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The Franciscan Spirituality Committee now has a blog! All current and previous reflections can be found there.
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Did you know that a daily reflection is posted on our Facebook page, or that it is also shared with a Portuguese translation by our Sisters in Brazil? Take a look! 
Issue 4.02
January 25, 2016
Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (January 28)

Today we celebrate the life and work of Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Doctor of the Church. Thomas entered the Dominican order at the age of nineteen, against his family's wishes. He was sent to Paris, and then to Cologne, for further studies. The Dominicans at the time were in the forefront of intellectual life and in the natural sciences. Thomas was preoccupied with questions about  God, the angels, and man. Yet there can be no doubt that his approach to metaphysical problems was through the physical sciences. Like St. Paul, he firmly believed that the invisible things of God are seen through his visible creation, provided it is rightly understood (Romans 1:20).

We celebrate his life and this feast with all our Dominican sisters and brothers. May we too be preoccupied with God!

"Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate." - Thomas Aquinas

Focus on Francis: Poverty
By: Arlene McGannon, Vice President of Mission, St. Joseph's Hospital
This is the fourth in a series of reflections distributed by Arlene to St. Joseph's Team Members. 
   Most people would certainly agree that poverty is not a desirable thing. It creates many hardships in people's lives and is a condition that society should work to eliminate.
   Yet Francis of Assisi chose "Lady Poverty" as his companion in life. He saw "her" as the means by which he could arrive at true holiness. Reading in the Scriptures that Jesus "emptied himself and took the form of a slave," Francis wanted to do the same. His whole life was an effort to imitate Jesus as closely as possible. And so he owned nothing, sought to control nothing, and saw himself as superior to no other creature. By choosing to embrace Lady Poverty, Francis gained the only wealth that really mattered to him.
   Francis realized how easily our "riches" can make us feel better than others, when no such distinction exists in God's view. Francis chose to look through God's eyes at what really makes a person wealthy.
   How about us? How can we choose to be a little more poor in spirit so we can gain the riches that really matter?
Franciscan Care for Creation Committee
By: Liz Schumacher, OSF

   On January 18, 2016, Sr. Liz Schumacher attended  the second meeting of the Franciscan Care for Creation Committee, led by Sr. Sharon Goodremote, FSSJ.  The Franciscan Care for Creation Committee is made up of representatives from the Franciscan congregations in Western New York which formed to further the Pope's initiatives set forth in Laudato Si
    The group decided that in honor of Earth Day 2016,  events should be developed to honor "Sister Water".  Three events are planned in each of the three Western New York regions: Niagara; Buffalo; and the Southern Tier.  Each region will hold a prayer service along with at least two short presentations on:  1) Finding your water footprint (determining how much water a person uses and misuses in a day) and 2) the problems of using bottled water.
    Sr. Liz , with Sisters Melissa Scholl and Joyce Ramage, are spearheading the efforts for the Alleganies in the Southern Tier.  Saturday April 23, at Franchot Park in Olean they hold the event "Honoring Our Sister Water" at 11 a.m. Stay tuned for more information.

ICCR featured on PBS Religion and Ethics segment
By: Gloria Oehl, OSF

   As members of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, the Allegany Franciscans participate in ICCR efforts and meetings. ICCR was featured in a segment on the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on Sunday Night. It features ICCR staff, board members, and Cathy Rowan, representative of Maryknoll Sisters to Tri-CRI. The segment is available here:

St. Anthony Convent hosts dinner for benefactor
By: Margaret Mary Foley, OSF

   The Sisters at St. Anthony Convent in St. Petersburg, FL, hosted a dinner party for St. Anthony's Hospital benefactors.  The benefactors purchased  a "Dinner with the Sisters" at St. Anthony's Hospital annual fundraising auction Gala for $7,000.  All of the proceeds benefit St. Anthony's Hospital.  Hospital team members from the Foundation assisted our sisters in preparing the meal. We began our party in the Convent Chapel with prayer and then had a delicious dinner in the dining room.  We enjoyed the fellowship and hearing the joyful conversation from the group.
A Note from the Communications Office: 

As you are already aware, the Communications Office has been working to move our website - - to a new, more user-friendly platform. As of today, the website is still not completely transferred. As a result, you may still see the old website, or an error message, when accessing the above website address. I will send a message via the daily Varia to the congregation, as well as put a post on Facebook, as soon as it is up and running properly. Thank you for your patience - I know this will be worth the wait!

Denise Bunk-Hatch, 
Communications Director

Upcoming deadlines: 

February 3, 2016 - First edition e-newsletter
February 15 - Spring edition, Allegany Connections
February 17, 2016 - Second edition e-newsletter