Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity were invited for the recent second annual San Lucia Vocations Event for the Diocese of Madison. The Eucharist was the immediate focus of the candlelit evening inthe Oratory at Holy Name Heights (702 S. High Point Road, Madison). Bishop Donald Hying presided at the liturgy with Vocation Director Father Jared Holzhuter. Hostess Theresa Klinkhammer invited all guests including young women in discernment from ages 14-35, mothers of daughters present, Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (ssfpa.org), Sisters of Mary Morning Star, a consecrated virgin, Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary and us to head downstairs to the upper room for a barbecue dinner following Mass.
After mealtime and conversation, our Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy, whose home is the Diocese of Madison St. Mary Help of Christians Parish, Briggsville, Wisconsin,, and other representatives, shared remarks with the group. We share Sister Kathleen’s comments here.
“The celebration of Santa Lucia day around the world features the wreath of candles worn by girls. In reflecting on this Saintly symbol, the idea of considering the “shape of discernment”seemed proper. Sometimes we have our life planned out along a neatly marked and dated timeline. Then God says to us, “Let’s just slide all these benchmarks of yours off the line and let me turn things around for you.” Then he forms that line of ours into a circle—an infinite, eternal circle that speaks of His will for us. The main part of that circle is the empty space in the middle. It is here, in this seeming emptiness that we meet and come to know God and His will.
Another shape to consider is the square—a solid, foundational shape. It’s four corners are good reminders of our Community’s four cornerstones or charisms. The first is simplicity firmly built on faith in a loving God. Franciscan simplicity doesn’t mean dancing down the roads of life, carefree and barefoot like some images of St. Francis. Simplicity built on faith means that we laser focused on our God whose love for us leads us to be faithful to Him. The second charism is joyful acceptance of poverty with an emphasis on joyful. Poverty isn’t so much doing without as it is joyfully holding what we have with a loose grip. If what I have would help you, then I am happy to give it to you. The third charism is love for the Church. Church is not so much a building or an institution, but rather, a community of faith and mutual support. As Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity we not only respect and obey the leaders of the Church, but we live in community as a sign of what the Church is called to be. Finally, the last charism is selfless dedication to the service of others. Central to understanding this charism is the element of selflessness. What we do, how we minister is not so much about me, my plans or my success. It is all about Christ present in the needs of those I encounter.
If we, as Franciscan Sisters, place our lives and very beings squarely on living these charisms then God can turn that square just a bit and form us into diamonds!”
Our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity gift to the young women included a poem to San Lucia and a ribbon wreath of joy. Here’s the poem to San Lucia.
San Lucia Discernment Prayer
Crowned with a circle aglow.
Women shining with the Light who comes,
Comes in Word, in silence,
He circles round us, circles with us,
rounds out our thoughts
with His Spirit of Wisdom.
May circles lead us eternally
around His Presence
spiraling ever deeper within.
Wear this circle of braid as reminder
that you are called to be entwined
in the circle of His Light and love.