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The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is a branch of the world-wide Franciscan Family. We are single and married. Some of us are diocesan clergy. We work, worship and play in the community where we live.

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December 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

December 2022 

O admirable heights and sublime lowliness! 

O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! 

That the Lord of the universe, 

God and the Son of God, 

so humbles Himself 

that for our salvation 

He hides Himself 

under the little form of bread! 

Look, brothers, at the humility of God 

and pour out your hearts before Him! 

Humble yourselves, as well, 

that you may be exalted by Him. 

Therefore, hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves 

so that He Who gives Himself totally to you 

may receive you totally. 

The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus 

Book Five 

Chapter Three 



At the close of the fifth status of the Church’s pilgrimage, the self-indulgent were teeming like oxen, the avaricious crawling like reptiles, the arrogant as fierce as beasts, bringing an all-out defiling influence upon her life and causing her to be gnawed by a deceptive, ungodly, and heretical horde. – Conscience is God’s presence within us. 

It was out of jealous love for His Bride that Jesus was angry at her maliciousness, for great numbers of her children had gone the way of adulterers. Nevertheless, His anger did not diminish His mercy, and to the Church of the fifth age He directed a final call.- When beauty overwhelms us we are close to worship

Within her He raised up men of the loftiest integrity to root out greed and drive away indulgence. These men hated duplicity and stood up for the truth; they lit the fires of charity and restored the meaning of honor. – Lay hold of the Bible until the Bible lays hold of you

They surpassed others in a remarkable imitation of Christ Himself, and by the example of their life showed up a Church that was blemished. The word they preached stirred the people to penance, while the subject of their discourses confounded the distortions of heresy, and their praying was the shield that appeased the divine anger.- Endurance is the ability to bear a hard thing and to turn it into glory. 

Among these, the ones that shone brightest were Francis and Dominic, whose prototypes were Elijah and Henoch. The one was touched by the purifying coal of the Seraph and aflame with a heaven-sent ardor, so that he seemed to set the whole world alight. –  God calls where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger

The other, like the Cherub with protecting wings outstretched, bright with the light of wisdom, prolific through his preaching, had a most radiant effect on a darkened world. Those are the features they initially transmitted to their sons; although the resplendence and ardor of both these individuals must be linked to an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit. – Repentance is sorrow converted into action toward a new and better life

The evil of the fifth age as a whole, however, lay in a perverse and widespread vainglory; the kind that is fed by greed and temporal affluence. Therefore, the man who thoroughly ruled out temporal possessions for himself and his status may be regarded as the principal reformer of that age. – Lord, shine through me and be so in me.  

And since in him the Church’s sixth status begins, and the “life of Christ” was to take shape anew in him, we may say he is prefigured by that first man God created by His own deliberate counsel after the work of the five days in the image of his own likeness, that he might be master of all times.- Lord, may every soul I meet feel your presence in my spirit

Take note that this does not mean that the saints of the sixth age are greater than the Apostles. For the latter, by reason of their unique following of Christ, must be excepted from comparison with all others. – Reverence for life offers us a spiritual relationship with the world. 


Yet from among these others Dominic takes his place in the spiritual reform, with his all-embracing, thorough, and complete spurning of earthly things. Each one of these saints fully and perfectly trampled mundane interests and commanded their descendants to do likewise.- People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them away! 


We have decided, however, to treat here and now of that man whose status is singled out for attack at present by those who are spoiling the evangelical life, just as from the outset it was under attack, only more forcefully, from crafty masters who reviled the most exalted poverty. – Faith knows the way; Hope points the way; Love is the way


So, let us turn our discussion directly on the man who, we can say, conspicuously represented the life of Christ, not only in the pattern of his behavior, but in the loftiness of his contemplation; not only by the extraordinary admiration he drew, but by that privilege that was his when marked with the wounds of the most holy passion of Jesus Christ. – Confession of evil works is the beginning of good works


[Imitator of Christ] 


For if we are to talk of the way he lived, who is capable of telling in full how he sought to imitate the closest likeness to the life of Christ? His whole aim, in public and in private, was to reproduce in himself and in others those footprints of Christ which had been covered over and forgotten. – I do believe; help my unbelief


And the unique privilege granted the blessed Francis was this: to be the first entitled to transmit to holy Church the life of Jesus, scrupulously in all its aspects, in a communal and durable state through his Order. – The greatest truths are the simplest, and so are the greatest people. 


