the Holy Land.
Examination Of Conscience In Light Of Catholic Social Teaching
Life and Dignity of the Human Person
•Do I respect the life and dignity of every human person from conception through natural death?
•Do I recognize the face of Christ reflected in all others around me whatever their race, class, age, or abilities?
•Do I work to protect the dignity of others when it is being threatened?
•Am I committed to both protecting human life and to ensuring that every human being is able to live in dignity?
Call to Family, Community, and Participation
•Do I try to make positive contributions in my family and in my community?
•Are my beliefs, attitudes, and choices such that they strengthen or undermine the institution of the family?
•Am I aware of problems facing my local community and involved in efforts to find solutions? Do I stay informed and make my voice heard when needed?
•Do I support the efforts of poor persons to work for change in their neighborhoods and communities? Do my attitudes and interactions empower or disempower others?
Rights and Responsibilities
•Do I recognize and respect the economic, social, political, and cultural rights of others?
•Do I live in material comfort and excess while remaining insensitive to the needs of others whose rights are unfulfilled?
•Do I take seriously my responsibility to ensure that the rights of persons in need are realized?
•Do I urge those in power to implement programs and policies that give priority to the human dignity and rights of all, especially the vulnerable?
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
•Do I give special attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable in my community and in the world?
•Am I disproportionately concerned for my own good at the expense of others?
•Do I engage in service and advocacy work that protects the dignity of poor and vulnerable persons?
The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
•As a worker, do I give my employer a fair day’s work for my wages? As an owner, do I treat workers fairly?
•Do I treat all workers with whom I interact with respect, no matter their position or class?
•Do I support the rights of all workers to adequate wages, health insurance, vacation and sick leave? Do I affirm their right to form or join unions or worker associations?
•Do my purchasing choices take into account the hands involved in the production of what I buy? When possible, do I buy products produced by workers whose rights and dignity were respected?
•Does the way I spend my time reflect a genuine concern for others?
•Is solidarity incorporated into my prayer and spirituality? Do I lift up vulnerable people throughout the world in my prayer, or is it reserved for only my personal concerns?
•Am I attentive only to my local neighbors or also those across the globe?
•Do I see all members of the human family as my brothers and sisters?
Care for God’s Creation
•Do I live out my responsibility to care for God’s creation?
•Do I see my care for creation as connected to my concern for poor persons, who are most at risk from environment problems?
•Do I litter? Live wastefully? Use energy too freely? Are there ways I could reduce consumption in my life?
•Are there ways I could change my daily practices and those of my family, school, workplace, or community to better conserve the earth’s resources for future generations?
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is not the elimination of imperfection,
as we think.
Divine perfection is,
the ability to recognize,
and include imperfection!
Just as God does with all of us.“
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Lord Hear Our Prayer…………
Please continue to pray for Carol Pyle. Since she can’t be with us in community it is very important that we uplift her with our prayer. Also pray for Patricia Doyle, Glenn Ray and Cecelia Rayburn as they recover from their operations and/or injuries. And pray for those who, for reasons of health or personal choice, have been separated from our Fraternity.
“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish and having ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win over some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them.”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Pope Francis, a man of many hats!
And many noses!
Vietnam Wells Project
Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley works with Food for the Poor to help provide water wells to villages in Vietnam. Most villages do not have access to good water and often have to walk miles to gain access and then carry the water home. Having a well in the village supports a healthier lifestyle. At present, the cost of a single well is $100. We recently added one more well, which means that as of December 1, 2013 we have given enough to provide for 62 wells.
SFRV Treasurer’s Report
As of October 31, 2013
Gathering Fund is $537.18
Fair Share is $300
Well Fund is $136.38
SFRV Fraternity Members Birthdays
3 Florence Grimes, OFS
7 Cecelia Rayburn, OFS
SFRV Fraternity Members Profession Anniversaries
Mary Gulrich, OFS (February 1, 1961)
Blanche Richman, OFS (February 1, 1966)
Franciscan Calendar, USA
8 Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Franciscan Patron and Queen
12 Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron and Queen of the Americas
15 Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, virgin, III Order
1 Solemnity of the Mother of God
3 Holy Name of Jesus
7 Blessed Angela of Foligno, religious, III Order
12 Blessed Bernard of Corleone, religious, I Order
14 Blessed Odoric of Pordenone, priest, I Order
16 Saints Berard, priest, and companions, protomartyrs, I Order
24 Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, doctor, Cord-bearer of Saint Francis
27 Saint Angela Merici, virgin of III Order
30 Saint Hyacinth of Mariscotti, virgin III Order
31 Saint John Bosco, priest, III Order
4 Saint Joseph of Leonissa, Priest, I Order
6 Saints Peter Baptist, Paul Miki and companions, martyrs, I and III Orders
7 Saint Colette, virgin, II Order
10 Saint Conrad of Piacenze, hermit, III Order