Franciscan Sisters Cheer for Bishop Rosecrans Basketball Team

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, wherever they are, are often found on the bench cheering their students in sports. It is part of showing interest in their lives and for families in the parish, but is also a love of the game. At this time of the year, it makes for great winter recreation.

One team that Cambridge, Ohio St. Benedict’s Convent Sisters are following are the boys’ basketball games at Bishop Rosecrans High School in Zanesville, Ohio.

What makes it especially fun this year is that there are three starters on the varsity team who previously attended St. Benedict Catholic School, Cambridge, Ohio.  It’s a great opportunity to show support and it allows for visiting time with all members of the family. Conversations are ever precious.

Franciscan Sisters Charism Part 3 Conclusion Podcast

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity invite you to view a brief concluding video in our Charism series.

Click here to watch the video. We appreciate your interest in our charism and Franciscan Life fully lived. If you’d like to learn more about how and where and why we serve in Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Mississippi and Missouri, please visit us at https://fscc-calledtobe.org

The World Needs You. God Calls You. We Invite You

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Sixth Week in Ordinary Time 2019

On this Sixth Week of Ordinary Time, we share a Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection February 17 2019 copy. Excerpts are from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.

Photos: St. Thomas Indian Mission Church, Winterhaven, California

Luke 6:17, 20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.

And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.  Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.  Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.  Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep.  Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

Background

Last Sunday’s Gospel ended with Jesus telling Simon Peter, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Then Luke states that Simon Peter, James, and John left their boats and all their possessions and followed Jesus. (Luke 5:10-11) Following this, Luke recounts Jesus healing a leper and then a paralytic. Jesus’ first response to the paralytic was to forgive his sins, but the scribes and Pharisees objected because they believed that only God could forgive sins. To show them that he did have the power to forgive sins, he then cured the paralytic. Luke then recounts Jesus’ invitation to the tax collector Levi to become his follower. Again, the Pharisees objected. This time it was because Jesus was eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. Further questions led to Jesus teaching why it was inappropriate for his disciples to fast, and explaining their non-observance of the traditional dietary laws. Luke tells of Jesus going into the synagogue on a Sabbath where he encountered a man with a withered hand. Even though it was the Sabbath, Jesus cured him. The Pharisees began to discuss what they should do about Jesus. For his part, Jesus went to the mountains to spend the night in prayer. When morning arrived, he named the twelve who would become apostles. With the newly named apostles, Jesus joined a large crowd of disciples and a great crowd of others who came to hear him teach and to be cured. This is the beginning of the gospel text for this Sunday. In the verses that are omitted from the text for this Sunday, Luke describes Jesus curing those who had gathered:

They came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all. (Luke 6:18-19)

This text has been referred to as the “sermon on the plain,” and it is sometimes compared to Matthew’s “sermon on the mount.” (Matt 5: 1-7, 27). Matthew’s text contains nine statements of blessing but no statements of woe. Matthew also puts a spiritual slant on some of his statements. For example, Matt 5:3 and 5:6 state: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”

Luke portrays Jesus as addressing the harsh reality of the poor of his day. But we should not read Luke from the perspective of our own worldview, because Luke’s community understood the world differently. To them, everything was limited: livestock and food, as well as friendship, love, and honor. Those limits were set in place by God. Because there was a limited amount of all things in the world, those who had abundance had a responsibility to share with those who were in want. This would not only have been true for material possessions, but for the intangibles like honor as well. The most important commodity in their society was relationship. A widow who may have had a great deal of property but no husband or adult son to represent her in society was still considered to be poor and without status.

Reflection Questions

1.     As you hear Luke describe those who have come to hear Jesus this day, you…

2.     How do you experience the importance these people place on relationship?

3.     What comes to your mind when you think of the poor, the hungry, those who are in mourning, and those who are hated?

4.     When Jesus describes them as blessed…

5.     When Jesus says woe to you who are rich… woe to you who are filled now… woe to you who laugh now… woe to you when they speak well of you…

6.     Can you take some time now to talk with God honestly about whatever arose within you as you read this gospel text?

Franciscan Sister Reflects on St. Louis Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is sharing a video on our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity who offer a welcoming presence to those working to end abortion. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson states that “This Convent is a powerful witness, directly across the street from the city’s abortion clinic in the Central West End in the city of St. Louis.”

Sister Sue Ann Hall and Sister Delores Vogt are featured in the youttube video below. Please join us in prayer for this work of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

 

Franciscan Sisters February Favorite: Song of Bernadette by Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen

On the Franciscan calendar all feasts of our Blessed Virgin Mary are ours to celebrate. As we near the day set aside to remember the significance of Our Lady of Lourdes, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight the beautiful Song of Bernadette, one of our favorite hymns created with the collaborative energies of Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen.

This hymn of exquisite melody and meaningful lyrics is truly our February favorite. Bernadette, a young maiden who truly believes in the beautiful lady who comes to her so that many souls are healed through her son Jesus, is humbly portrayed.

