Volume 8.15 | September 21, 2020
In this Issue:

First Responders Peace Garden

AFM Census Outreach

Beauty in the Franciscan Tradition

From the Office of Communications

In Memory

First Responders Peace Garden at the Franciscan Center
Submitted by Vicky McCarthy, Community Relations Specialist, The Franciscan Center
On Friday, September 11 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., volunteers from The United Way, Suncoast, planted a “First Responders Peace Garden” at the Franciscan Center, located at 3010 North Perry Ave., Tampa, FL. The garden will be a quiet and reflective place for first responders to gather while they are attending the Center’s monthly retreat “Operation Restore”.

Operation Restore is a unique four-day retreat designed to help first responders, veterans, and military of all faiths, who suffer from the tolls of cumulative stress during their service to the community. The Franciscan Center has been offering this retreat since 2013 and has impacted the lives of over 300 individuals and families.

The creation of this native Florida/butterfly garden adds an extra dimension to the retreat as it is conducive to meditation, journaling, conversation, and quiet introspection—all important aspects in the healing process.

"It was a great project and the volunteers literally braved the heat, humidity, and mud (it had rained all week)," said Vicky McCarthy, Community Relations Specialist for the Franciscan Center. "It was quite messy but fun and fulfilling. We even had coverage from three tv stations and a radio station!"
The Franciscan Center, 3010 N. Perry Ave., Tampa, FL 33603, is a non- profit, 501(3)(c), private retreat house sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY with dedicated laity who are committed in carrying out the mission. More information about the Center, upcoming retreat and events, and booking the venue is available by calling (813) 229-2695 and by visiting http://www.franciscancentertampa.org/
Allegany Franciscan Ministries Census Outreach Efforts
Submitted by: Erin Baird, Director of Grants, Allegany Franciscan Ministries
The decennial census is the most inclusive civic activity in our country, covering every person in every household. The U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count of the nation's population every 10 years. Census information is used to determine political representation and drive the distribution of over $675 billion in federal funding. These resources are essential to the well-being of people in all communities. The U.S. Census Bureau benefits from philanthropic sector relationships as they help get the word out to communities about the importance of the count. Allegany Franciscan Ministries believes it is vital to leverage leadership to inspire and support others in working for a complete and accurate count. Since 2019, we have directly funded over 30 local nonprofits totaling $170,000 and contributed $100,000 to Census collaborative efforts.
Read the full report on Allegany Franciscan Ministries’ 2020 Census outreach.
Upcoming Webinar: Beauty in the Franciscan Tradition
Beauty in the Franciscan Tradition
September 29, 2020
10 - 11:30 a.m.
With Sister Jeanne Williams OSF

In the Franciscan Tradition the experience of beauty is a central element to the spiritual and intellectual vision of the world, the person, and God. The way we see is integrally related to our experience of beauty. The goodness and love of God is reflected in the beauty all around us – in the world in which we live and especially in each person whom God has created in God’s own image. If only we have eyes to see as God sees!
As we prepare for the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis on October 4, join us for this presentation in which we will explore how Francis, Bonaventure, and John Duns Scotus experienced beauty in their lives. Participants’ reflection and sharing will enable them to better recognize how they experience beauty in their own lives, and how that recognition opens their eyes to a deeper experience of the Goodness and Love of God.
To learn more, or to register, click here.
From the Office of Communications
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director
September is here and almost gone! It's hard to believe that six months have gone by since the start of the COVID pandemic and the restrictions we now live with on a daily basis.

As we've navigated these new challenges, the Congregation has become even more reliant on technologies such as Zoom and WhatsApp to communicate and continue to move forward.

As part of that progress, we have launched an online forum for our Sisters and Associates. This forum is intended to facilitate ongoing discussion on the topics raised during our recent Zoom conversations in late August/early September, as well as our Fall Assemblies, which are taking place entirely on Zoom for the first time.

Sisters and Associates are invited to explore this new platform and take full advantage of its availability during this time of social distancing. It can be accessed through the log-in pages for Sisters or Associates. You will need to register as a member before you can post.

In addition to the new forum, the entire website has had a face lift and is now cleaner and easier to navigate. Some portions of the site remain under development, but important sections such as the Chapter 2021 page; Sisters Eulogies/Obituaries, and the Briege O'Hare Retreat are all active. I invite you to explore the new site and to send any feedback you may have to me at denise.bunk-hatch@fsallegany.org.

As you're browsing the News section, you may notice that there have been fewer e-newsletters than usual since the beginning of the pandemic. This is not a mistake - as events and gatherings have been canceled or postponed, there has been less news to share with you. There will be at least one newsletter per month for the remainder of 2020, but I am hopeful that we can once again publish twice a month soon.

It was so nice to see some of you during the summer Zoom discussions, and I hope to see others during the Fall Assemblies.
In Memory
Sr. Mary Lou Gossin OSF
Date of Birth: February 26, 1934
Entered Eternal Life: September 18, 2020