In point of fact the holy Apostles were the peerless foundations upon which this life was laid, that is, after the most important and principal cornerstone, Christ Jesus, in whom the whole ecclesial edifice is built up, grows, and is completed. – Imitating Mary, you will not go astray.  


Nevertheless, as has been pointed out elsewhere, since the Synagogue was to be excluded for its sin of faithlessness and the Gentile world was not yet ready to take on such lofty standards, the Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostles that the actual status of Gospel perfection was not for passing on to all and sundry in those times. – Praying to Mary, you will not despair


That is why they did not impose on the churches they governed the observance of that state of life which for themselves was prescribed by Christ and which they had adopted and observed to the full. – Thinking of Mary, you will not err


For this was reserved for the third general status of the whole world’s history, when the Holy Spirit is manifested in a special manner, the time of the opening of the sixth seal, the sixth age of the Church, when she is to be presented with the life of Christ. – Supported by Mary, you will not fail. 


Then is the life of Jesus returned to, as to the principle of perfection; it is as if a new circular journey were begun, a fresh beginning for the Church, as she returns to her first days. – Embraced by Mary, you will be saved


And that is why I told you earlier that this sixth age refers especially to the time of Christ. John speaks of this symbolically as the opening of the sixth seal I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God. – If you judge people, you have no time to love them. 


Now, the abbot Joachim, in his commentary on the Apocalypse, has this to say: “This angel is the one whom Christ looks upon as His like who is to come at the beginning of the third status of the world’s history.” – Kindness is the music of life. 


Therefore, from the insight granted to Joachim, it is plain that at the beginning of the sixth status the world would be given an “angelic man” whom Christ regards as resembling Himself, since he is to appear as the one great restorer of the life of Christ. – Seek always to discover the child asleep in the most severe and obstinate people


I myself heard from a doctor of distinction belonging to this Order that he was present when Brother Bonaventure, general minister at the time and himself a distinguished teacher, solemnly declared at a Paris Chapter that he was fully convinced that the blessed Francis was the angel of the sixth seal. –  The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation


He said that John the Evangelist actually had Francis, his form of life, and his Order in mind; that when he was writing, he saw Francis in spirit; that, in all the verses he was writing about the sixth opening in the Apocalypse, he beheld the fraternity of his sons, who were perfect imitators of Christ. – Christmas begins in God’s heart and is complete only when it enters my heart


Also at that Paris Chapter the same Brother Bonaventure stated, with a good deal of passion, as I heard from my source, unless my memory fails me, that he was fully satisfied no doubts could be entertained about all this, on account of significant and unequivocal revelations made to persons of serious caliber. – Jesus is the condescension of divinity, and the exaltation of humanity


I who write this am convinced, by the many testimonies of holy brothers of the past, that clear revelations were made to the blessed Francis and to many companions of his—whose apostolic life is beyond suspicion to the mind that is not dishonest, envious, or twisted—concerning the Order from its foundation, through its growth, dreadful decline and fall, to its glorious resurgence; rather like the sun’s course, which in turn portrays the life of Christ. – When the soul lays down its faults before God, it feels as though it had wings


These things were revealed not to one person only but to many, and so explicitly that they recounted them with absolute assurance. – Whom shall I send? Here I am. Send me

[Witness of John of Parma] 


Nor are we to omit the testimony of a holy man of God, one of the greatest men of perfection of our times, to judge by all visible proofs: I speak of that most holy brother, John of Parma. He was General of this Order, a teacher of the highest renown, an excellent preacher; there were no bounds to his austerity, humility and charity, nor to his attaining contemplative heights and his pursuit of solitude. – If you want an increase in Jesus there must be a decrease in self. 