Jennifer, singer, songwriter and recording artist reflects:
I was given the name Bernadette at birth. But my siblings preferred the name “Jennifer” so my name was changed one week later. In 1979, on tour in the south of France with Leonard Cohen, I began writing a series of letters between the “Bernadette” I almost was, and “Jennifer”–two energies within me. One innocent, and the other who had fallen for the world.
The letters were just an experiment: “Dear Bernadette, I’m so lost right now.” “Hello dear Jennifer, don’t worry, I’m here, and it’s gonna be okay.”
I showed Leonard my letters to which he replied, “There’s a song in here…just start at the beginning…”There was a child named Bernadette, I heard the story long ago…and then keep going….”
So the song arose in a bus nearby Lourdes. I was admiring Bernadette’s countryside from the bus window, thinking about the great Saint who held her ground so well, and was not swayed from what she knew to be true.
But the song is also about me longing to return to a place that was more pure, honest and true. I still long for this, and I think others do too.
Website
Purchase music here.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Fifth Week in Ordinary Time 2019

On this Fifth Week of Ordinary Time, we share a Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions taking place by a lake  written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection February 10 2019. Excerpts are from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.

Photos: fishing shanty on Silver Lake near Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Motherhouse

Luke 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Background

The text for last Sunday’s gospel ended with the people of Nazareth wanting to throw Jesus headlong over the hill on which their town had been built. (4:29-30) In the remaining verses of that chapter, Luke describes Jesus’ visit to Capernaum, where he cures a man possessed by a demon. His teaching astonishes the people, because he speaks with authority. Jesus then goes to Simon’s house and cures Simon’s mother-in-law. After sunset, with the Sabbath officially over, people bring their sick for him to cure. Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus leaves Capernaum and seeks out a deserted place. The crowds find him and try to prevent him from leaving. In Mark’s gospel, Peter is the one who tries to prevent Jesus from leaving (Mark 1:36-37). As Luke describes the incident, it is the people themselves who ask Jesus not to leave. This small shift avoids having Peter in the difficult position of trying to prevent Jesus from doing what he knows he must do.

Matthew also, as well as Mark, records this event in Jesus’ ministry. Both of them place it at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, right after Jesus returns from the desert (Matt 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20). They also report that Simon’s brother Andrew was also in the boat–a detail that Luke omits. Luke’s description places the emphasis on Peter’s unique relationship with Jesus.

Luke’s account also makes more intelligible the response of Peter, James, and John to Jesus’ invitation to leave their way of life to become fishers of men. For these early disciples to leave their families, professions, and property to become disciples of Jesus would have amounted to a total disregard for their responsibilities as men of the day for the protection and survival of their families. While such a total commitment might play well in a Hollywood movie, it would be scandalous to the values of the day. Matthew’s and Mark’s descriptions, at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, suggest that the disciples had little or no prior exposure to Jesus and his teaching before they became followers. Luke’s placement of this story within his gospel indicates that Peter had prior personal experience of Jesus, teaching in the synagogue and healing his own mother-in-law and others. And in this text Peter also experiences Jesus as one who can bring about a catch of fish that leaves Peter speechless.

We bring our focus now back to the account in Luke that is our gospel text for Sunday. Gennesaret is in a fertile area near the northern part of the Sea of Galilee. Night fishing is there known to yield great catches. Throughout most of the text, Peter is referred to by his Jewish name, Simon. The exception is verse 8, when he realizes the size of the catch of fish and attributes it to divine power of God working through Jesus. All Peter can do is kneel before Jesus and ask him to depart. Such a gesture is very meaningful in this culture. Jesus is someone who has abilities that Peter does not. Being a disciple of Jesus requires personal sacrifice. Here Jesus calls him “Simon-Peter,” both his Jewish name and the name that Jesus will give him later in the text when Jesus names his apostles (Luke 6:14).

There is likewise a shift in how Simon addresses Jesus in the text. When Jesus asks Simon to put out into the water and lower his net, Simon calls Jesus “Master” or “Rabbi.” After the experience of the catch of fish, Peter refers to Jesus as “Lord.” All those present, not just Peter, recognize the manifestation of divine power in what has taken place. They are filled with astonishment and fear, the typical response to the near presence of God. Jesus reassures them with the exhortation, “Do not be afraid!” (v. 10) Usually when people are reassured with the greeting, “Do not be afraid,” it signals more than reassurance. God is commissioning those involved in the encounter. God has not acted in an extraordinary way just to brighten the day for some weary fishermen. In the second part of verse 10, Jesus tells Simon, James, and John that from now on they will be fishers of men. Luke indicates that the commissioning extends beyond James and John by stating that they left their boats and they followed Jesus.

