In This Issue
Allegany Franciscans Website
FSA Jamaica Website
Like us on Facebook

UPCOMING MEETINGS

CL Meeting
March 7
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

Assemblies

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

Issue 5.04
February 27, 2017
Ash Wednesday (March 1)

Ring the bells of all churches; call the people from near and far; come let us begin the celebration of Lent! This is the image in the reading from Joel - the blaring of the trumpet to gather all people with no one being left out. The prophet Joel was proclaiming a fast, calling people to turn their hearts again to God who is gracious and merciful. 

Each of us must hear this call deep within our  heart and begin anew. Today, Ash Wednesday ushers us into deeper attentiveness and mindfulness to the presence of God within us and around us. 

Let us enter this sacred time in the spirit of Francis and Clare as humble penitents, reliant on the mercy and goodness of God. As penitents let us embody the love of the Crucified Christ and be the image and presence of Divine Love. Let us fast from hatred, violence, prejudice, and fear so the Kindom of God may be made visible in our world.

Dwelling Place of NY celebrates 40th anniversary
By: Joann Sambs, CSA, President, The Dwelling Place of NY

   The Dwelling Place of NY marks its 40th anniversary in 2017. In 1977, five Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, with the support of congregational leadership, opened the doors to the first resident, Ida, on October 4. These sisters, Ann Regina (Lynne Sennett), Sally Cox, Bernadette Mullin (Geraldine Mullin), Rita Foegen, and Nancy Chiarello, founded this ministry in response to the heartbreaking sight of homeless women digging through their garbage for food. At that time in New York City homeless women were kept in the shadows with little provision for care and city services. The Dwelling Place became a safe haven for thousands of homeless women, some as temporary residents receiving safe shelter, nourishing meals and guidance to meet their needs until they could secure more permanent housing. Others were daily visitors who could come for a meal, take a warm shower, and find guidance and companionship for part of their day.
   The ministry of The Dwelling Place has evolved over the years to meet the ever-changing face of homelessness. Yet its mission remains steadfast, to offer safe shelter and individualized care, support, and guidance to homeless women as they build a sustainable, self-supported lifestyle that transitions them from homeless to home.
    A new logo for The Dwelling Place has been created in honor of this anniversary. The logo is now incorporated in all communications, on the pages of the website, and displayed as banners on the front and side walls of the building on 40th Street.
   The logo was created by artist, Father Michael Reyes, OFM, in collaboration with Michael Meyerowitz, a graphic designer assisting the staff during this anniversary year. The logo expresses the essence of the service offered: loving hands embracing and lifting the face of a woman, a woman at peace and empowered. She is rising above the trauma of homelessness to welcome a new beginning much like the lotus flower rising towards the light to bloom with beauty and radiance.
   Several special occasions are being held throughout the year to mark this milestone of service to homeless women. The first of these events, a Founders Celebration and Reception, was held on Thursday, February 23, from 6-8 p.m. in San Damiano Hall, a gathering space provided for this event by the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province located at 129 W. 31st Street in New York City.
   Four of the five original founders were present, Sister Nancy Chiarello, Geraldine Mullin, Sally Cox, and Lynne Sennett. The Board of Directors presented each of these original founders with an engraved statue of St. Francis honoring their vision and courage.  Sister Margaret Mary Kimmins and the entire Franciscan Sisters of Allegany leadership team were also present and given a similar engraved gift honoring 40 years of support received from the sponsoring community.    Over 140 guests representing staff, board members, colleagues from supportive agencies, members of the Allegany community, other religious men and women from the local area, volunteers, and benefactors joined in the celebration.
   The event was also the setting for introducing the 40th Anniversary Appeal, a campaign to raise $250,000 during 2017 to support the on-going ministry of The Dwelling Place.
   Other events being planned include participation in the 9th Avenue Street Fair and International Food Festival May 20 - 21, the Annual Fall Gala October 19, and a Mass of Thanksgiving to be held on Sunday, November 12, at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 135 W. 31st Street, New York, NY.

Allegany Franciscans in Guinea-Bissau

    Sisters Aldenir Mota Ribeiro and Maria da Paz de Jesus are currently in Bafata, Africa, on a Mission trip with Nova Aliança . The Sisters have said there is a great deal of poverty and suffering in the town, which is located in central Guinea-Bissau. We will share more of their experience when they return home - please continue your prayerful support for them and for the group they are traveling with (pictured).
 
Tampa Sisters hold Day of Recollection
By: Miriam Nogales Vargas OSF

   The local covenant community in Tampa gathered at the Franciscan Convent on February 26. Instead of a regular meeting, the Sisters had a day of recollection using a Lenten theme, prepared by Nancy Christopher. 
    At the end of the day, Nancy served a King Cake, a popular custom in New Orleans as a pre-Lenten celebration of Mardi Gras. The custom is to bake a King Cake and to place a tiny plastic baby inside.  It is a tradition that whoever receives the baby in their slice of king cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party. The King Cake is made of a cinnamon filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle.  It is the preferred dessert and snack in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
    Nancy decided that whomever found the tiny baby in their slice of cake would prepare the recollection day next year. Mary Ellen Tucker was the lucky winner and was crowned Queen!
It is also believed that she would have a year of blessings and good luck.

