In This Issue
Allegany Franciscans Website
FSA Jamaica Website
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CL Meeting
April 3

FSA Board of Directors Meeting
March 15-20
General Commission
May 8-9 St. Clare's, Tampa
Franciscan Spirituality
March 13th - Zoom call
July 7-9 St. Clare's, Tampa

FABS Meeting
April 17-19, Reading, PA


March 25, 26 - Allegany
April 1, 2 - New Jersey
April 20-23 - Brazil
April 22, 23 - Tampa
April 29, 30 - Jamaica

Issue 5.05
March 13, 2017
 St. Patrick's Day (March 17)

I arise today  
through the strength of heaven, the light of the sun,
the radiance of the moon, the splendor of fire,
the speed of lightning, the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth,
the firmness of rock.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity 
Through belief in the Threeness,                       through confession of the Oneness  of the Creator of creation.

St. Patrick's Breastplate, an ancient Celtic prayer, contains many elements of our Franciscan spirituality, seeing the unity of God's Divine Life through all of creation, and the dynamic relationship of the centrality of Christ and of the Trinity. Let us arise today!
Bona's Women's Overnight at Mt. Irenaeus 
By: Liz Schumacher OSF

   On February 10th the biannual St. Bonaventure women students' overnight retreat was held at Mt Irenaeus. The evening began up at the Mount with about 17 women from the University and yours truly gathering in the great room at the main house around 5 pm. It was a snowy trek up the mountain for this retreat but all arrived safely (somehow!) avoiding the side ditches and wrong turns.  Joining  us for the welcoming meeting were friars Fr. Lou and Bro. Joe. Introductions were made all around with Bro. Joe inviting all to "go deep" with one another as this was a unique time to get to know others with quality time away from the usual routine of school.   
    After introductions, student retreat leader Sarah Costello, a sophomore education major, led the group in a creative icebreaker which required imagination along with a bit of physical dexterity.   Then the hors d'oeuvres (chips and dip) came out as most of the women gravitated to the kitchen to help make supper. The rest of us moved to the fireplace area and struck up conversations about school, travel and what everyone is planning to do over the summer.
    Following this, a simple (and delicious)  supper of pasta with chicken and tomatoes was created, accompanied by salad, Italian bread, and more conversation. After cleanup the group assembled outside for a slow, single file, snow-covered contemplative walk upwards to the Chapel. It was breathtaking to watch this progression move silently up the hill from my vantage point at the back of the line. It surely worked to set a prayerful subdued tone for our time in chapel. 
    Once we were settled in place throughout the chapel space there was a reading from scripture on salt and light  (MT 5:13-16), the theme of the retreat, followed by silent reflection. We then gathered in small groups and were given different questions to ponder.  My group's question was unexpected: "How do my failures contribute to my being salt and light to others?" That's turning the usual question "How am I salt and light to others?" on its head!  It was a hard question but a good one deserving a lot of reflection. Our discussion centered on our vulnerabilities.  We all admitted that we do not like to be vulnerable.  We don't like to have to ask for help but that sometimes when we do, we give others the opportunity to respond, that is, our risk is allowing others to be salt and light. 
    Each time I go on these retreats, and especially during the chapel reflection time, I witness the depth of spirituality within each of these women - wow!
    Nearing 10 pm we headed back to the main house and the dessert that awaited us.  That night Sarah and some helpers made "diabetic coma" - as one student referred to it - gooey chocolate brownies with cookies baked right inside.  I admit I had two as they were really good.  Then, I was off to bed while the conversation with most of the women continued into the night.
   The next morning, shortly after the beautiful sunrise, some of the students went outside to feed the birds, right out of their hands. What a sight. This required a calm and peaceful countenance as the slightest agitation would scare all of the birds off. After breakfast the theme of salt and light continued as we all sat around the long dining table and talked while designing a symbol of the salt and light metaphors through art using different  colored salt. After a final prayer and goodbye hugs I headed back to the land of paved roads (only 1 wrong turn!). With thanks to the friars at Mt Irenaeus, the women on the retreat and especially Sarah for her creativity and organization, I am very grateful for the chance to experience this.  

