Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Initial Formation gathered virtually for a winter weekend with the focus on Healthy and Joyful Living of Celibacy. Arizona Temporary Professed Sister Mary Teresa Bettag and Sister Clare Rose Oswald entered the Zoom waiting room from Tucson, Arizona. Sister Cecilia Joy Kugel and Sister Colleen Demro signed in from their Wisconsin local missions of Kaukauna and Oshkosh. Sisters Concepcion Medina and Novices Sister Maria Guadalupe Martinez Lopez and Sister Mary Jane Schwartz linked in at the Motherhouse. The schedule included two speakers. Sister Marie Kolbe Zamora presented Friday evening on the topic of Celibacy from a Franciscan Perspective. Saturday, Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, was guest presenter from St. Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana. Brother addressed these topics: Living Celibacy: Healthy Interpersonal Boundaries, Living Celibacy: Coping With Attraction and Transforming Loneliness: Solitude as a Skill for Celibate Living. Brother John Mark did include some contemporary scenarios that brought his content to life and engendered some helpful discussions. He is author of How We Love: A Formation of the Celibate Life. Not to forget, Sister Theresa Feldkamp and Sister Kathleen Murphy added many niceties to the weekend to also make it especially memorable.
The Novices share their comments:
Although this year formation weekend was not face to face, it left a lasting impact on me. Sr. Marie Kolbe talked to us about chastity in the Franciscan perspective. She said, “Is the Living God the One to whom I speak and entrust every detail of my life?” I also liked it when she said, “Chastity is about the way we love. The way I love my Sisters is the same way that I love God.” The next day, Fr. John Mark talked to us about about boundaries, coping with attraction and solitude. My favorite topic was the one about solitude. He talked about the difference between loneliness vs. solitude. He talked about the loneliness that is feeling not known by anybody. He said, “No one knows us as completely as we desire. God knows me as completely as I desire.” He encouraged us to establish clearly designated times and places for solitude and recollection. I am glad I saw the Sisters in formation and that I heard they are doing great. It was a good experience. -Sister Maria Guadalupe
I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed the Formation Weekend. The topic of celibacy is something I am more cautious about, but both talks were incredibly enjoyable, and informative. My favorite part from Sister Marie Kolbe’s talk was when she discussed the need of having an interpersonal relationship with Jesus, and this was connected to not only times of prayer but every part of the day. Br. John Mark Falkenhain was also awesome. What I most appreciated about his talks on Celibacy is the way he engaged us in the different scenarios to demonstrate the importance of having healthy boundaries with others. Also I appreciated it when he told us that loneliness although it’s a part of living community life, it’s also a positive witness to the rest of the world. -Sister Mary Jane