Distancing himself from all worldliness, he was devoured by a godly zeal over the debasement he saw in this institution and in the Church. Unflagging as he was in declaring the truth about this, he received the direst harassment and vilification, which he bore with the greatest patience. – The world is round, and the place which seems like the end may be the beginning


This did not deter him from passionately adducing the same realities before several popes and many cardinals. He most certainly deserves to be numbered, by those who sincerely love and imitate Jesus, among the seraphic heroes and with the celestial Church’s great holy men.- Positive anything is better than negative nothing. 


For the same man in fervor of spirit at an advanced age was bracing up his energies for activity, with the aid of grace, not nature; as though he were a disciple of John the Evangelist, he was willing to go and win back wayward Asia for Christ. He had obtained permission for this from the pope of the time, but while he was on his way and had reached Camerino, a town in the Marches, he was called to heavenly glory by Jesus, to whom he had been utterly devoted through observance of the Gospel and the Rule and Testament of the blessed father Francis. – You may not have been responsible for your heritage, but you are responsible for your future

Blessed and Happy New Year 2023 


December 2022 Monthly Meditation by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap.

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

St. Francis of Assisi Friary 

1901 Prior Road 

Wilmington, Delaware 19809 

tel: (302) 798-1454    fax: (302) 798-3360    website: skdsfo    email: 

December 2022 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis, 

May the Infant Jesus grant your heart the Peace you desire. 

May His Star enlighten your mind with the splendor of His Truth. 

May His Love consume your heart so that it beats solely for Him. 

The people of Israel, centuries before the birth of Jesus, heard the prophet Isaiah promise: Many peoples shall come. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again (Isaiah 2: 1-5). 

These wonderful words of hope and joy seem only empty promises and false illusions when we see what happens around us. Violence, war, collective anger, religious intolerance, and so much more bombard our eyes and ears from the media, and our lives with our own experiences. Where are the gifts of dialogue, compromise, tolerance, acceptance, patience, love among children of the same Life Giver, God?  This God was not ashamed of His creation, even though His creation easily forgets its Origin, without Whom we would never exist. The new liturgical year has begun. We celebrate the humility of God Who became a creature so that the creature could share eternal life with the Creator 

This “oneness” between God and humanity silently exploded into time when a young virgin, Mary, responded “yes” to an impossible offer, but not impossible for God! The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John1: 14) He was born an infant in a refuge for animals somewhere in Bethlehem of Judea. This “One Solitary Life” caused people to marvel from the very beginning. After Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds looked up from where they were and There was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests (Luke 2: 1-14). Non-Hebrew Wise Men followed a celestial sign, a brilliant star by night and day, and journeyed great distances to Judea to find and worship the new king of the Jews. Where is the new born King of the Jews. We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage (Matthew 2: 1-12). 

The Incarnation and Birth of Jesus filled our Seraphic Father with awe. His ecstatic love for Jesus urged him to cry out:   O humble sublimity! O sublime humility!  These words summarize what it means to have God become one with us. The simple profoundness of the Poverello reminds us that Jesus preached what he believed, believed what he preached and lived what he believed.  Those secure of their true greatness do not fear humbling themselves or being humbled for the sake of truth.  

(Saint Francis’) highest aim, foremost desire, and greatest intention was to pay heed to the holy gospel in all things and through all things, to follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and to retrace His footsteps completely … We should note then … what he did … at the town of Greccio, on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ … There was a certain man … named John who had a good reputation but an even better manner of life.  Blessed Francis (said to him) ‘If you desire to celebrate the coming feast of the Lord together at Greccio, hurry before me and carefully make ready the things I tell you.  For I wish to re-enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem: to see as much as is possible with my own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, and how, with ox and ass standing by, he rested on hay’ … Finally, the holy man of God comes and, finding all things prepared, he saw them and was glad … There simplicity is given a place of honor, poverty is exalted, humility is commended, and out of Greccio is made a new Bethlehem … Over the manger the solemnities of the Mass are celebrated.  (1Celano, bk.1, chpt. 30) 

St. Francis’ simplicity and desire for ‘concreteness’ in touching with his senses the great Mystery of the Incarnation gave rise to the tradition of the Nativity Scenes most Christian Families set up over the Christmas Season.  St. Francis was not seeking to be innovative, or create something curious that would attract people.  He sought to make the Birth of the Savior come alive once again.  He sought to rekindle the spark of the Spirit’s fire and enthusiasm in the hearts of the faithful.  Through the senses, St. Francis sought to arrive more incisively at the soul. Our “incarnational approach” of our relationship with God as Franciscans, seeks understanding of the divine through the humanity the Divine One gifted us with to know, love, and serve Him.