Invitation from Bishop Verot Catholic High School 

   Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, FL, is expanding its Athletic Hall of Fame to include not only former athletes, but former members of the school community who have positively contributed to the history and success of the school over the past 50 years. 
   The school's administration would like to honor the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany as part of this expansion. "We are proud and excited to extend this invitation to the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, the first religious order to administer to the school, along with the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, the second religious administrative order, to be our first inductees into the all-inclusive Bishop Verot Hall of Fame!" said Assistant Principal Bill Stejskal, a 1971 graduate of the school, in an email. 
   The school will include the induction as part of its graduation ceremony in May. 
Interfaith Forum at Olean Meditation Center
By: Margaret Magee OSF   

   On Tuesday, February 28, when most people were celebrating Mardi Gras, a number of interfaith leaders and local community members of the Allegany and Olean area gathered at the Olean Meditation Center on Dugan Road in Olean. They gathered for reflection and sharing on the virtue of compassion and the desire to be open, listening and welcoming in ways that bring healing, respect, and dignity to all people and to all of creation.
    Our sisters, Carole Ann Hoppe, Margaret Mary Kimmins, Pat Klemm, Mary Lou Lafferty, Margaret Magee, Mary Jane Nevins, Goianira Silva, and Chris J. Treichel, along with Margaret Carney OSF, former president of St. Bonaventure University, were in attendance and found the evening informative and engaging. Commenting on the event, Margaret Magee shared, "It is my hope that more gatherings like this will take place so that we may grow in the compassion and deep listening that inspires a genuine acceptance of all people as our sisters and brothers and a true respect and love for all creation."
   The event offered information on The Charter of Compassion which was developed in 2009 to inspire community-based acts of compassion to transform lives throughout the world. Read more, view their video and sign the Charter
    Read more about the Febrauary 28 Interfaith Forum and view photos:

Franciscan Spirituality: Poverty
By: Lucy Cardet OSF    

   "O Come let us adore Him...Christ the Lord."   The Child of Bethlehem was the Incarnation of God's love. His coming was announced by angels to shepherds (marginalized in their day) and his first home was the womb of a young woman whose "yes" to this mysterious wonder was echoed throughout her life and that of countless others. Mary didn't always know to what she was saying "yes", but she knew to Whom she was saying it.   
   This is the poverty - material, human and trusting - that we see in the first Christmas and that captured the heart and imagination of Francis of Assisi. Christ came to be with us and be one of us, so that by his self-emptying poverty, we could become sons and daughters of God, the Source of all joy, love, goodness and peace. He who voluntarily let go, our Brother, became vulnerable for all of us, showed us the way to be fully human. Love was the reason for the Incarnation.
Clare of Assisi's prayer always begins and returns to Christ; his self-emptying is the model for Franciscan life and prayer.  God who is rich in mercy and love, God who bends and draws near, did not hold on to the richness of being divine but entered into our messiness. Let us embrace Jesus who embraces us and enables us to embrace others in their need and to trust in God's goodness.
   When Francis embraced the leper (a real live suffering human being), it "opened his eyes to the reality of the poor living in his midst.  It also spurred him to decide to live among them with only the essentials of life while dedicating himself to their caring: one human being in loving service to another who is in need." *
   Abject material poverty...when people don't have what they need for human thriving: food, affection, community, etc... is an evil, not a good in itself. Evangelical poverty has both personal and social dimensions.  It is about divesting oneself of those things that get in the way of relationship with others.  Poverty is not just about material things.  What is it that separates us? What attitudes, theory, possessions get in the way of our relationships?
In recognizing our own poverty, individual and collective, may we too follow in the footsteps of Jesus the Christ because we too know to Whom we say "yes".
*Michael Cusato, OFM "The Fortunes of Poverty: Minor(ite) Musing on a Medieval Matter"  The Cord (2014)

Bonaventure Women's Basketball Fans 

   Sister Barbara cheered the loudest at the February 18
St.Bonaventure University Women's basketball game and won a pizza!
   Pictured are: Sisters Barbara Bartkowiak, Tuyet Hoang, Sen Nguyen (the Vietnamese sisters staying at the Motherhouse), and Frances O'Dell.

Spring Cleaning!

   Top-to-bottom, room-by-room spring cleaning is underway at the Motherhouse.  Sally, Charlene, Donna, and Martha were coaxed away from their duties long
enough to snap this picture alongside the line of cleaning carts  as they work on the bedrooms on 2 East of the Motherhouse.   
   Thank you to all of our dedicated staff who help keep our Motherhouse in the best possible shape and care for our sisters so well!

Upcoming deadlines: 

March 22 - Second edition e-newsletter