National Catholic Sisters Week

   National Catholic Sisters Week (NCSW), the fourth annual celebration of women religious taking place March 8-14, 2017, announces a record number of events planned across the country to celebrate the remarkable contributions of Catholic sisters, in tandem with National Women's History Month. 
   The week is intended to honor the nation's 47,170 Catholic sisters and all who have gone before - founders of schools and hospitals, artists and activists, first responders and spiritual guides for all walks of life.    "Catholic sisters don't seek the spotlight," said Molly Hazelton, site director of NCSW, headquartered at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. "Humility is in their DNA. But we know that raising awareness of their ministries can inspire the masses, and that's what we're aiming to do. In a time when there isn't much good news, we need more than ever to hear stories of how they help and heal a fractured country." 
   Nationwide events - small and large - are being planned for the week of March 8-14 to celebrate the profound impact of Catholic sisters. The gatherings include panels, pilgrimages, and service projects. Many are grassroots; others are formally organized, funded by 67 - $1,000 mini-grants awarded by St. Catherine to enable the message of NCSW to travel in broader, more robust ways. Grant recipients range from Pittsburgh to Santa Cruz, from Dubuque to San Antonio, honoring a host of religious communities: Dominicans, Franciscans and Benedictines, Sisters of Charity and Sisters of Providence, and many others.
   NCSW is intended to amplify the rich legacy of women religious, to illuminate their current ministries and to spotlight the young women who are continuing to pursue religious life. About 100 enter every year at an average age of 32. To learn more about NCSW, visit www.nationalcatholicsistersweek.org

Are you or your parish/ministry/organization doing anything to recognize National Catholic Sisters Week? Please email Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director, at denise.bunk-hatch@fsallegany.org and let us know! 

God's True Name
By: Liz Schumacher OSF

   Fr. Dan Horan, OSF was the presenter for the Inter-Franciscan Formation Conference held at Graymoor in Garrison, NY, in November 2016. What follows are notes from Fr. Dan's lectures taken during the conference.    
   My hope is to convey important concepts Fr. Dan covered which may be of help to others, as Franciscans, in order to gain a deeper understanding of  Franciscan prayer and contemplation.  I hope I have not misstated anything. This review is in three parts, and what follows is part one.
 
Part One:  GOD'S TRUE NAME
 
   Fr. Dan Horan, OSF, begins by referring to the starting point for all Franciscan prayer: God (the Father) and draws our attention to the very name of God.  Contrary to popular belief,  God's name is not "I am who am" [EX 3:14] or all the names for God in the bible.  God's name is in fact: RELATIONSHIP. 
    At the very opening of the book of  Genesis we read that: "In the beginning... the earth was formless and empty...and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." [GN 1: 1-2 NIV].   Spirit of God,Ruah in Hebrew, means "breath of God".  In Fr. Dan's words "God creates by getting near" after which he says "let there be light".
  When the prophets are initially called by God, their first response is "No thanks!".  (What a relief! How many times have I/we said no thanks?).   Moses actually attempts to escape God's call five times.  Moses and the burning bush story in Exodus, Chapter 3, is attempt number five. 
    Of significance in this passage is not that the bush does not burn but, that Moses tries to trick God in a way, to get out of doing what God wants.  Moses does this by saying to God in effect "When I go to the Israelites they will ask me 'who sent you'? so who do I say that you are?" knowing full well that Jews are not permitted to utter God's name.      
    God responds "I am who am" [EX 3:14] but that is not all God says. God also says "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you'".  "This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation".  [EX 3:15].  In other words, the God of the past, present and future, the one who is with you, the one who is 'RELATIONSHIP'.
    In Genesis 2:7 the Lord forms us from the dust/dirt of the earth, what everything on earth is formed from, but then he breathes into us.  We are the ones God wants to be part of.  In Hebrews 1:1-6 (the second reading for Christmas Day), we see that the God-self has entered the world:  "In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son". And in the Christmas Day Gospel of John 1:1-18 we hear that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" and that "no one has ever seen God.  The only Son, God who is at the Father's right side (a sign of equivalence) has revealed him". Jesus now makes God's self known to us; therefore, to know God, look at the Son. 
    There are two reflection questions to consider here: 1) "How do I understand the name of God" and 2) "What images reveal how I relate to God?"  

Watch for Sr. Liz's next installment, coming to a future e-newsletter!

What Went on in the Desert - Thoughts on the Lenten Experience

   Arlene McGannon, Vice President of Mission for St. Joseph's Hospital, will present "What Went on in the Desert - Thoughts on the Lenten Experience" on Tuesday, March 14 at the Franciscan Center, Inc., from noon to 1 p.m. as part of the Center's "Lunch and Learn" series.
   There is so much symbolism and meaning in the Lenten journey. This presentation will reflect on three desert experiences -- the one of the Israelites, the one of Jesus, and our own.
   Arlene is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. She is a published author whose previous publications include two pamphlet series for Liguori Publications titled Seasons of Age and Signs for the Journey. Arlene has spoken at local, national and international conferences on topics related to faith and spirituality. 
   Registration and $20 down payment is required by March 10. For more information, visit www.franciscancentertampa.org.
 


Upcoming deadlines: 

March 8 - First edition e-newsletter
March 22 - Second edition e-newsletter