Franciscan Calendar: Saint John the Baptist

This June Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight Saint John the Baptist (not Saint Anthony of Padua) as our saint of the month. Fittingly, Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges) has a painting that focuses on Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint John the Baptist.

Saint John points to the Lamb of God and Saint Francis receives the stigmata on Mount Alverna. The landscape in each scene is similar. The sky is blue and the grass is green! The painting encourages conversation on qualities these two favorite saints have in common. These are men of sacrifice!

One obvious conversation starter, they were both trend setters known for unique fashion choices. Neither one wore typical clothing. John liked his animal skins. Francis wore  the robes of the poor beggars. A robe for a belt was quite enough to hold him together. Photo: Saint Anthony of Padua Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nature was home. John lived outside and was quite comfortable eating locusts and wild honey. The Poverello praised the sun, moon and stars and all God’s creatures. He called all of creation brother and sister. he spent a lot of time contemplating beauty in his many journeys from one place to another. Both their worlds revolved around the weather.

It was equally evident that  these two saints knew their mission, their purpose. Francis was to rebuild Christ’s Church. His passion was fired by a winged seraph. John was to point people to Christ, while blessing all to lead lives of repentence. Christ was their all. (Photo: Baptizing Christ, St. Rose of Lima Church, Cuba City, Wisconsin)

Each had a demanding role for their God and took it seriously. One could humbly see that he could not remove the sandals from the feet of his Lord. He was far from the expectant Savior. The other tried to be like Christ in all things. It took all their strength, their every moment to further the reign of God. Saint John the Baptist, pray for us. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

Here’s Camp Franciscan Feedback

On this Father’s Day, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity share feedback on the recent Camp Franciscan from the campers themselves. The 34 campers traveled from 5 states to be with us June 11-14.

What touched your heart during Camp Franciscan?

  • Sitting in Saint Francis Chapel and singing Praise and Worship Music
  • All the Sisters hanging out with the campers
  • All the Sisters that I got to meet and their stories
  • The special breakfast for the campers
  • All the Sisters and Fathers
  • How the Sisters were so happy we sang for them
  • Adoration- I felt the closest I ever have before to Jesus and Mary

What part of the camp did you find the most helpful?

  • Talking to the Sisters in the cafeteria was pretty great!
  • Melissa and Katie’s talks
  • The name tag size schedules
  • Alpha Youth videos were amazing; there were some deep conversations.
  • Living rosary
  • Visitingwith the Novices and Hilda
  • Scrapbooks
  • The groups helped me make friends easier
  • I really love being able to have Mass daily
  • Sisters’ dedication and love

The Lord bless you and all of our families! Are you interested in a summer discernment option with us? Call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

It’s time to prepare for the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time. We share this 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 June 17 2018. Excerpts 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: Holy Family Convent, Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Mark 4:26-34

[Jesus said to the crowd] “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man was to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Background

The gospel text for today is composed of two short parables that draw on the common experience of people of the day. Both parables reflect the experience of planting seeds, and how they develop into mature plants. Most of us would consider their undertraining to be very primitive. But the reality for them and for us how plants grow from seeds to a mature plant is still very much a mystery. But we all know that the farmers must do their part – weeding, fertilizing, and watering. The fact that the farmer is doing none of these things in the first parable would be immediately noticed.

Agriculture was also one of the places where people of Jesus’ time could be surprised by abundance. For the most part, people believed that everything had already been distributed by God, and there was no more where that had come from. If a person suddenly had more of almost anything than they had the day before, it was assumed that they had gotten it by some improper means.

Thus, the woman who finds her lost coin throws a lavish party to celebrate finding the coin. She makes her discovery public, warding off suspicion and speculations about how she got the coin. It is also much less likely that neighbors will be critical if they have enjoyed a portion of its fruit.

But farming was one of the places where the surprise of abundance might be experienced without the presumption of foul play. At the same time there was also an understanding that if one did have more than they needed for their survival, the abundance was to be shared with those in need. Thus the familiar parable of the farmer who thought he would build larger storage bins for an abundant harvest and live off his surplus for years in the future. He died enjoying neither the abundant harvest, nor the good reputation he could have had by sharing the abundance with those in need. Instead, when he died, a different reputation continued on after his death.

Reflection Questions

1. When I think of people who spend their lives as farmers…
2. The reign of God is like…
3. When I think of my experience of the mystery of the reign God…
4. When I think about watching a seed grow into a large bush or a tree…
5. When I consider Jesus explaining the meaning of the parable to the disciples…
6. Can you take some time to talk to God about his use of farming parables, or your sense of the realm of God unfolding around you, or whatever arose in you as you considered these two parables?

Camp Franciscan 2018: Do Not Be Afraid…

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity are welcoming Camp Franciscan Campers for an exciting June 11-14, 2018 week. Thirty-four high school and college age young women are arriving from Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

They represent 19 parishes and 7 (arch)dioceses. The days can only be memorable.

Add to this mix of campers, many enthusiastic Sisters, friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Sacred Heart Provinces, and two young teachers witnessing their strong faith.

Are you curious, as to what is planned? Our theme is: Be not afraid. You have found favor with God.