We must not let our hearts be overwhelmed by actions of hatred and violence that often occur, or by the tragedies that affect our lives.  Where there is life there is hope. Where there is hope there is peace, even in the midst of confusion and pain. Life is still the journey worth living and it is beautiful. Why?… because God so loved the world that he sent us his only Son so that whoever believes in Him would have life and have it in abundance. (John 3: 16) Thus, What can separate us from the love of God. In Him we are more than conquerors (Romans 8: 35-37). 

The world into which the God of creation chose to enflesh Himself is still the stage of the greatest act of His Eternal Love.  Life to be and become, freedom in responsibility, and redemption to eternal life in Jesus, are still God’s loving and impartial gifts to all.  Stewards of creation, we are invested with the awesome trust of that Father. We make His presence and providence a reality in our world grown cold and indifferent to what really matters – Love!  

Just as at Bethlehem on that first Christmas night, and re-enacted twelve hundred years later at Greccio by St. Francis of Assisi, we, like Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, experience the promise fulfilled and our hope rekindled. We become His earthly messengers – angels (the word means messenger) – of the eternal love that not even human tragedy can destroy.  Goodness is still alive in the hearts of God’s children.  This love is celebrated each year at Christmas when Love made Himself visible by becoming one with us.  

For the spirit of this season of love, life and light to take hold of our lives we are asked to discover once again the child within us.  This “child”, hidden through years of compromising values, cautious acceptance rather than total trust in God’s will, confusion rather than faith in eternal truths, and all-around carelessness regarding the sacredness of every moment of life, seeks to break through to live in the wonder and joy of the light of God’s love.   

Christmas is a time for us to look with the eyes of wonder at the mystery fulfilled. The Birth of the Savior invites us to enjoy the love made present in the poverty of Bethlehem.  This is a time for all Christians to bask in the light of the Son, the Incarnate Son of God, a treasure greater than any we could imagine.  

We gaze upon the Infant Jesus and recognize the God of Creation, Savior of humanity, King of kings and Lord of lords.  Tepidity, and even the coldness of life’s demands and burdens, seems to be enlightened in faith rekindled in hope by the birth of the One Whom we celebrate. Life with all its uncertainties and challenges becomes a joyful expectation in time for His return in glory.  

We celebrate the Lord hidden in Word and Sacrament.  Jesus becomes almost physically tangible for those who open the eyes of their hearts. The Lord of mystery, hidden in Word and Sacrament, is revealed in so many ways in the sisters and brothers we encounter on our daily journey.  The Child Jesus challenges us to keep Him always alive in our hearts. His presence offers a newness and joy to life. Our Seraphic Father, celebrated this wonderful re-discovery and joy. The Eucharist was the prime manner for St. Francis to discover this hidden treasure. The Eucharist is a reminder of Bethlehem – House of Bread – where God humbles Himself for us that we may be sublimated in Him. 

Centuries, and probably eons, still lay before humanity. Each day is a new experience of the eternal unfolding love prepared for us by the prophets and made visible at Bethlehem and Calvary. This magnificent mystery, gift of the Father in Jesus through the Spirit, will continue until history’s time becomes God’s eternity.   

Each day we re-present the mysteries of salvation in the Eucharist. Each year we celebrate the unfolding of that One Solitary Life that is the focal point of human history – Jesus.  Our Faith is strengthened, our hope renewed, and our hearts filled with childlike wonder and joy in Christ. Nothing and no one, even death itself, cannot destroy this gift of the Christ Child. Let us never forget: (You) are from God and have overcome them (the false christs – the antichrists), because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4: 4)  

Each year, at Advent, we begin a renewed journey with Christ as we celebrate His birth.  Life is our journey. We set out in the zest and vigor of childhood and youth. We are tested through middle age. We lose our spring as time progresses. Nevertheless, our faith – like that of Mary and Joseph who believed the mystery and so experienced the miracle of his birth – allows us to see each moment as a wonderful endowment that makes the journey itself the gift, and the destination that much more desirable.  

