Just Gospel: Called to Follow the Example of Mary

Franciscan Sister Kathleen Murphy shares on Pope Francis’ January prayer intention.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis bids us keep our Blessed Mother before us during this month. His prayer intention for January is “that young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.”


This intention does not stop at praying for greater youth devotion to Mary. Our prayer should be interceding for the grace of joyful evangelization among Latino youth. This involves youth having the vision to recognize their own call, their mission in the Church. In Gaudete et Exsultate we read, “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for ‘this is the will of God, your sanctification.’(1 Thes. 4:3) Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.”

Notice that Pope Francis is referring to each of us living saints when he says we are each a living mission. Who could understand this monumental challenge better than Mary? She perceived the greatest call to mission, the most amazing call to holiness, the most unexpected plan of the Father when she was only a teenager. She truly is the ideal one to inspire today’s youth in growing into their unique mission, their singular call to holiness.

Franciscan Sisters Charism Podcast Introduction Part II

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity offer the second in a a series of brief reflections on our community’s Franciscan charism. We hope you find learning about our life enjoyable and enlightening. Here’s our next episode produced by Novice Sister Cecilia Joy.

Click here to watch Part II. To learn more about how we serve in the Arch/Dioceses of Green Bay, Marquette, Lincoln, Columbus, Steubenville, St. Louis, Jackson MS, Tucson and Phoenix. Call or text Sister Julie Ann at 920-323-9632 with your discernment questions.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Third Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019

As we anticipate the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, we share a meaningful 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 January 27 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: San Francisco de Asis and San Felipe de Jesus, Mexico

Luke 1:1-4, & 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Background

In the first verses of Luke’s gospel he acknowledges that others’ gospels have been written; he goes on to explain what he intends to accomplish by writing this gospel. He is going to write an orderly narrative, a historical work, at least as he understands it in his day. He also says that he is going back to what has been handed down to us through the eyewitnesses and the ministers of the Word. He does not include himself in either of these two groups, indicating that he himself is not a witness to the events he is recording. His gospel has been written for an individual, Theophilus, and therefore it is not meant to be used as the Christian community gathers for prayer or to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Its purpose is to reassure Theophilus that what has been taught about Jesus is accurate and reliable.

After this introduction, the text for this Sunday moves to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in his hometown synagogue of Nazareth. It skips over the material that the Church used during the Christmas season, and it skips another text that will be used later in the liturgical year. This gospel text ends with Jesus’ bold proclamation that today in Nazareth, in this synagogue, this passage from Isaiah is being fulfilled.

The passage that Jesus reads from the prophet Isaiah focuses on God’s proclamation of blessing to the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed. Luke’s gospel will portray a Jesus who was present to those in his society who were forgotten and overlooked by the religious leaders of his day. Throughout Luke’s gospel there is a sense that Jesus is acting under the power of the Spirit of God. That is evident and stated specifically in this text as well.

Reflection Questions

1. When you think of Luke being a person never having known Jesus, trying to compile an orderly account of the life of Jesus…
2. If Luke would not have put forth the effort to write his gospel…
3. Imagine that you are among those gathered that day in Jesus’ hometown synagogue. What is going through your mind as the men gather and motion to Jesus to stand and read?
4. Jesus deliberately found and read a portion of the book of the prophet Isaiah that says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor…” What goes through you as you hear Jesus read this passage from Isaiah?
5. How is this passage from Isaiah being fulfilled in your own hearing?
6. In what ways does it still need to be fulfilled?
7. Can you talk with God now about what Jesus did that day in his hometown synagogue, or about the significance of what he did for you, or about anything else that arose within you as you read this gospel?

Called to be a Franciscan Sister, Teacher and Nurse

Franciscan Sister Adrianna Schouten shares a reflection on the life of Sister Marion Gilles. Read the entire reflection here: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Marion Mary Gillis was born on September 30, 1930 to Albert and Lillian (DeBoth) Gillis. Marion was the middle child of five, with two older brothers and a younger brother and sister. She was baptized at St. Joseph Church in Green Bay, Wisconsin by Reverend A.J. Schueller on October 12, 1930.

The first three of years of school began at Chappell School about a mile from their home. For the remaining grade school years they attended the newly built St. Joseph School which had 8 grades and 8 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Marion attended St. Joseph Academy where she was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. After graduation in 1948, Marion worked for the Green Bay Food Company as a comptroller.

In a letter to Mother Edna, dated April 24, 1952 Marion wrote
“I can’t quite make up my mind if I want to be nurse or enter the convent…I have been working since I left high school. I am now 21 years of age… I am now hoping very soon to get some sign from God as to what my vocations is to be… If I meet the needed qualification I would like to give the convent life a try.”
Very Truly Yours, Marion Gillis.

In a letter from Sister Mary Ellen, Mistress of Postulants date April 29, 1952, Sister wrote
“You mentioned that you wondered whether to become a nurse or enter a convent. We have a suggestion – why don’t you do both…If you have the necessary qualification you will most likely be permitted to follow the nursing profession. Of course in religious life the will of God is made known to us by our Superiors… You will discover that your happiness will be a result of their choices.”