Watch for photos on facebook and Instagram of community building and spiritual growth.

Our Blessed Mother will be a focus, but more importantly, building a deeper relationship with Jesus. Our hope is that campers will have a first hand experience of community life with each other and with our Sisters.

Franciscan Sister Presents to Omaha Serran Club

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Renee Mirkes shares with Nebraska’s Omaha Serrans on her ministry of NaProTECHNOLOGY.

On April 9th, I had the privilege of addressing one of the three very active Serra Clubs of Omaha about the work of the Pope Paul VI Institute, particularly how its women’s health science of NaProTECHNOLOGY and its natural system of family planning, the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, provide an antidote to all the moral fallout in our culture from the contraceptive mentality.

I’ve never been so enthusiastically applauded on two scores: first, that I, a religious Sister, am actively involved on a national scale in doing this kind of work in the Church and, second, that the city of Omaha houses the headquarters for NaPro and FertitlityCare. I was reminded of the many, many holy, committed Omaha natives with whom I have the privilege to rub elbows every day. Pictured above is the president of the OSC-West (left) and members of the organization who were responsible in booking me as a speaker for April’s meeting. Dear people all!

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

It’s the Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time!  We share this 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 June 10 2018. Excerpts 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: Sacred Heart Parish, Shawano, Wisconsin

Mark 3:20-35

He [Jesus] came home with his disciples. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder the house. Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” For they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Background

The opening verses of the third chapter of Mark’s gospel describe Jesus entering a synagogue on a sabbath and encountering a man with a withered hand. The officials are described as watching Jesus to see if he would cure the man, so that they would have something for which they could accuse him. Jesus called the man to the front and then asked the officials if it was lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil. When they did not respond, Jesus is described as becoming angry and grieving the hardness of their hearts. Jesus told the man to stretch out his hand and when he did so it was restored. Mark then says, “the Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.” (Mark 3:1-6)

Mark then reports that Jesus withdrew with his disciples toward the sea and that large crowds of people followed him. They came from Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem, and from the surrounding area. The crowds were so large that Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready so that he could avoid being crushed by the crowd. Mark also reports that whenever unclean spirts saw him they would fall down before him and shout,
“You are the Son of God.” (Mark 3:11b)

Mark’s text immediately preceding the text for this Sunday tells of Jesus summoning his followers, selecting twelve to be with him and to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark names those disciples, and then verse 20 states that Jesus returned home, and the rest of today’s gospel text follows.

Reflection Questions

1. My relationship with my family has been mostly…
2. The time I brought the most bewilderment to my family was…
3. What are some reasons why Jesus’ relatives might say that “He is out of his mind?”
4. If I had been there when the scribes said that Jesus was able to cast out demons because Jesus himself was possessed by a demon, I would have liked to…
5. If I had been there when Jesus said “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother,” I would have thought to myself …
6. After prayerful reading of this gospel text, can you talk with Jesus about you are feeling about your relationship to Jesus and Jesus’ relationship to you, or about some other awareness that has arisen within you?

Comments please: I tried a different style of reflection questions this week. If you have some time, please let me know if you found this style of questions helpful?

Honoring 60 Years of Franciscan Consecrated Life

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie shares her congratulations to the Sisters celebrating their 60th jubilees of Religious Profession.

Good morning on this Feast of Corpus Christi, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ! This is the group feast day of the “Sentinels of the Eucharistic King,” our Sisters, who are celebrating their 60th Anniversary of Jubilee today. Congratulations to Sister Adrianna Schouten, Sister Andrene Flasch, Sister Jolynn Kohlbeck, Sister Judanne Stratman, Sister Margaret Ann Wallander, Sister Mary Beth Prinz, Sister Ritarose Stahl, Sister Thereselle Arruda and Sister Verone Leeman. Joining you today in spirit are your classmates who have joined the Communion of Saints, Sister David Marie Long, Sister Judith Simons, Sister Emma Darrow, Sister Marie Voborny and Sister Sara Hale.

Today we celebrate the transubstantiation, the real presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the Eucharist. The Scripture readings that will be proclaimed at Mass this afternoon will connect our Salvation History through the Covenant that God made with Moses and the People, to the sacred events of Holy Thursday and the Paschal Mystery. This is a reminder that Jesus is alive, celebrating His hospitality, compassion and love, as we hear in the Alleluia Verse, “I am the living bread come down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

At the end of Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi, there is often a procession of the Blessed Sacrament displayed in a monstrance. Today, as every day when we celebrate Mass and receive Holy Communion, we become the monstrance. Jesus is seen in and through us. A Sentinel is a guard whose job is to keep watch. For 60 years of Consecrated Life, the Sentinels of the Eucharistic King have lived their title by keeping watch. They have been faithful to their covenant promise of living the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity which they made at their First Profession, August 15, 1958.

Through your group title and the witness of your life, may we be reminded to be watchful and know that Jesus is with us. May this day be filled with much joy and many blessings as you celebrate with your Sisters in Community, with your family and with your friends. God bless you!