The life of every person who ever lived and ever will live finds meaning even through, life’s anomalies and heartbreaks because of the One Who loves us.  His birth in Bethlehem led to a total surrender of Himself for us on the crowded solitude of Calvary. The wood of the manger was the prelude to the wood of the Cross to follow years later.  The wood of the manger that enveloped Him at His birth to protect His infant body from the elements, prepared Him for the rough wood of the Cross that held Him above others to reign from a throne misunderstood but necessary.  

Because of Jesus, we begin each new day confident that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are loved by Him.(Romans 8: 28)  

The Family of St. Francis of Assisi has blessed the Church and been blessed by the Church for over eight centuries. We are enriched by God’s love and blessings, and our own faith-filled response to God’s call to follow in the footsteps of the Poverello of Assisi.  

As spiritual children of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and our Holy Mother St. Clare of Assisi, may we rejoice in the Peace, Joy, Love, and the Fulfillment of our heart’s desires in the Lord at this Christmas Season.  May the Child of Bethlehem help us all find the simplicity, wonder, and childlike trust of the soul present within each one of us.  Joyfully celebrate the birth of the One Who is our Light and Salvation. May we be Heralds of the Great King, born at Bethlehem, and bear His light, joy and hope to all whom we meet on our journey. 

Have a Happy and Blessed Christmas, and a New Year 2023 filled with Love, Life, Happiness, Good Humor, Health…and an ever-growing Longing for God. 

Peace and Blessings 

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap. 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

Blessed and Merry Christmas 2022 


How will you feather His bed this Christmas? Kate Kleinert, OFS, Regional Minister December 2022

How will you feather His bed?

Here it is the first Sunday of Advent…already!  Although this day begins the Liturgical year and the start of Advent, it is also a reminder that Christmas is a scant 4 weeks away.  That thought always made me cringe BF  (before Francis!)  How would I get all the shopping done, write all the cards, bake, wrap presents, decorate the house after a thorough cleaning.  Whew!  Makes me tired even writing all those tasks.

AF (after Francis!)  I have an  entirely different perspective on Advent.  It is not the switch that starts the countdown to Christmas day, but a beautiful reminder that we are preparing for the birth of a precious Child.

This is a joyful time given to us to prepare for the birth.  Lent is so very different.  That time is sorrowful knowing that it will culminate in the death of Our Lord. But, of course, there is the glory of Easter that follows.  We spend Lent making sacrifices, giving up things that bring us pleasure, offering up whatever is difficult about the journey and feeling empty from 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday until we take part in an Easter Mass.

Advent is a much happier time. I believe instead of giving things up we should add things to our daily living.  Be nice to someone!  Hold the door for the person behind you.  Allow someone to pull in ahead of you in traffic.  Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Help an older person get their groceries into the car. Cut yourself a break trying to finish the long list of tasks.  Follow the reverse Advent Calendar that was sent out a few weeks ago.  Do something positive!! Each thing we do will add some comfort to the bed of the Baby Jesus.  How will you feather His bed this year?  I pray that you find a way that pleases you both!

Thoughts for the day – November 2022 – by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

November 2022 

 Most High, all-powerful, good Lord, 

Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honor, and all blessing, 

To you alone, Most High, do they belong, 

and no human is worthy to mention Your name. 

Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, 

especially Sir Brother Sun, …  Sister Moon and the stars, …Brother Wind, … 

Sister Water, … Brother Fire, … our Sister Mother Earth, … 

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love, … 

Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, 

from whom no one living can escape. 

Woe to those who die in mortal sin. 

Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, 

for the second death shall do them no harm. 

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility. 