Sister Marion entered Holy Family Convent on August 23, 1952. She was received on June 13, 1953 and was given the name Sister LaSallete. She returned to her baptismal name in the late 1960’s.

Sister Marion attended Holy Family College. She taught grades 1-6 from 1955 – 1960. She entered the Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing and graduated from there in 1963. From St. Louis University she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1967. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Texas in Austin in 1973. Read more.: Franciscan Sister Marion Gillis’ Reflection

Franciscan Sisters March For Life in Chicago

Starting and eventually returning to Federal Plaza, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity recently joined approximately 6,000 pro-lifers march downtown Chicago.  Pro Life Wisconsin organized the bus trips and brought people from across the state. Knights of Columbus chapters from Wausau, Merrill, Plum City, Pewaukee, Sparta, Denmark, Boscobel, Luxemburg, Bruce, Sister Bay, New London, Spooner, Colby, Rhinelander, Hilbert (just to name a few) contributed to the venture. It was real pilgrimage showing love for life, a journey with a moral and spiritual significance. Although this year’s temperatures were more pleasant, there was sacrifice and prayer involved along the way. The theme of this year’s Illinois march was ‘Unique from Day One.’

Jeanne Mancini, National President for March for Life and Radiance Foundation president Ryan Bomberger served as the event’s keynote speakers. The crowd also heard remarks from Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, Chicago Bears co-owner Pat McCaskey, Reps. Darin LaHood and Dan Lipinski, as well as an Aid for Women client. The last speaker was a weDignify College Student Leader.

Musicians added much to the actual march. Participants kept the beat carrying a variety of signs.

The white veils of Novices Sister Cecilia Joy and Sister Concepcion helped keep our own Franciscan Sister group together. Postulant Yazmin and Sister Mary Frances Maher, Sister Elaine Turba, Sister Julie Ann Sheahan and Sister Louise Hembrecht represented our religious Community. Silver Lake College of the Holy Family students also were among the pilgrims.

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Second Week of Ordinary Time 2019

On this Second Sunday of Ordinary Time we share a not so ordinary 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 January 20 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: By After Hieronymus Bosch – collectie.boijmans.nl : Home : Info : Pic, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2588619

John 2:1-11

There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. After this, he and his mother, (his) brothers, and his disciples went down to Capernaum and stayed there only a few days.

BACKGROUND

John’s gospel is written after the fall of the temple in Jerusalem. Up until this time, many of the early Christian Jews had kept their belief in Jesus secret, so that they could still worship at the temple and maintain their relationships with their Jewish neighbors and family. Now that the temple had been destroyed, many thought it was time for these people to commit to being followers of Jesus and openly part of the Christian community.

John’s gospel is rich with symbolic images. Verse 11 states that this was the first of Jesus’ signs. There are seven signs in John’s gospel; each one points beyond the event itself to a deeper understanding of Jesus’ significance. The last and greatest sign was to be his death and resurrection.

Another way that John links this event with the death and resurrection is through Jesus’ reference to his “hour” in verse 4. Throughout John’s gospel, “the hour” is used as the hour of Jesus’ death and resurrection. (2:4, 4:21, 5:25, 5:28, 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, 12:27, 13:1, 16:4, 16:21, 16:25, 16:32, 17:1, and 19:27)

In the Hebrew Scripture, the wedding banquet itself is a rich symbol for the final fulfillment of God’s relationship with the chosen people. Within this tradition, God is often described as the bridegroom.

The large water jars were on hand so the guests could perform purification rituals. Jesus asks that the jars be filled with water and taken to the headwaiter. The water had been transformed into the finest of wines. At the Last Supper, Jesus will take the wine and transform it into his own blood, which will be poured out on the cross in the purest of sacrifices.

Jesus’ response to his mother in verse 4 as “woman” may sound a bit harsh. However, in their time, this was a customary and respectful way to address a woman, and it was used by Jesus again in other places in the gospel. At the same time, to refer to one’s mother with this title without further amplification would have been unusual. Young men in this culture sought emotional independence from women in general, and especially from their mothers, and they rejected their mothers’ claims on them. This would be particularly true in public situations like the one described at the wedding feast. In this light, the behavior of both Mary and Jesus is very counter-cultural. For Mary to then tell the servants to do whatever Jesus asked of them suggests that she knew another part of her son Jesus. Jesus’ responses to Mary and to the needs of the culture after his initial comment to his mother also demonstrate his inner strength.

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

1. Think of large international family gatherings that include cousins, spouses, and other family members. What roles do different family members play in order for these celebrations to go smoothly?
2. When you think of the last wedding you attended, the things that most strike you were…
3. Are you aware of events in your life that symbolically turned out to be much more important than you or others realized at the time they were happening?
4. If you were one of Jesus’ early disciples and overheard his mother say to him that they have run out of wine, you might have whispered to the disciple sitting next to you…
5. As the events unfold and you see Mary go over to the steward, you would begin to wonder…
6. When Jesus goes over and addresses the steward, you are thinking to yourself…
7. Finally as the celebration continues and you taste the new wine that has just been poured, you begin to think…
8. Can you take some time now to talk to God about Jesus’ relationship to his mother, his apparent reluctance to do anything at this point to draw attention to himself, or some other thought or feeling that arose within you from this text?

