Franciscan Sisters Respond to Vocation Questions

In the last week Franciscan Sisters were invited to be with high school students at a Xavier High School Junior Retreat Day, Appleton, Wisconsin and Religious Education Sessions at St. Bronislava, Plover, WI. Sister Cecilia Joy, Sister Concepcion and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan responded to questions and shared a bit about themselves. Here’s one of the questions they received. Sister Cecilia Joy responds.

What is your favorite part of being a Sister?

I am truly grateful that God called me to be a sister. There are so many beautiful aspects of this vocation, but I would have to say my favorite parts are living in community, being able to serve in ministry, and having the time to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. We sisters are truly like a family. It is a blessing to be able to pray together, learn from each other, and laugh with one another. God has called me to a place where I can use my gifts and talents in His service. Videography used to simply be a job for me, and now it is a way to share God’s love and spread His messages of hope. All of this work stems from prayer. I enjoy being able to wake up in the morning and talk with the love of my life, knowing He will be with me through whatever the day brings. He also speaks to your heart as well. May you experience His peace, and if He calls you to visit us, I look forward to meeting you again!

Do you have your own question? Contact us.

Initial Formation Weekend Centered on Eucharist

During the winter season, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity gather all those in Initial Formation for a weekend of Community building and to receive input on an important topic dear to Consecrated Life. Sister Cecilia Joy reflects on the days together.

We often receive the Blood of Christ. Yet, how often do we take the cup and truly see Jesus? Do we think about ourselves and others reflected in the precious metal? These were questions we pondered during our Formation Weekend with Fr. Jim Baraniak, O.Praem. The weekend was centered on the Eucharist and allowed us to ponder how we are broken and shared for others. Fr. Jim had many positive words to share about our community and his incorporation of our charisms was inspiring. We are all blessed to have been called to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

While there was time for learning and prayer, we were also able to make memories playing hockey, Catchphrase, and even having a sleepover complete with snacks and homemade guacamole. This weekend was truly a time of community and praising God for the gift of how He is reflected in each one of us.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

Anticipating the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we encourage you to ponder 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 March 3 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: National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville, MO (Photographer Sister Marsaia Kaster)

Luke 6:39-45

And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

Background

The gospel text is a continuation of Jesus’s instruction to his disciples that began two weeks ago with the blessings and woes. That teaching continued last week with Jesus’ instruction to love your enemies and to do good to those who cannot repay you.

At the time of Jesus, the human person was understood to have three facets, each associated with parts of the body. The eyes and the head were understood as those parts of the body that collected information. The ears and the mouth were looked upon as the centers of self-expression. Lastly, the hands and feet were understood as the parts of the body that would put into action what a person had taken in from the eyes and the head and was now centered in the heart. The authentic person was the one whose three parts were in harmony. The people were also aware that some would deliberately disguise their true self.

In the synoptic gospels, Jesus is the only person who used the word hypocrite. In Luke 6:39-42 he used the term to characterize certain people as misguided teachers. He later calls the crowd hypocrites who know how to accurately reads the signs in nature but are unable to predict the present situation. Later in Luke Jesus will once again use the term “hypocrite” to describe the crowd who criticize him for healing a woman on the Sabbath, while they will rescue an ox or donkey on the sabbath when necessary. (Luke 13:15) In both cases Jesus challenges the crowd to examine their lives to see what their actions reveal about their interiors.

Reflection Questions

1. Who do you think of as your guides for the different parts of your life?
2. For whom are you a guide?
3. When you think of examining your life and your motives…
4. When you hear Jesus call those he is addressing hypocrites…
5. The image of a beam in one’s own eye while noticing the speck in the eye of the other…
6. Can you talk to God honestly about your desire to see the truth of your own life, the parts of your life that you find difficult to talk or even think about, or some other aspect of your own life that arose in this gospel?

Just Gospel: Pope Francis’ February Prayer Intention

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy addresses Pope Francis’ February Prayer Intention regarding human trafficking.

You may not see the problem, but it’s there. It’s estimated there are more than 21 million human trafficking victims worldwide. This is not something that only occurs in dark alleys in the far corners of the Earth, though. It’s happening around the world every day. Human trafficking is considered modern-day slavery, and there are more slaves today than at any time in history.

“They are hidden from view. You don’t recognize them in the back kitchens, shops, gas stations and in hospitality. They are also tucked away in fields. They don’t come out and ask for help. It’s a different kind of slavery than long ago,” says Dr. Lucy Steinitz, Catholic Relief Services senior technical advisor for protection. “They are not in shackles or on plantations. People are coerced into harsh employment under horrible conditions, and then have no freedom to leave. They are beaten, violated and told they are worthless—that no one else wants them anymore.”

The above quotation is taken from the Catholic Relief Services website, www.crs.org/stories/stop-human-trafficking. This is an excellent source for information on the many faces of human trafficking as well as suggestion for action.

Pope Francis asks us this month to pray “For a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution and of violence.”
Notice that the Holy Father does not ask us simply to pray for an end to these practices nor for the salvation of these suffering souls. He asks us to welcome them and further, to welcome them generously!

In Gaudete et Exsultate Pope Francis cautions us against finding suspect the activism of others. He writes, “There are those who see social engagement as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life…Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery and every form of rejection.”

