In This Issue
Allegany Franciscans Website
FSA Jamaica Website
Like us on Facebook
 
UPCOMING MEETINGS
 
CL Meetings
May 22-23, June 19-20 
 
FABS (Franciscans with American and Brazilian Sisters) meeting 
April 23-24, Reading, PA 
 
 
Assembly Planning Committee APC Zoom meeting
May 15th at 9:30 am
 
General Commission
May 30, June 1-2
Allegany  
Issue 6.09
May 14, 2018  
Congratulations, Golden Jubilarians!
 


Congratulations to our Sisters celebrating 50 years of
religious life: Sr. Maria Abadia da Silva; Sr. Rosimeire Dias Noleto; Sr. Valdete Patrocinio; Sr. Maria do Socorro Rabelo; Sr. Aldenir Mota Ribeiro; and Sr. Judith Terrameo.

Sr. Judith will celebrate
at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse , Allegany, NY on Saturday, May 26, 2018.
 
Sr. Maria Abadia, Sr. Rosimeire, Sr. Valdete, Sr. Maria do Socorro and Sr. Aldenir will celebrate at Convento Mãe Admirável, Anápolis, Brazil on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

 
Brazilian Reflection (Part 3)
By: Margaret Magee OSF, Associate Minister 
This is the third in a series of articles reflecting on Sr. Margaret's recent experience of life and Mission with our Sisters in Brazil.   
 
   As I begin to write this third installment of my reflections in Brazil, I am very conscious that I am home, back here in the United States, back to my daily routine, yet with a sense that somewhere within me dwells this deeply profound experience of my time in Brazil, especially with the celebration of Holy Week and the Triduum. I am aware of a different consciousness residing within me. A deeper awareness of being and living continues beyond my limited U.S./American reality. How do we become more sensitive and attentive to other cultures and realities of people and see them as not strange or foreign and distinct from ourselves? How do we open ourselves, without judgment, to explore and grow in awareness of the greater diversity and expression of our human reality? I believe these are just some questions to consider as we begin to explore the topic of interculturality.
   Good Friday morning began with an early-morning flight from Palmas to return to our central house of Mâe Admirável in Anápolis, Goiás. We were grateful for our drivers Maria Helena and Dayanne who took us to the airport and for Lilian Cristina and Liliane who were waiting for us to arrive in Anápolis. This was another example of the detailed planning and gracious hospitality of our Sisters. Upon our arrival at Mâe Admirável we had time to rest before attending the 3 p.m. service for Good Friday.
   We walked to the church of St. Mary of the Angels which is part of the property of Mâe Admirável and staffed by the Franciscan Friars. The Good Friday service, simple in its solemnity, was familiar with its liturgy of the Word with the reading of the Passion. Typically following the Passion is the Veneration of the Cross; however in this service, following the Passion and Intercessions, we moved into the reception of Communion and then closed with the Veneration of the Cross. This change, in a ritual that is so familiar, seemed so appropriate for this Good Friday. It reminded me that being nourished on the Word and the Eucharist we are called to embrace and focus on the suffering and crucified Christ on this day and in our world today.
   The evening of Good Friday we attended a Passion play at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Anápolis. Nothing could have prepared me for this moving and profound experience. The presentation took place outside the church and parish hall with bleachers and chairs set up for a few thousand attendees. We arrived early yet most of the seats were already filled. Four stages had been set up with an additional area for the choir and musicians. The presentation, which lasted about three hours, began with dramatic reenactments of scripture stories: the Nativity, the Temptation in the Desert, and the Prodigal Son. The combination of dance, music, and acting made the scripture come alive with a depth of reflection and spirituality. The presentation then moved to the Last Supper with those who played the part of the apostles going into the audience and inviting attendees to take part in the Last Supper scene. This play continued with dramatic and artistic scenes of Pilate's court, Herod's temple, the Way of the Cross, the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Woven through the way of the cross were prayers and reflections from the Brazilian Bishops campaign "Fraternity and Overcoming Violence." In so many ways my experience of these sacred days of the Triduum were not three distinct days but truly one sacred celebration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.
   Holy Saturday morning we journeyed once again, this time to visit with our Sisters of Convento Imaculada Concei çâ o (Immaculate Conception Convent), Ceres, Brazil. The Franciscan friars first arrived in the area, known then as National Agricultural Colony of Goiás (CANG), in 1947 evangelizing the people and beginning to develop the parish community of Immaculate Conception with its many outlying small community chapels. They began building the school in 1948 and then in 1950, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany came to assist in the pastoral and educational work. Our Sisters continue to serve in pastoral and catechetical ministry.
Upon our arrival we were warmly welcomed by Sisters Aparecida, Rosimeire, Maria Ângela, and Ângela Teresinha. Besides the time with our Sisters we spent a delightful afternoon visiting with the local Associate group which is a very active and energized presence in the parish and throughout the local community.
   On Holy Saturday evening we gathered with the parish community outside the church for the lighting of the Easter fire. During the liturgy it was apparent that our Sisters and the people were very integral to the whole celebration. Our Sister Aparecida was a lector and Sister Rosimeire proclaimed the gospel. After communion, Pat Klemm, Pat Tyre, Erin Baird, Marinez, and I were invited to come up into the sanctuary and share a brief message with the parish community. Yet again this experience confirmed, for me, the presence of our Sisters in this community and the deep respect that the people hold for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.
   Though this was a very quick overnight visit in Ceres we did have the opportunity to visit a small hospital, S ã o Pio X where Sister Aparecida serves as a Member of the Board of Directors. Once again, this visit spoke of the dedicated people who serve in these small hospitals and the challenges the people face with often limited medical services and the need to travel hours to larger facilities like our hospital, Santa Casa in An á polis.
 