Franciscan Calendar: Blessed Giles of Lorenzana

During the month of January, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight on the Franciscan Calendar Blessed Giles of Lorenzana. Born in a faith-filled family in Italy, Blessed Giles of Lorenzana received the name of Bernardine at the time of his baptism. He eventually became a lay brother at the convent of the Friars Minor. He was happily given the name Giles after one of the first companions of St Francis of Assisi.

If you ever hear bells pealing, without a person actually pulling the ropes (and the bells are not automatic), this happened when Blessed Giles died in 1518. He was known to be a very holy friar, living in a hermitage close to the main convent. His body was later said to also be incorrupt though buried in very damp ground. Learn more.

Knowing blessed Giles modeled his life after one of the first members of the Franciscan Order, these words by the first Brother Giles when speaking of the words and deeds of St. Francis seem appropriate today as well: “Our religion is like a fisherman who casts his nets into the water catching a great number of fish. Seeing the number of fish, he puts the big ones in his baskets, leaving the small ones in the water.” We pray, through the intercession of Blessed Giles of Lorenzana, for an abundance of young women to join us in serving God’s people and living the Gospel life.

Franciscan Sisters Charism Introduction Part I Podcast

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity offer a series of brief reflections on our Community’s Franciscan charism. We hope you find learning about our life enjoyable and enlightening.

Click here to view the first youtube video.

To learn more about our life and how we serve in the Arch/Dioceses of Green Bay, Marquette, Lincoln, Columbus, Steubenville, St. Louis, Jackson MS, Tucson and Phoenix, contact us here.

Franciscan Sisters Arizona Website Launched

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving in Arizona have launched a simple website. We invite you to click here and check it out. Why begin this initiative? It truly is meant to be a tool to  make life ‘simple’ for someone seeking to find us and God willing, called to be one of us. It is that simple.

Our love for Arizona began in 1931 when a parish priest invited us to come and help teach children. Since then we continue to be involved in education, but other ministries as well. We are blessed to work with a diversity of people: in Catholic schools and parishes, on the Gila River and Tohono O’odham Reservations, missions and diocesan offices.

How do you know God calls you? It is a discernment question many young women are asking. We say “contact us” – for a discernment retreat, to join a vocation event, or simply for a discerning and helpful conversation.

“At the end of our lives, all that matters is how we served our God and others, faithful to our call, and how well we respond generously to the inheritance that has been given to us.” Sr. Leonette Kochan, OSF

Franciscan Gospel Reflection: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2019

This is the day we are grateful for our own baptism! As we anticipate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, 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 January 13 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: Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Somerton, AZ and St. John Neumann, Yuma, AZ

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Background

Throughout their history, the Jews looked for the coming of a Messiah who would establish the Reign of God. There were those who thought that perhaps John the Baptist was God’s anointed who had finally come. In the first line of the gospel text, Luke acknowledges that fact. Luke then quotes John’s denial of being the “anointed one.” The Baptist, without naming Jesus, then points to one who is to come, and compares his own standing to that of the true Messiah. (“I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.”) Washing the feet of another was the task of the very lowest servants. It was also a gesture of respect, that of a student for his master. John uses this image in comparing himself to the one who is truly God’s anointed. John is saying that he is not even worthy to be the student of the Messiah.

In the last two verses of the text, Luke first describes the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus, and then the Father confirming that Jesus is indeed His son. Luke’s description of these events is different from the other Gospels, in that Luke presents these events as happening after John had finished baptizing. Luke describes Jesus as being at prayer when he experiences the appearance of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and the voice from heaven. These are experiences that happen to him, not things that happen by him or through him. Luke’s description also removes any sense of John’s involvement in the experience.

Luke’s recording that the Father’s voice confirmed that Jesus was his son was very significant for the people of the day. Their limited understanding of reproduction made it impossible for them to know who the actual father of any child was. Therefore, the father had to publicly state that he was the father of a child. By doing this, he was giving the child legitimacy, status in the community, and the right to an inheritance, and he was taking on the responsibility of being the child’s father. This was a critical part of the social structure of the day. Using this social institution, Luke presents God as claiming that Jesus is His Son.

Reflection Questions

1. Can you recall a time when your parents let you know that they were pleased with you? What do you remember about that day?
2. Can you recall a time when you were filled with expectation?
3. What are your expectations for God’s involvement in your life, or in the world?
4. When you think of the Jewish people waiting for generations and generations for a Messiah…
5. Imagine that you were one of the others that came that day to be baptized by John, and you witnessed in some way Jesus’ experience. What thoughts and feelings would be going through you?
6. Do you sense that God looks on you as God’s beloved son/daughter?
7. Can you talk to God now about your own sense of being beloved, your hopes and expectations for God, the ways you would like to point to the presence of God in the world, or some other feeling that might have arisen in this gospel text?