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Issue 3.03
February 09, 2015
 St. Elizabeth Motherhouse celebrates Groundhog Day

To break the doldrums of winter, the sisters of the Motherhouse were treated to a celebration for Groundhog Day, coordinated by Activities Director Monica Colts and overseen by Toni Pellegrino, OSF. 
New Motherhouse organ blessed

   On Sunday, February 1, the community came together to bless the new organ of the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse chapel. Members of the churches comprising the Greater Olean Area Churches group (GOAC) were invited to the ceremony, and three guest organists were asked to give a recital. Gary Britton, organist at St. Mary's in Olean, Rick Snyder, organist at Presbyterian Church in Olean, and 

Regina Gabriel, assistant organist at St. Francis in Bradford and organist at Presbyterian Church in Bradford, were all welcomed to provide music at the event. Regina also teaches at the University of Pitt at Bradford.

   A video of Congregational Minister Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF's blessing is available here.


Interfaith Earth Day Prayer Service held

By: Anne Dougherty, OSF


   The Franciscan Center of Tampa held its first ever Interfaith Earth Day celebration.  We viewed a documentary, Keeping the Earth, put together by religious and scientists and then we went outside to the Pavillion and began the prayer service with representatives from eight different faith traditions.

   We had the Academy of the Holy Names girls who sang to musical pieces and the University of Tampa Dance troupe who performed an original earth dance.

   We had refreshment and cookies after the service. 

   This Earth Day, the Franciscan Center will be holding a celebration aimed at children. 

Recommended reading: Looking to St. Francis - the Man from Assisi and His Message of Hope for Today
By: Vicki Masterpaul, OSF

   As followers of Francis and Clare, I daresay we never seem to tire reading yet another book about them.

   Looking to St. Francis - the Man from Assisi and His Message of Hope for Today by John Bohrer and Joseph Stoutzenberger affords us with both a fresh look at Francis, as well as challenging us "to examine our own following of Jesus in light of Francis' commitment."

   The text engages the reader from the first chapter, The Allure of St. Francis, using a style of "lively back-and-forth exchange between the message of this medieval saint and the questions facing our church today."

   In addition to all of its inherent value, this book also holds for us - the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany - a personal connection in its very brief but beautiful dedication by John Bohrer, a Camden diocesan priest. It reads:


"For those who have shown me Franciscan hospitality:

Rosemarie Kolmer, OSF, Fr. Terry M. Odien, and Bishop Joseph A. Galante"


   We could say that in honoring our sister, Rosemarie, we have all been honored because hopefully where one of us is, so also are we all, rejoicing in one another's joys and gifts, as well as supporting one another at times of sorrow and burdens.  


February Dare to Image: Gratitude

   As we, the members of the Franciscan Federation, prepare for our Sabbath year let us, individually and communally, enter into prayerful contemplation. May this Sabbath time awaken the unfolding mystery and the challenge before us. May we Dare to Image! 
- Choose a song or instrumental music to enter into stillness. 
- Spend five minutes in contemplative stillness. 
- Read the monthly invitation to prayer and reflection. 
- After reflection on the scripture share with another, in community or with a group. 
- Enter once again into contemplative stillness, 
- reflect on the Dare to Image exercise with five minutes of silence. 
- Share the image or experience that comes to mind. 
- Conclude by reverencing this sacred time and the "tent" you have been under.

FEBRUARY - Consider and reflect: What are the blessings of living the Gospel in the spirit of Francis and Clare? Consider the Word, "...we shall receive a hundredfold blessing now in this time." (Mk 10:30) " first God's kindom and all will be given to you." (Mt 6:33)  In your mind's eye Dare to Image: GRATITUDE

   What insights have come to you or your group, cluster, local community in this contemplative sharing?  Share your insights and reflections by emailing them to Denise Bunk-Hatch at

   We'll share your insights in our FSA newsletter and will also send them to the Franciscan Federation for their Musings newsletter.


Dare to Image Reflection: Relationships

By: Rose Bernhardt, OSF


My reflection on peace embraced relationships - my relationship with God, with others and all of creation.  The song, Peace is Flowing Like a River, came to my mind which placed me in a beautiful, peaceful setting where I looked out upon the water flowing down stream.  While sitting there I pondered the words of the song:

     "Peace is flowing like a river,

     flowing out of you and me,

     flowing out into the desert,

     setting all the captives free."


   My reflection follows:

   Peace flows out of you and me and touches all who are in relationship with us/me.  This peace in us/me which comes from my relationship with a loving God, flows into the lives of the people of God who are captives in many and varied ways are set free.  It is a loving God who gives us peace, and we are the instruments God uses to draw others out of fear, darkness, doubt, anguish etc.


Dare to Image Reflection: Peace
By: Carol Kenyon, OSF

   We, in the Ritiro, met for the January Sabbath Rest on January 20. I personally was very distracted, preoccupied, restless, and feeling impatient. Try as I might I couldn't get into the prayer. Toward the end, before the final sharing, when I felt it should already be over, I opened my eyes, looked around, and realized everyone else seemed to be there (wherever there is) deep in prayer.

   Just observing the Sisters 'being present to God' relaxed me enough to allow the Spirit to also draw me into that same Sabbath rest.

   I can't remember what anyone shared. But perhaps the words weren't as important as the experience of being in God together and becoming, in God, the peace we dare to image.


Dare to Image Reflection: Celebration of Life

By: Helen Roberts, OSF


   The blessings of the Sabbath tent during the month of January were a gift from God. The beauty of winter "peace" was overwhelming. Having been through the death of my oldest sister, Rita, before Christmas, God blessed me with a snowstorm to keep me indoors and use the time and beauty for "sabbath."
   The theme of "peace" and the scripture readings were gifts of inward contemplation, time to reflect on life,death and resurrection. Resurrection is a "new rising, new vision, new life, new Gospel witness".

   Our funeral liturgy for Rita was the "Celebration of Life" that all who attended had never witnessed before. Gratitude, joy, happiness and hope in our living God helped us to know that "God provides" for all our needs, prayers, concerns.
   Providing for the future needs of the Franciscan Federation will depend on our discernment, prayer, involvement,and study of the needs of the church and the people of God.
   Deep faith and trust in what the Spirit is calling us to do and become will continue to bring each Franciscan to "peace." Both Francis and Clare encouraged each follower to "walk in a contemplative stance." That blessing is timeless, and we are the recipients of that "peace."     


 From the Archives


   At this month's Archives presentation, the sisters had a wonderful discussion of the many ministries in Florida in which they had participated over the years. In addition to several hospitals, the Allegany Franciscans ran 15 separate schools. This picture is from one of those schools: Corpus Christi in Miami. Taken in the 1950s, the picture shows an unidentified sister teaching a very large class. The sisters said that large class sizes were not unusual in those days; in fact, many sisters remember teaching classes with more than 60 students!


Upcoming deadlines: 

February 15 - Spring Edition Allegany Connections deadline
February 18 - Second edition e-newsletter