Is God calling you? We invite you to consider one of our discernment invitations. Click here: FSCC_Summer Retreat Banner_2018_8.5x11_01_02

Help us distribute our flyers!

Franciscan Sisters Blessed at San Xavier Mission

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Mary Ann Spanjers shares on a special Trinity Sunday blessing that our Sisters received at San Xavier Mission, Tucson, Arizona.

Franciscan friars and Sisters serve at San Xavier Mission Tucson Arizona

On Trinity Sunday at San Xavier Mission, Fr. Steve Barnufsky, OFM our pastor spoke about the meaning of community, he spoke of how Sister Delores has became such an important part of the San Xavier community throughout her 16 years of ministry as 2nd grade teacher, in religious education, school librarian and many parish ministries. The community celebration of the Eucharist included a special blessing of the Sisters with the Tohono O’odham people sending Sister Delores to her new mission assignment. Part of the blessing prayer included “Holy Spirit, gift of God’s mighty power and presence in our midst, shower your gifts upon our Sister Delores, like the gentle rains of the desert, to anoint her and all she needs to serve her Sisters in ways that is life-giving.”

San Xavier Mission is a Franciscan site for pilgrimage

Sister Delores expressed her deep gratitude for the many blessings she has received during her years here. She spoke of how the children reflect the goodness of their parents, grandparents and elders. She experienced an acceptance of the Native Americans who have always made her feel at home. Her gratitude of the Friars, Sisters, teachers, sunsets are all reflections of the Creator, an amazing artist in this world.

 

The celebration of gratitude continued after Mass in the courtyard with lots of hugs, pictures, food and blessings!

 

Franciscan Religious at IRL National Meeting

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Jean Anne Moser and Sister Mariella Erdmann reflect on the 2018 Institute of Religious Life (IRL) National Meeting at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois held April 6-8.

The theme was Religious Life . . . Ever Ancient, Ever Beautiful. The days were filled with inspirational speakers, great sharing among other religious and those discerning a vocation to religious life as well as faith-filled liturgies. The meeting helped us to return home with renewed joy and dedication to carry on the mission given by Christ.


The two Keynote Speakers, Rt. Rev. Austin Murphy, O.S.B. and Father Cassian Folsm, O.S.B. were especially good in showing how there is a need for structure in religious life. This structure that does not go against the free spirit but rather allows for much expression of a spirituality that can become truly counter-culture and once again show that we have a God that is worth living and dying for. The life of common prayer, meals, recreation, and work fosters personal growth in Jesus Christ and leads to personal conversion. We need to return to the spirit of the founder. We do not need more documents from the Church. Perfectae Caritatis is a key source for the renewal of Religious Life. What we need is the personal conversion of each member in our Community. Without a radical return to the sources we cannot survive.

The above are only a few ideas from the talks. There were, also, workshop sessions with inspiring speakers on topics of Evangelization, Discerning, Religious Life, Asceticism and Beauty, God is not Nice: Rejecting Pop Culture to mention a few.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Praised be the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! We celebrate this great mystery of our faith as we share this 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 June 3 2018. Excerpts 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: Holy Family Parish, Marinette, Wisconsin and St. Therese Parish, Appleton, Wisconsin

Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”‘ Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” The disciples then went off, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Background

There is general agreement among scripture scholars that John’s chronology of the events of Jesus’ death is closer to how the events of Jesus’ passion unfolded than that found in the synoptic gospels. Jesus died on the afternoon before the celebration of Passover began, and his body was removed from the cross before sunset as the Jews gathered to begin the traditional meal. This means that Jesus’ final meal with his disciples was not a Passover meal.

Nonetheless, Mark and the early Christians understood their celebration as a new kind of Passover. Just as the celebration of Passover was not just a remembering of what had happened one night in Egypt, but a renewal of the relationship that was formed on that night, so the early celebrations of the Lord’s Supper by his followers was a way to enter again into Jesus’ last meal with his disciples and the relationship that was founded in that celebration. Their understanding and appreciation grew as they participated in the ritual itself and reflected on its meaning. The condensed description of Jesus’ celebration of the Passover with his disciples that appears as our text reflects years of reflection on their old traditions, their remembrance of Jesus, and their new experiences as people who believed Jesus to be the Messiah.

Reflection Questions

1. What kind of thoughts and feelings come to mind as you think of your own body?
2. What kind of thoughts and feelings come to mind as you think of your blood?
3. In the first part of this gospel Jesus tell his disciples how to find the room that they should prepare for the Passover. The events unfold as Jesus had predicted. What is being revealed here? Why?
4. Why do you think Jesus did not use something else like pebbles and wild flowers to become his body and blood? What would have been the benefit of pebbles and wild flowers over bread and wine? What would be missing?
5. What does this tell you about God’s desire to be with us in the sacrament of the Eucharist?
6. In another gospel Jesus says in a familiar parable: “Amen, I say to you, what you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) This would seem to indicate another way Jesus’ body is present to us. Are you aware of ways the most holy body and blood of Christ are present to us as we celebrate this feast?
7. Can you take some time talk to God about your thoughts and feelings around the Eucharist, or about this feast, or your own experience of your body and blood?