Dear Friends of Our Lady of Prompt Succor,
October brings us several beautiful celebrations, among them the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4th. Since I am sending this from Florence, Italy, where I’ve just spent several hours in the Franciscan church of Santa Croce (Holy Cross), it seems appropriate to reflect on this topic for a bit.
The church contains beautiful images of the faith of medieval and early renaissance people, including frescoes of the life of St. Francis by Giotto. But it also speaks to our own experience today. Because the Franciscans who settled here chose a neighborhood where the poor lived, the area was frequently subjected to flooding. A devastating flood occurred in 1966, damaging and destroying priceless works of art as well as all the places in the area where people lived and worked.
It is now over 50 years since the flood, but the people have not forgotten how volunteers from all over the world came to help dig out from many feet of mud, how art conservators from many countries came together to try to salvage what they could of the precious works of art from many centuries.
In our own lives, we well remember the kindness of so many who came to help us after Katrina – and are still coming. And now, people are “paying it forward” in reaching out to our neighbors in Texas, Florida, and most recently, to our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As I visited the displays telling the story of the 1966 flood in Florence, I prayed for all of you and for all those in our country who are suffering from natural disasters.
And our celebration of the feast of St. Francis can remind us that our pope chose his name to keep before our minds his message of peace-making and care for the poor.
May Our Lady help us to live faithfully our own call to bring peace and care for others to our world.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us.
Sr. Carolyn M. Brockland, OSU