Reflection to come - Easter Sunday with activities and visits in Anápolis

Encounters in Guatemala 
By: Kathleen Maire OSF

   I just returned from an exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting medical mission trip to Guatemala with Global Health. My head is still swimming with images of people and places, remembrances of short but meaningful conversations, and emotions that touch me when I least expect them. I often wish I had more time there to follow up on the many patients we leave in the hands of our local partners, not because I doubt their ability, but rather because I would like to maintain contact through their journey to health. But here I am, trusting that God will be with them.
   Our team of 14 began our reflections together around the theme of encounter. Pope Francis speaks of "encounter" as a stepping out of ourselves and an embrace of the other. He claims that a culture of encounter should be a goal for all human society. I understand encounter to mean an offering of something of self to another person, and an opening to receive something in return.   In the context of our visit to Guatemala, language did not have to be a barrier. True encounter can happen in a meeting of the eyes, a gracious handshake, an understanding nod of the head, or a warm smile. We each pledged to make encounter the focus of each interaction with a patient.
   Now I have a collection of memories of such encounters: the 10-year-old boy who had broken his leg a year ago and was waiting to race any member of our team who wanted to run with him; a woman who had taken in her 3-month-old nephew when his mother died; a young man who was carried in to the clinic after a spinal cord injury; 30 students arriving with their teacher to have their picture taken with the toys we were leaving; an elderly blind man leaving with a walker so he could navigate around his house; families of children practicing brushing their teeth; eager children happily carrying home their vitamins; and so many more.
   I do believe we left something of ourselves with each patient, and I know we received much more in return. Thank you for all you did to make our trip such a grace-filled and rewarding experience.   

New Jersey Assembly relocates to Easton, PA 
By: Margaret Magee OSF

   Our sisters and associates in the New England, New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area have found a new site for their Assemblies. In the past, the assemblies were held at a Homewood Suites motel in Cranford, New Jersey. That site was selected because we no longer had a convent or a school in the area where we could gather and also for its central location for all those traveling. Unfortunately over the years we found that the cost of holding the meetings at Homewood Suites was becoming too expensive. After much research and several leadership visits to retreat centers in the area the decision was made to contract with St. Francis Retreat Center in Easton, Pennsylvania.
   The retreat center is a sponsored ministry of the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, Cincinnati, Ohio. There are three friars currently serving at the center. Br. Mark Ligett OFM serves as the Director, with Fr. Henry Beck OFM and Br. Edward Skutka OFM, the lay staff and many dedicated volunteers who keep the center running smoothly.
   The assembly was our first gathering and all agreed that we have found a Franciscan, peaceful, contemplative space for our assemblies. God provides!

