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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 3.12
June 22, 2015
 Pope Francis releases encyclical "Laudato Si" 

Franciscan Federation conference keynote speakers

Left to right: Mary Beth Ingham CSJ, Joe Chinnici OFM, Tom Nairn OFM
Responding to God's Love: A Franciscan Moral Vision
Franciscan Federation Conference, Indianapolis, June 19-21, 2015
By: Margaret Magee OSF


   The following are insights from the three keynote presentations:

   Mary Beth Ingham CSJ stated that Franciscan Discernment, that is, how Franciscans make decisions is very different from strategic planning and is very different from Ignatian discernment.    Ignatian discernment moves in the more orderly fashion of lining things up, looking at the pros and cons. It is a process of coming to a decision with the information gathered then waiting for confirmation. A Franciscan process of discernment emphasizes the centrality of experience, it is acting on the Spirit and being confident in the Spirit's guidance at the moment. This Franciscan way of discernment is grounded in a formed and informed spirituality seen as a path to wholeness where Divine Love and the Abundance of God's grace is always the starting point and the context in which all moral and ethical decisions are made. Mary Beth identified four key elements of Franciscan discernment:

-        see the whole as the locus for beauty - NOT isolating one aspect

-        let oneself be drawn by the heart - NOT turning life into a puzzle or a dilemma

-        focus on praxis and action - NOT seeking an abstract solution

-        follow the Spirit's lead - NOT trying to 'figure it out' on our own

   Tom Nairn OFM spoke of the critical need to understand and live from our Franciscan tradition and teaching of conscience as taught by St. Bonaventure. For Bonaventure conscience is God's herald and messenger. Conscience does not command things on its own authority but commands them as coming from God's authority and wisdom. Bonaventure held that conscience is communal knowledge and is borne of the relationship of Trinitarian love and our call to incarnate Divine Love and make it visible and vibrant in our world today. A Franciscan moral vision will always be counter-cultural. It is the "Portiuncula," the "little church" standing within and before the greater institutional church. It is our call as Franciscans to be prophetic, challenging in pastoral ways the dominant position with humility in non-defensive and non-competitive ways. The moral absolute for Franciscans is always to act out of love, in humility and poverty of self.

   Joe Chinnici OFM focused on poverty as a form of life. Our understanding of poverty has moved from an internalized practice of poverty to a more integrative poverty throughout all of life, in our ministries and our interaction and relationship with the wider world and the real issues of poverty, unemployment, homelessness and the concern for those who are marginalized. We must grow in our stance of being sisters and brothers to all people and all creation.

   When we see ourselves in the relationship of gift, we hold onto nothing, reserve nothing of ourselves and share openly with all. This enables us to appreciate the beauty of all creation and our place within all of creation. The Trinitarian gaze of God, Creator and Redeemer, produces and gives rise to Spirit which is the unity of Divine Love. Franciscans are those who see the world full of the Spirit of Divine Love. Our Franciscan way of life is not to become poor rather it is to dwell in the richness and beauty of infinite Goodness and Divine Love.

   This was a conference rich in the insights and inspiration of our three keynote presenters, the wealth of our gathering as Franciscan sisters and brothers to share our oneness and unity in the charism of the Third Order Regular Rule and Life. Our next Annual Conference will be June 17-20, 2016 in Milwaukee, WI, and marks the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Franciscan Federation.


Franciscan Spirituality Committee Meets

By: Pat Klemm OSF


   The Franciscan Spirituality Committee met June 10th to the 13th at St. Clare's Convent in Tampa, FL. We continued the work we had begun in December. The plans for a Franciscan spirituality retreat are progressing and we hope to have a prototype ready in the Fall. The retreat structured in such a way as to be offered for a day, or it can be done in  two or four individual sessions. We as committee members will be offering it to groups of sisters, associates, and partners or in other groups such as parishes and workplaces. We hope that it will be something that others can then take and use in their own local setting.  We believe that Franciscan Spirituality is one answer to the longing that so many people experience in their lives today. We are aware of the need to find a way to share this with youth and young adults. We are blessed to have Sr. Lucy Cardet from our Formation Ministry to work with us on this effort.

   We are expanding the use of the media, especially through the Blog that has been created and is available through the Congregational webpage, and the Facebook page. We continue to ask for reflections, art, and poetry for this blog. The photos and accompanying reflections done at the congregational assemblies will be published soon. Thank you to all who participated so beautifully in that experience.  

   A reminder to pray the Peace Prayer on Wednesdays will be put on Facebook every week. Cards will continue to be available through the Generalate offices.

   One of the ways we hope to share our Franciscan Spirituality is through the publication of a non-seasonal reflection booklet with writings by the sisters, associates and partners. We have chosen ten social issues that we feel can best be addressed by looking at some Franciscan values related to them. We will continue to work on this booklet in preparation for our next meeting in December.  We are aware that we chose these issues from a USA perspective, but many of them are the same across cultures. Sr. Edir was unable to be with us, but our Brazilians may have some additional input to broaden its scope.

