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Allegany Franciscans Website
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UPCOMING MEETINGS

November 29 - 
Congregational Leadership
November 30 - 
Contemplative Day at Mt. Irenaeus
December 8 - 
Congregational Leadership
December 15 - 
Congregational Leadership

Issue 4.21
November 28, 2016
Colorful Quilts on Display at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse

On Thursday, November 17, Motherhouse Sisters and employees were treated to a display of beautiful hand made quilts created by Sr. Ellen MacDonell (pictured), her sister-in-law, Yvonne MacDonell, and Motherhouse employees Debbie Mohr and Dee Marvin. An autumn-themed quilt was raffled off after the Quilt Show, and was won by Sr. Mary Arghittu.

Inter-Franciscan Formation Conference
By: Liz Schumacher OSF

   Who would have thought that one of the best ways to live through election week would be to attend the Inter-Franciscan Formation Conference at the Graymoor Retreat Center in Garrison, N.Y. Perched high upon the side of a steep slope sits a fortress of a building with vistas of the Hudson River and mountains in autumn splendor. This is Graymoor, home to the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. 
    The Inter-Franciscan Formation Conference is held twice a year, in March and November for those Franciscans in initial formation. The conference itself is run collaboratively by the formation directors of the congregations attending. Fr. Ron Pecci, OFM, of the Holy Name Province, is its coordinator.  Lucy Cardet, OSF, and I had the privilege of attending.
    This year's fall conference began in late afternoon on Election Day (November 8) and ended with lunch on Friday, November 11. There were breaks enough to check up on the news if one wished but this information was kept low-key and did not invade the program's flow or tone.  It was as if everyone sensed that the greater import was in the conference itself.  
   And what a conference it was!  How timely and timeless the topic: "Prayer and Contemplation in the Franciscan Tradition" by Fr. Dan Horan, OFM (from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL) presented in his lively and humorous way.  (For more on Fr. Dan's talk, see the Franciscan Spirituality page on the FSA website). How fortunate too to have this (rare) occasion to gather, meet, share, and celebrate with First, Second, and Third Order religious as one Franciscan-Clarian family. 
    There were over 55 religious attending the program, one of the largest groups in recent years. Among those participating were: OFMs (Holy Name Province, Silver Springs, MD);  OFM Caps. (Province of St. Mary, Brooklyn, NY and Province of St. Augustine, Pittsburg, PA); TORs (Sacred Heart Province, Loretto, PA); Felicians (Enfield, CT), FHMs (Harlem, NY); FMSCs (Peekskill, NY); OSFs (Allegany, NY and Neumann Communities, Syracuse, NY); and Poor Clares (Chesterfield, NJ; Langhorne, PA; Omaha, NE and Wappingers Falls, NY). 
    Each day began and ended with prayers led by a different congregation. Fr. Dan's lectures, two or three per day, interspersed with periods for individual reflection as well as small group sharing and large group discussions. 
    The night after the election Sr. Jeanine, one of the Felician directors, suggested coming together for a period of silent prayer to pray for elected leaders and for unity in the country.  Everyone came together following a break after the evening prayer to participate in the silence.   How powerful it was - a fitting antidote to the upheaval we learned was occurring around the nation.
    During the last evening together there was a talent show with skits, music, singing, story telling and jokes on tap, and was all evidence that indeed - "Franciscans got talent"!  This was followed by pizza and fellowship.
   On the last morning together, Fr. Dan turned the discussion to how, as  Franciscans, we are called to respond to what may lie ahead with regard to the election results and the pressing concerns  of our day such as immigration and freedom of expression (not to mention health care, wealth inequality, care for the earth, and torture). Uniformly the consensus is that daily prayer and contemplation is the first response after which we need to get to work asking "What is mine/ours to do?".
  At Graymoor God's astounding, bountiful grace can come through more clearly to us than when we are in our familiar home routine. And it comes with the unfolding of everything that happens there: through the people, the presentations and nature. On the final morning, just before the sun rose, those on the winding early morning walk up the path to the summit of the mount above the retreat center could be seen:  silent figures, shadow silhouettes rising slowly against the expansive orange hues of a promised sunrise. Magnificent.    