FABS statement on Syria

Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good. - Romans 12:21

   We, as leaders and members of congregations of Franciscans with American and Brazilian Sisters [FABS], share our deep distress, concern and prayerful support for our sisters and brothers in Syria, who are suffering the cruel and inhumane effects of violence and chemical warfare at the hands of their own government leaders. The most innocent and defenseless citizens of that country, women and children, are the victims of this outrage which some have called another holocaust.
We urge the leaders of our governments and our churches in the United States, in Brazil and in other countries to call for action that will help and provide aide to innocent victims and restore their safety and health. We ask our leaders to enter into dialogue with the leaders in Syria and other countries to work to promote peace and the care and dignity of all people, especially women and children. We stress the need for a complete ban of the use of all chemical weapons. 
We request that our members, our associates and partners in ministry share this message with others as we issue a call for prayer, action, and a swift end to this humanitarian crisis. Let us beg God for an intervention of mercy and justice on behalf the people of Syria, and all whose lives are being shattered by the ravages of war throughout the world.

Book Review: However Long the Night
By: Margaret Magee OSF, Associate Minister

   Often I am drawn to books and personal stories of people who have endured great struggles. What captures my heart in these tales is the person's ability not only to relate how they survived a particular time of crisis but the transparency in sharing their story, with the pain and uncertainty that often goes with it. Their ability to convey the events along with their inner journey, how they personally strived to reconcile, to find peace within themselves and with others, while desiring wholeness and newness where possible, is remarkable. Such stories of the holocaust by writers like Elie Wiesel and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand come to mind.
   In many ways reading However Long the Night captured my heart in a similar way. This book is a collection of writings of the LCWR Presidents, Executive Director, and Staff who shepherded the organization through the Doctrinal Assessment issued by the Vatican's Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The book also includes reflections from members of Solidarity with Sisters, lay men and women, who have, and continue to, companion and support the LCWR leadership and staff.
   Initially, my focus in reading held to an inner chant reminiscent of the holocaust, "We must never forget!" The memories and feelings of living under the cloud and scrutiny of the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Women Religious and the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR are still very real. For that very reason we must continue to share and to keep telling our stories.
   However, my spirit was also drawn to the following words on the cover of the book, "The story of how an organization found an alternate, contemplative way of working through impasse". As I read, I realized more and more that the deeper message of these stories was the movement of prayer, contemplation, and processes of communal reflection that infused and inspired the conversations among themselves, with the Vatican delegates and dicasteries, with the membership of the LCWR, with the media and broader audiences. The clear message for me was their desire to lead the organization through a difficult and challenging experience without clarity of the outcome or the future of the organization. The LCWR has used this Contemplative Communal Dialogue over the years and its annual Assembly continue to use this process, engaging Congregational Leadership in Contemplative Deepening Groups.
   We as a Congregation, with our Associates and Partners in Ministry, have also engaged in learning, using and growing more deeply in this process of contemplative communal reflection. We have engaged in communal reflection in the 2012 and 2016 pre-Chapter processes and Chapters. We have also used these processes in Assemblies and have encouraged its use in local communities, clusters, associate groups, and other gatherings.
   Most recently our General Commission presented on this topic at the recent Assemblies and facilitated the first of what will be quarterly reflections to guide us and deepen our experience of sharing and moving forward communally. Mary Hughes OP states, "Contemplation is not an elixir used just to inform us as to the best way to move forward. Contemplation changes the ways in which we do things. It enables us to go deeper. It slows us down. It stills us and better enables us to hear the voice of God." The contemplative communal dialogue and opening oneself to the wisdom of the Spirit can be deeply spiritual and transformative. In reading this book I felt I could more deeply understand the process and it's richness through the experience of the LCWR leadership. I encourage you to read their stories and be attentive to how God is inviting and working in us. Let us remember that we shared this journey together, however long the night!
   However Long the Night : Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis, Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR), Editor: Annmarie Sanders, IHM, 2018.
 
Franciscan-Clarian Art Reflection 
By: Edir de Freitas Pereiro OSF

   Clara confronts the Saracens, holding up the Most Blessed Eucharist. She faces her enemies, not with guns, but with faith in the presence of Christ.
   This image teaches me to confront all of my enemies, within and without, with prayer, penitence, and the Eucharist.
 
This is the second in an ongoing series of reflections on Franciscan-Clarian artwork. If a certain piece of art speaks to you, please send your thoughts to denise.bunk-hatch@fsallegany.org for future use.

Please note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday, the next edition of the e-newsletter will be released on Tuesday, May 29. Thank you!


Upcoming deadlines:
Submissions are not guaranteed publication. All submissions will be edited prior to inclusion, 
and may be held for future use if deemed appropriate.
   
May 15, 2018 - Combined Spring/Summer edition Allegany Connections
May 23 - Second May edition e-newsletter