   We are looking for ways to reach out to those living in poverty or on the margins.  We welcome ideas on this form of outreach as well as on anything else we are doing. We continue to recognize the many ways, great and small, that our sisters and associates are already sharing Franciscan Spirituality with those with whom they interact. 


Franciscan Ministries in Jamaica
By Christine Tenn OSF
Originally published in The FrancisClarian

   Franciscan Ministries is organized by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany at Immaculate (Conception) in Jamaica, with Sister Grace Yap as the creative and vibrant director. It is dedicated to serving in the inner city of Kingston, as well as in rural Jamaica. Since its inception in 1994, the Sisters have worked with volunteers from Jamaica and overseas on youth development, healthcare, peace and justice building, and other outreach initiatives. 
   The mission of Franciscan Ministries is to serve the poor, broken, and marginalized, while caring for the environment and providing justice and peace through community development. The vision is to empower individuals and communities to become self-reliant. 
   Current projects include construction of shelters, sponsorship of more than 200 children in schools, and dental and medical care, including surgery by doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital in the parish of St. Andrew. Its youth division seeks to nurture leadership among its members and to operate an organic farm of 61 acres. The Porziuncola Farm in Braes River, St. Elizabeth, has been leased for "peppercorn rent", common parlance for a very low or nominal rent, from a generous benefactor and the produce from this venture is used to feed those in need. 
   Franciscan Ministries has been working in Braes River for the past three years. Recently the community there decided to form an association, the Braes River Community Development Association. Franciscan Ministries makes arrangements for the poor in need of housing to receive shelter through volunteer contributions. Volunteers from the United States and Canada purchase materials needed and construct primarily 12' x 12' wooden houses. 
   "Come Meet a Jamaican Village" is a program focused on creating jobs and improving the district of Braes River, attracting both overseas and local visitors to participate in the festive events of the community. 
   Sr. Grace took a group of us to the Porziuncola Farm. I can't claim that we explored all the 61 acres, but we walked a little of it and observed the progress of the cultivation of vegetables and other produce. Best of all, we experienced the gracious hospitality of the people at the Farm. The Farm does not have electricity, but through the ingenuity and initiative of the wonderful group of young people, a small generator was brought in for the occasion, and Christmas lights were strung up and music provided for a festive celebration. Just about everybody from the neighborhood was present, especially children. A few tables and chairs were set up in the yard and the meal of fish, bammy (cassava flat bread) and sorrel (a traditional Jamaican Christmas drink made from the sorrel flower) was most delicious! 
   The farm has a big challenge ahead, and a long road to travel, but with God's help, the perseverance of the young people, their mentors, and the generous assistance of others, the Porziuncola Farm will be a success. 
   For more information about Franciscan Ministries and their projects, please visit 
Coming soon in Allegany Connections

   Allegany Connections Summer Edition is set to be released on or about July 1! Here is a sneak preview of what you can expect in this issue. 
  • Kathy Maire reflects on Guatemala. "When people hear that I have been going to Guatemala with Global Health every year since 1999, they sometimes ask me if I get bored with the same places, the same problems, and the same exhausting routine.  The truth is that the trips are never the same.  There are always new practitioners, new situations and new possibilities. There is a real joy in reuniting with doctors, nurses and therapists I have known from previous trips in 2006 or 2008, and special reunions with the faithful few who dedicate their time year after year.  The intensity of the work and the consistent reminders of God's presence draws us together and leave us with special bonds." 
  • Kathy Doyle gives us a look at what the Associates have been up to over the past few months. "On Mother's Day weekend the Associate Advisory Committee met in Tampa to review and consider the many thoughts, ideas and hopes that were generated at the joint Associate Advisory Committee and Local Area Coordinator (LAC) meeting held at the end of the Associate 25th Anniversary celebration in Allegany last year and the subsequent Assemblies." 
  • Bidding farewell to Fort Myers, FL: 

  • And more! 
A friendly reminder from the Vocations team

   Don't forget to send your stories and pictures to Jessica Gonzalez at Allegany Franciscan Ministries. We want to share our calling!

   Jessica's phone number is 727-507-9668, and she can be reached by email at

 From the Archives
   In the previous e-newsletter, I invited sisters to join me in the archives to assist with identifying sisters in my older photographs. I'm happy to report that some sisters are responding to the invitation. Pictured are Sister Therese Joyce and myself, reviewing photos from Christ the King School in Haddonfield, NJ, from the 1950s and 1960s. Sister and I spent about an hour together, identifying sisters and learning about her service at the school. It was a wonderful experience for me to be able to sit with Sister and hear about her ministries.
   If you are interested in stopping by the Archives to help me identify photos, please send an email to to set up your appointment!

Upcoming deadlines: 

July 8, 2015 - First July edition e-newsletter
July 22, 2015 - Second July edition e-newsletter