He goes on to say, “Those who really wish to give glory to God by their lives, who truly long to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious in their practice of the works of mercy. Saint Teresa of Calcutta clearly realized this: ‘Yes, I have many human faults and failures…But God bends down and uses us, you and me, to be his love and his compassion in the world. He depends on us to love the world and to show how much he loves it. If we are too concerned with ourselves, we will have no time left for others.’”
Let us see the face of Jesus in these suffering ones. Let us make room for them in our prayer, in our awareness and in our compassion.

Point Catholic Retreat Encourages Discernment

Point Catholic University students were invited to come and bask in the warmth of God’s love at an annual Busy Student Retreat. Beginning on Sunday, nine  Spiritual Directors were welcomed by Holy Spirit Parish Pastor Father Steve Brice and Campus Minister Zach Laughlin at the Newman Center.

Students had the opportunity to meet with Sister Michaela Hedican, St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, MN; Father Dennis Lynch, Diocese of La Crosse, Brother Patrick McCabe, Congregation of Alexian Brothers, Chicago, IL; Sister Marla Lang, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration; Patricia Pintens, Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center, Arbor Vitae, WI; Sister Stephanie Spandl, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sister Sandy Setterlund, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, and Sister Julie Ann Sheahan, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, at a time that fits their class schedule, once each day through Thursday.

Many students have found the courage and strength to embrace God’s call for their lives during such retreats. Thoughtful discernment is encouraged. Here’s a sample of the retreat booklet reflections that Campus Minister Zach Laughlin shared.

“It doesn’t take much for us to get overwhelmed with anxiety. Jesus is always reaching out towards us, surfing over the top of trivial things that we worry about, but we just get caught up in the waves of life. School work. Temptations. Longing to fit in. Finding a job. Feeling comfortable in our own skin. These things are real, very real. But, so often, we miss what is right in front of us Jesus is right there with us in the thick of things.

Anxiety is a darkness that we have to bring towards the light. There’s a saying in Twelve Step groups that we should never try to reason with the six inches between our ears for too long (our own mind)! A little harsh, but that’s actuall pretty sound advice! We need to bring our worries out in the light, through friendship, community and prayer. Left to our own defenses, we lose to anxiety every time.”

 

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019

On this Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, we encourage you to ponder 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 24 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: Holy Spirit Parish, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Luke 6:27-38

[Jesus said to his disciples:] “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Background

Last week the gospel text described Jesus’ first teaching on the plain to the newly named twelve, the disciples, and a great crowd that had come from the surrounding region and coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. But the blessings and woes are directed to his disciples. They are instruction as to what they could expect. “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… Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.” (Luke 6:23 & 26)

In this week’s gospel Jesus continues his instruction where last week left off, with the same starkness that characterized last week’s text. If the new disciples adopt the radically different view of the world described in the blessings and woes of last week, the way that they treat people will be radically different from the rest of society of the day.

Jesus’ expectation is that his disciples love everyone, even their enemies. He says it four ways in the first two verses of this reading: love (verse 27), do good to (verse 27), bless (verse 28), and pray for (verse 28). The disciples are not to react to the way they will be treated with any sense of the retaliation that was the usual response in their day. Jesus is asking them to even move past a neutral non-response to harsh treatment, to positively doing good for, blessing, and praying for one’s enemies. Jesus is asking them to treat them as God does, who sends the sun to shine on the good and the bad. “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45) If being like God is not sufficient enough to motivate, they are reminded in the last two verses that the way they treat others is the way that they can expect God will treat them.

Reflection Questions

1. When you think of your enemies, who or what memories come to mind?
2. If you recall a time when you have been upset by how you were treated…
3. When you hear Jesus’ exhortation to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you…
4. Do you know people who have worked to forgive significant offenses of another?
5. Do you also know people who seem to hold on to the offenses of others?
6. When you recall the ways that you have offended others, even people you loved…
7. When you think of the times you have been forgiven by another…
8. Can you take some time to talk honestly about your own experience of loving those who are difficult to love, about your desire to know that you have been forgiven by another or by God, or about some other issue that arose within you from this text?

Franciscan Sisters Visit Franciscan University

Franciscan Sister Sharon Paul shares on her recent visit with Sister Helen Marie Paul, Sister June Smith, Sister Jan Villemure and Sister Carol Juckem to Franciscan University.

On a recent Sunday morning, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, from St. Benedict’s Convent, Cambridge, OH traveled to Franciscan University, Steubenville, OH for the 10:30 a.m. Mass. In the congregation were many students and staff from many states and locations. As typical, we were soon to meet someone who knows our Sisters.

After the Mass we mingled with the students and ended up arriving at the College Pub for lunch. It was here that a young gentleman came over and asked us if we were the Manitowoc, Franciscans. He was a former Roncalli High School student. Sister Jane Kinate was his teacher. It didn’t take long and we had other conversations with students who were truly thinking of serving the Church as members of the Natational Evangelization Team, two from California and Mississippi planning to pursue the priesthood and another hoping to enter the convent after graduation. We also happy to visit with another young woman interested in knowing more about Religious Communities.

We left some literature on our Franciscan Community’s retreats and discernment days with the chapel and chaplain office. We were grateful for the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding our day. We welcome invitations to other colleges and universities for Eucharist.

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?