The Last Hooray
By: Elizabeth Moore OSF 

  In the spring of 2016, Nan Doherty, principal of St. John Baptist High School on Long Island, where I taught for 27 years, called to inform me I was to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in October for my many years of coaching the cheerleaders. The ceremony took place on October 10 at the Homecoming game, which was also the school's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
   That Friday at 10:30 a.m. I went to the pep rally and heard the principal saying, "We have an honored guest here with us this morning who started the first Homecoming, Pep Rallies, confetti, balloons, pancake breakfasts, Powder Puff games, homemade cheering outfits (which I couldn't have done without the help of Sr. Pat Klemm). She is known better as "Moe Pete" (for Maureen Peter)." When he said that, the people in the stands stood up and stamped their feet, clapped their hands and chanted, "Moe Pete! Moe Pete! Moe Pete!" Tears ran down my face.
   Sunday morning opened with 10 a.m. Mass and the singing was wonderful. Then followed the pancake breakfast, which was delicious. I met so many people I had taught many years ago; some even came from out of state.
   When my turn came for the induction, Mr. Brian Maher, a former teacher at St. John Baptist, delivered a speech ending with, "If St. John Baptist had its own Mt. Rushmore, it could be fair to say that Sr. Elizabeth Moore, OSF, would be one of the faces etched in stone. [She is] only the second person to be in both the SJB Hall of Fame and the SJB Athletic Hall of Fame." 

St. Elizabeth Mission Society offers Christmas Mass cards
By: Connie Cooper, Communications Coordinator, St. Elizabeth Mission Society    

   Send your special prayer blessings to friends or loved ones this Christmas with Christmas Mass enrollment cards from St. Elizabeth Mission Society. As members of the Mission Society, their intentions will be remembered at Christmas Eve Mass and in other Masses celebrated throughout the year in the Motherhouse Chapel. They will also share in the prayers and good works of our Sisters in Brazil, Bolivia, Jamaica, and the United States.
    As a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, the St. Elizabeth Mission Society shares in its spiritual aims, one of which is to advance the awareness of God's love. Donations given for the cards are used to support the ministries of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany who work to educate, heal, clothe, and feed those who are desperately poor in Jamaica, Bolivia, Brazil, and the United States.
    Christmas as well as various other enrollment cards may be ordered online at www.FranciscanHope.org/store/products . Others may wish to call the St. Elizabeth Mission Society office at (716) 373-1130 or to e-mail the staff at steliz.pubications@fsallegany.org  for more information about ordering the enrollment cards. 

Card 1 - Motherhouse Chapel
Inside message:  And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace ~ Isaiah 9:6
"May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus, be with you now and always."
Card 2 - O Holy Night
Inside message:  May the love that came that holy night light all your days with hope and joy.
"Merry Christmas!"

Franciscan Spirituality Videos
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director
 
 
   Beginning in mid-December, a Franciscan Spirituality focused video will be featured each month in the e-newsletter, as well as online on the website and on Facebook. These videos, which speak to Franciscan values such as care for the poor and love for creation, were created by Sr. Liz Schumacher under the guidance of the Franciscan Spirituality Committee.
   "The central focus of the Franciscan Spirituality Committee during the whole of its existence has been to focus upon or highlight the Franciscan values/charisms that shape our way of life," Sr. Liz said. "Our sisters have a depth of experience working in ministry and being a part of a community where these charisms are lived."  
   The Franciscan Spirituality Committee wanted to take advantage of this unique ministry experience to highlight the charisms of Franciscan Spirituality, and decided to produce short videos of Sisters telling their stories.  "For each sister videoed, the question was essentially the same:  'Tell me about a time you witnessed a Franciscan charism happening'," Sr. Liz explained. 
   Out of that question came a variety of answers, which will be shared with the public in December, January, February, March, and April. 