Reflection Questions

1. Have you ever chosen to leave a secure relationship or good job? What did it take for you to leave the situation and move on? How difficult was it?
2. What might have been Peter’s state of mind and body as he sat cleaning his nets, listening to Jesus?
3. What are some of the possible responses Peter could have given to Jesus’ request to lower his nets?
4. Peter understood the catch of fish as a sign of God acting in his life. What are some of the factors in this incident that helped Peter see the presence of God at work at this moment in his life?
5. Are there times in your life where you believe that the presence of God was at work in powerful ways in your own life? Are there any parallels from your experience to what is recorded here in this incident?
6. Jesus reassures Peter, “Do not be afraid.” What kind of fear do you think Peter was experiencing?
7. Do you ever feel like you are looking for the “boatload of fish” rather than the overwhelming presence of God?
8. Have you ever had an experience that left you feeling like Simon when he told Jesus, “Get away from me for I am sinful?” Do you desire an experience of God’s closeness in your life? Do you think you are ready to deal with the consequences of such an experience?
9. Would this account have been written if Peter and the others had thanked Jesus profusely, shared some of their fish with the needy of their community, and told the story at every family gathering, but continued for the rest of their lives to be fishermen?
10. What is the good news for you in this text?

Franciscan Sister Walks for Life in Nebraska

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Rochelle Kerkhof and several students and adults from the Southwestern Grant Deanery traveled five hours to attend the Nebraska Walk for Life. An estimated  4, 000 people were gathered in Lincoln on Saturday, January 26. On Friday evening, prior to event, hospitality was provided by the parents of Rev. Lothar Gilde, Pastor of St. Patrick’s, Imperial.

“The Walk for Life is the largest, longest-running First Amendment demonstration in the state, and I expect that will always continue, until we win this battle one day,” said Sandy Danek, president of Nebraska Right to Life and one of the event’s organizers. The crowd were vigilant and respectful, hopeful for change in our country at large.

 

Discernment Retreats 2019 for Young Adult Catholic Women

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity offer young adult Catholic women discerning a consecrated life calling to customize a retreat experience or vocation visit for their own needs in Winter or Spring 2019.

Click here to watch the video. If you have questions regarding an experience, call or text Sister Julie at 920-323-9632. To learn more, click here.

Here’s a small part of the parchment St. Francis gave to Brother Leo on Mount LaVerna entitled The Praises of God. It is a perfect Franciscan discernment prayer as you contemplate coming

You are love, charity; You are wisdom, You are humility, You are patience, You are beauty, You are meekness, You are security, You are rest, You are gladness and joy, You are our hope, You are justice, You are moderation, You are all our riches to sufficiency.

 

Franciscan Sister Inducted to the Order of the Fleur de Lis Hall of Fame

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are proud to congratulate Sister Laura Wolf who was inducted to the Order of the Fleur de Lis Hall of Fame at the University of St. Louis Law School. Other inductees included Jack Boese ‘72 and Hon. Michael Wolff.

 

The SLU LAW Order of the Fleur de Lis Hall of Fame is the highest honor from Saint Louis University School of Law. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Saint Louis University’s mission is the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity.

The University seeks excellence in the fulfillment of its corporate purposes of teaching, research, health care and service to the community. It is dedicated to leadership in the continuing quest for understanding of God’s creation and for the discovery, dissemination and integration of the values, knowledge and skills required to transform society in the spirit of the Gospels. This pursuit is motivated by the inspiration and values of the Judeo-Christian tradition and is guided by the spiritual and intellectual ideals of the Society of Jesus.

Sister Laura served as president of the Manitowoc, Wis.-based Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries, Inc. (FSCCM) until recently.  She is widely recognized by bishops, fellow women and men religious, and lay leaders throughout Catholic health care and higher education for her consistency and courage in calling to the table the hard, vexing questions that face the church’s ministries.

She has demonstrated a gift for framing these questions in a way which brings people together around the common goal of service to these ministries and the people who depend upon them. She holds a joint degree in law and health administration from St. Louis University.


Just Gospel: Called to Follow Mary’s Example Part II

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy continues her reflection on Pope Francis’ monthly intention.

Yet so many young people are surviving in unjust societies. They lack education, support and opportunities for their futures. The Holy Father warns us to avoid becoming a “single-issue Christian”, but to prefer the stance of a whole-hearted follower of the Lord who seeks out a Gospel justice in every situation. He writes, “We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in our world. We often hear it said that the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us?”

In closing his document, Pope Francis again turns to Mary. We join him at her feet as we consider his words, “She is that woman who rejoiced in the presence of God, who treasured everything in her heart, and who let herself be pierced by the sword. Mary is the saint among the saints, blessed above all others. She teaches us the way of holiness and she walks ever at our side. Our conversation with her consoles, frees, and sanctifies us. Mary our Mother does not need a flood of words. All we need do is whisper time and time again: ‘Hail Mary…’”


In our prayers for the youth of Latin America, we can call to mind the lovely words of a Spanish hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Look, for I am Mexican
and for that I am yours
And I search in vain in the world
for another who loves you more than I.
Awaken, Mother, awaken
look, the dawn has come
Look at me as I lay at your feet
and give me your blessing.