In This Issue
Allegany Franciscans Website
FSA Jamaica Website
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Congregational Leadership
Dec. 15, Jan. 10, and Jan. 24  
Brazil Assembly
December 28 - 31
General Commission
January 13-14
Franciscan Spirituality Committee
January 19-21

Issue 4.22
December 12, 2016
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Our e-newsletter will return on January 16, 2017
Alvernia Prep celebrates 75 years
By: Dixon Lewis, Principal, Mt. Alvernia Prep School

    Seventy five years ago the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY, had a vision and brought it to life with 50 students and two teachers on the property that became known as Alvernia, formerly called Morenga Park and later more familiarly known as "Nuns Pen". The 25-acre property was a donation to the Sisters by Henry D'Aquin, a rich French man. It was originally meant to be the dowry for his two daughters, who decided against marriage and instead entered the convent.
   The name Alvernia was adopted from Mount La Verna, a mountain in Italy where St. Francis of Assisi, our Patron Saint as well as the Patron Saint of the Sisters who are a vital part of our history, would go to contemplate the beauty of God's creation and to pray. Prayer remains a vital and integral part of our daily activities.
     The Franciscan vision, which was to educate students in all aspects of life, has been kept alive since 1941. The institution has grown from the two-room board structure to a two-story concrete structure comprising well-ventilated and spacious classrooms.
     Guided by the principles, policies, and values of our founders , the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany,  as well as the guidelines from the Archdiocesan Education Board and the Ministry of Education's policies, a holistic approach is used in nurturing and enriching the lives of the students entrusted to our care.  Here we endeavor to develop well- rounded individuals with respect for God and all of creation who will become positive nation builders.  We seek to build a community guided by Franciscan values based on the gospel, which fosters and sustains a culture of excellence as a way of life.   
  Our involvement in various events over the years, such as the Jamaica Independent Schools' Association (JISA) Sports, JCDC Festival Competitions, Debate Competitions, Reading competitions, and Chess competitions,  to name a few,  has served to broaden and enrich the experiences of our students.
     Donations to past student Father Ho Lung's o rganization , the  Missionary of the Poor (MOP) brothers, Bustamante Hospital for Children, Mustard Seed Community, Jamaica Cancer Society, Heart Foundation of Jamaica, and others, speak to one of the core values on our Mission Statement  promoted in our school.  This value - Understanding - is exemplified in our passion for the young and sick.
   Our m otto , "Our Gifts Are Varied But The Spirit Is The Same" speaks to the importance of each child being treated as the individual he or she is while being part of a whole group experience.  As we anticipate another 75 years and beyond through God's continued guidance and grace, we will continue to heed the words of Arthur Ashe which states  "From what we get, we can make a living; what we give however, makes a life."
   Thank you, Sisters, for envisaging the need for this noble institution and for seeing it through its many phases. History has informed us that challenges such as natural disasters  and fires have beset the effort of your Order through the years. However, you always rose from the rubble or the ashes, stronger and more magnificent than before. Strength and a bright hope for the many tomorrows is envisaged as the Alvernia flag continues to fly high, in the winds of time, with the Franciscan Sisters by our side.
   Thank you again sisters, as the vision keeps unfolding.

   See the Winter 2016 edition of Allegany Connections for more on the anniversary celebration! 

An Advent Vigil
By: Lucy Cardet OSF, Formation Director

   The Third Order Regular - Franciscan Common Novitiate (TOR- FCN) is a collaborative canonical novitiate sponsored by 20+ congregations of TOR Franciscan religious women, including our own.  With the decline in candidates for the novitiate, the representatives (leadership and formation personnel) of the participating congregations have made a commitment to keep prayerful "vigil" for Franciscan religious life.  Our experience is that God is faithful.  
   "We're busy vigil-keeping and God is keeping vigil for us [as with the Israelites of long ago].  Vigil-keeping also points to the future, allows us to enter sacred go places that we would not ordinarily go.
   "Vigiling is every sinew and bone in my body becoming attuned to the One who is to come, who is leading us.  Religious it is and was?  Gaze at its many facets, trying to see what God is revealing to us.  It is the mystery of our life. Trying to be faithful, sitting at the Mary Magdalene, seeing Jesus.  What are we going to discover that is taking shape?"  (Anne Amati, OSF)                                                                                                                                            Please join us in this month's reflection

Welcome the Stranger 
By: Margaret Magee OSF   

     Our featured Franciscan Spirituality video for the month of December is "Welcome the Stranger", a reflection by Sr. Eleanor Berret. In this video, Sr. Eleanor recounts a story about meeting a woman on a bus, and how the two of them believed the other had been sent by God to them in that moment of need. 
    After his conversion, Francis of Assisi began to live and move in a world of relationship. Francis grew to embrace the presence of God in and throughout all creation, and so all creation, all creatures, and all people became sister and brother to him. We hear this expressed in his Canticle of Creatures when he not only recognized but praised God for Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind and Sister Water. All creation and all creatures, women and men, carry the love, beauty and image of the Divine Creator.
    In today's climate of mistrust, fear, and suspicion of anyone who is different from ourselves, we as Franciscans must move in our world as sisters and brothers to all people and to all of creation. As Franciscans we might well paraphrase the words of William Butler Yeats saying, There are no strangers here; only sisters, brothers, and friends that we have yet to meet.   
   To watch the video click here
Congregation now accepting online donations
By: Denise Bunk-Hatch, Communications Director   

    Giving in support of our Mission and Vision has never been easier: The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany are now accepting online donations via credit card, PayPal, and bank transfer. 
   Gifts can be given once, or set up on a monthly automatic withdrawal. Simply visit our Donate page, and set up your information in the box provided. You can access this page by clicking the donate button at the top of our website home page, the "donate" button on our Facebook page, or under the "About Us" tab. 

  • Our Facebook page has hit 1,000 likes (and climbing)! Thanks to our engaged followers, our posts often reach between 4,000 and 6,000 people through shares, likes, and comments. 
  • A separate page has been created for our Peace Prayer initiative. This page allows visitors to learn about the prayer itself, its meaning for the Congregation, and how the initiative got its start. They can also view the prayer cards, and order both English and Spanish cards via PDF or web form. 
  • Our page for prayer requests has been quite active, and we added an option for people to submit their requests to all four locations (St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, St. Elizabeth Convent/House of Prayer, Franciscan Ritiro, and Immaculate Conception) at once to streamline the process. 

The article in the last edition of the e-newsletter reflecting on "Forgiveness" was incorrectly attributed to Sr. Pat Klemm. That article was written by Sr. Pat Reid. 

Upcoming deadlines: 

January 11, 2016 - First January edition e-newsletter
January 25, 2016 - Second January edition e-newsletter
Please note that due to the timing of the New Years holiday, the January e-newsletters will release on the THIRD and FIFTH Mondays of the month.