Chapter Reflection
By: Anne Martin Robonie OSF   

   The challenge that has often come to my mind is "Transforming Change"...who am I in my ministry?  How can I fit into the lives of the people I come in touch with? 
 
1. Being intercultural in visioning, in relating to others, being inclusive of all. Knowing that my community is an intercultural community. I can't say..." I am an American Community.  You must learn English."
2. Being more inclusive and open to the other nationalities around me. "Do I even want to greet the stranger?"
3. With my sisters, see them, listen to them, walk with them. My change has to start at home.
4. Being open to the beggar.  Look into their eyes.  Help them if I can.
 
   The other day, I had this experience. A beggar came up to the car while I was waiting for a sister.  He asked for 50 cents to complete his need for bus fare. I looked for change and found a dollar and a few more coins which I gave to him.  He asked if I was a Christian and I said yes and gave him my name. His was David. I said that I would pray for him now and we joined hands.  I prayed the Our Father thinking that he would join me. And then he prayed for me.  He asked Father God to bless me and thanked God for sending such a nice lady.
   Upon reflection, I felt that God had visited me in this encounter.  Who was the giver and who the receiver? This has changed me.  I feel this is what Chapter is about.

Forgiveness
Reflections from the Franciscan Spirituality Committee
By: Pat Klemm OSF  

   A few weeks  ago I was driving from New York City to Allegany  and I heard of the terrible attack in Orlando where 50 people, without rhyme or reason, were assassinated. Shortly thereafter horrendous tragedies occurred in quick succession in Nice, France, Dallas, TX, and Baton Rouge, LA. Too many have been slaughtered unjustly due to hatred and misguided loyalty.
    I have asked myself: "How does one talk of forgiveness without speaking to God, Allah, a Divine Presence, an inner strength to help us heal the senseless wounds and free us from the spirit of anger, depression, and retaliation?"  It is not easy!
    Forgiveness does not result in an instant cure as a pill that removes pain quickly. Forgiveness calls us to let go of all our negative sentiments - not simply with our own strength - but by allowing the love and mercy of God to fill our minds and hearts. It may take a life time to truly forgive. But we must never stop trying.  Rather, let us follow Jesus' example when he says: "Ask and you will receive."  Our task is to beg for forgiveness so that the toxins that infringe on our well-being and our relationship with God and others may be transformed into health of mind, body and spirit.
    Both Jesus and Francis had to seek forgiveness, not allowing the words and actions of others to control their lives. Jesus, abused physically and verbally, responded with love, silence, and forgiveness:  "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."  When Francis' brothers seemed to disregard his dream and chose to walk a different path, he continued to respond to them with compassion, concern and loving forgiveness.
    Perhaps it is in the cave of forgiveness that we meet our true selves and realize our hidden resentment and anger.  Like Jesus and Francis we must repeatedly acknowledge, ask, and seek the Mercy of God.
    "To forgive our enemies does not lie within our power.  That is a Divine gift."  (Henri Nouwen "Show Me the Way")

socialmedia-keyboard.jpg Website update
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director

   As is normal in the world of communications, the Congregational website is constantly evolving. Recently, we made some modifications to the Allegany Franciscans web page, and we are excited to share them with you. 

1.) Reconnect with a Sister - This page, located under the heading of "Contact Us", makes it easier than ever for individuals to re-establish connections with Sisters they have met through the years. The page prompts the user to provide specific information, such as religious name, ministry, and year served that make it easier to identify which Sister the individual is searching for. Click here to see the Reconnect with a Sister form.

2.) Request a Prayer - Under the heading "Prayer", users now find a convenient form to fill out for submitting prayer requests. This page allows them to select which House of Prayer their prayer request is sent to, and makes it easier to forward these inquiries on to the appropriate location. Click here to see the Request a Prayer form. 

   As always, your feedback and ideas are encouraged and appreciated. Please send them to Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director, at denise.bunk-hatch@fsallegany.org
 


Upcoming deadlines: 

December 7, 2016 - December e-newsletter
Please note that due to the timing of the Christmas holiday, there will be only one e-newsletter in the month of December.