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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 3.22
December 14, 2015

The coming of the Lord is near! 
Advent Mystery

"The Advent mystery is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ." - Thomas Merton

"Here in time we are celebrating the eternal birth which God the Father[Mother] bore and bears unceasingly in eternity because the same birth is now born in time in human nature." Meister Eckhart
   God is now giving birth to Christ in us. God is eternally giving birth and engaging each of us in this lifelong process of birthing Christ. Theologically and mystically, Eckhart says that what happened in the Incarnation is eternally going on, the Word made flesh is to happen in our individual lives, in our flesh, in our time, in our place, in our culture. Then he asks: What good is it if this eternal birth does not take place in me? What good is it if I don't give birth to the Christ in my time and in my culture?
     We, each one of us, are living, struggling advents...each of us c oming to and preparing for...for what? "The beginning of the end"...of all in us that is not yet Christ.
   This is our journey!
    St. Paul already revealed this to us over 2000 years ago (Cor. 15). In Christ we shall all be brought to life. Christ, the first fruits, then comes the end when Christ hands the Kingdom over to his God and Father. When he has destroyed every sovereignty and power, for he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy, which is death...when everything has been subjected to God, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
    "The Advent mystery is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ."
So all things are yours, but you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

Focus on Francis: Hospitality
By: Arlene McGannon, Vice President of Mission, St. Joseph's Hospitals
This is the first in a series of reflections distributed by Arlene to St. Joseph's Team Members. The next two parts will be featured in upcoming e-newsletters. 

   Early in Francis' spiritual conversion, on the road outside of Assisi, he encountered a leper. This person represented everything that society-and Francis-considered repulsive. Francis summoned the courage to embrace the leper, and his life was changed forever.
   From that day forward, Francis graciously welcomed every person and every creature he encountered. He saw it as an opportunity to meet and serve God. He and his band of brothers always welcomed a traveler or person in need into their midst, and were willing to share what little they had with them.
   Hospitality is a hallmark of Franciscan spirituality-being open to each person whom God is sending to us each day, being willing to share all we have with others, helping every individual to feel welcome among us. Every encounter, whether at the bedside, in the elevator, in the cafeteria, in the parking garage or hallways is an opportunity to extend hospitality and be of service.
   Let's be aware of the many chances we have each day to greet someone, help someone, smile at someone. In the Franciscan spirit of hospitality, all should feel welcome here.
Christmas Gathering at Mt. Ephraim
By: Mary Lou Lafferty, OSF

   The NJ/NY Clusters celebrated their third Christmas Gathering and, to no one's surprise, it was an evening of good food and good fun! We started our time together with one of Kathy Maire's enjoyable ice-breakers while we feasted on delicious appetizers and delightful drinks. The evening proceeded with an activity called "Dress the Elves" created by our self-appointed activity directors, Bernadette Schuler and Avril Chin Fatt.  Dee Aherne (Most Silly), Kay Aherne (Most Creative) and Catherine Kane (Most Spiritual) were good sports and allowed their team members to create their outfits! The evening continued with a buffet supper and the traditional Yankee Swap. These times are great community builders  whether partying, finding a spot to rest your body for the evening, or enjoying breakfast the morning after! FSA can always make it work! As all departed, we decided "Same Time and Place Next Year!"  Merry Christmas to All!

Sisters take part in NYC Global Climate March
Submitted by: Gloria Oehl, OSF

   Sisters Kathie Uhler and Gloria Oehl participated in the New York City Global Climate March around City Hall in Manhattan on Sunday, November 29.  There were three large banners carried by some Catholic marchers with quotes from Pope Francis' encyclical, "Laudato Si".  Sisters of various Congregations, as well as Franciscans from several parts of the family, were involved along with thousands of others.  The Global Climate March was part of a worldwide movement organized by climate groups and activists who wanted to show world leaders and delegates attending the Paris Climate Summit that they were paying attention.

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National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend

   December 14 is the third anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting. LCWR and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence are once again joining with the Newtown community for the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, December 10-14. Partnerships like these seek to continue educating people of faith about what is working to save lives in communities across the country and to encourage elected officials to act, locally and federally. Faiths United is once again encouraging congregations, local communities, and parishes to be counted among those observing the 2015 commemoration. Event ideas, sample services, and educational flyers are available at

News from the Vatican
  • The Jubilee Year of Mercy began on December 8, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II. Resources including Pope Francis' words about "Jesus: The Face of God's Mercy," "Mercy: the Beating Heart of the Gospel," and "Mercy: Demands Justice" are available at
  • The World Day of Peace is celebrated annually on January 1. The theme of Pope Francis's message for the 2016 World Day of Peace is "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace." In his message the Holy Father urges all to replace isolation with community and indifference with solidarity. He challenges families, schools, and other institutions to foster awareness and avenues for response to problems such as intolerance, religious persecution, slavery, war, and the plight of refugees. A two-page handout for use with parishes, families, and schools is available at

Upcoming deadlines: 

December 23, 2015 - Second edition e-newsletter