(Canticle of the Creatures [abbreviated] by Saint Francis of Assisi)  

November celebrates Life Everlasting of those in God=s Glory and those in God=s Mercy 


Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis 

An Old Legend (Legenda Vetus) 



Saint Francis predicted the following before the Lord of Ostia and many brothers, and often preached this to the people, as the companions who heard it, Brother Bernard, Brother Leo, and Brother Angelo, have testified. His brothers, by the working of evil spirits, would turn aside from the way of holy simplicity and highest poverty. They would receive money, legacies, and bequests. Abandoning poor little solitary places, they would build sumptuous places in towns and cities, which would not demonstrate poverty, but the luxury of the world of lords and princes. – When the Church is different from the world then it will attract it

And, with great craftiness and human prudence, they would seek and receive from the Church and the Supreme Pontiffs privileges that would not only mitigate but even destroy the purity of their promised rule and life, revealed to them by Christ. Equipped with these, in their pride they will start quarrels and inflict harm not only on people of the world but also on the clergy and religious. They will dig the pit into which they will finally fall, and sow the seed from which many scandals will be reaped. – Be humble and self-forgetting, but never apologize for the Gospel

And Christ will send them one worthy of their worth, not a shepherd but a destroyer, who will mete out retribution to them according to their conniving and striving, and will set in motion a great trial, as they deserve, so that once punished by God’s just judgment they may return, humbled, to the state of their vocation. – Believing and living the Gospel is the beginning of a social revolution

Thus they will be completely uprooted from the life-giving and salvific way of living that they promised in the Lord’s presence to observe until the end. The truth of the preachers will be silent in practice or trodden underfoot, and thus the holiness of those professing it will be held in contempt. And those who fervently cling to piety will endure countless persecutions. – Joy is the serious business of heaven

At that time, he used to say, there will be such great insults and upheaval of demons and wicked humans against those walking in this way that, abandoning all, they will seek to reach deserted and solitary places and cross over to be among the unbelievers. Scattered, they will take back secular clothing, leading a pilgrim’s wandering life, or hide in the homes of the faithful, amidst innumerable calumnies and insults, and will endure suffering and death. – Sour godliness is the devil’s religion

And, he would say, blessed is he who then will be able to find a faithful companion, since those persecuting them, driven by evil spirits, will say that it is a great service to God to wipe out such harmful people from the face of the earth. – Happiness is a wonderful commodity, the more you give, the more you have. 



When the brothers are certain and have learned from experience that in the places where they are staying they cannot observe the Rule according to a pure intention and true uprightness because of the bad habits practiced in the places, inevitably leading, for different reasons, to breaking the Rule, the brothers can and must have recourse to the ministers. As Brother Leo testifies, who was present, along with Brother Domini, when Saint Francis delivered the second Rule to the Lord Pope Honorius for confirmation at Christ’s command, the Supreme Pontiff carefully examined everything contained in the Rule. – Contentment consists not in great wealth, but in few wants

He said to Blessed Francis: “Blessed is he who, strengthened by the grace of God, will observe this Rule happily and devotedly, for all the things written in it are holy and Catholic and perfect. However there are problems with these words: “they can and should have recourse to their ministers. Let the ministers, moreover, be bound by obedience to permit them, kindly and generously, their request. If they refuse to do this, the brothers themselves have the permission and obedience to observe it literally, because all, both ministers and subjects, must be subject to the Rule.- The most evident sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.  

These could be the occasion of ruin and create the stain of division and scandal in the religion for brothers not fully grounded in the love of virtue. Therefore I want those words changed in such a way that every occasion of danger and division may be removed from the brothers and the religion.” – The full value of joy requires someone to share it with


Blessed Francis answered, “It was not I but Christ who put these words in the Rule. He knows best what is useful and necessary for the salvation of souls and of the brothers, and for the good state and preservation of the religion. All that will happen in the future to the religion and to the Church is clear and present to Him. I must not and cannot change the words of Christ. – Bring sunshine to another and you cannot keep it from yourself. 


It will happen that the ministers and others in authority in the religion will cause many bitter tribulations for those who wish to observe the Rule faithfully and literally. Therefore, since it is the will and obedience of Christ that this Rule and life be understood literally, so it must be your will and obedience that this be done and be written in the Rule.” – The sweet mark of a Christian is not faith or even love, but joy


Then the Pope said to him, “I will do this in such a way that, keeping the full sense of the words, I will modify the letter of the Rule in this passage, in such a way that the ministers will understand they are obliged to do what Christ wills and the Rule commands, and the brothers will understand they have the freedom to observe the Rule purely and simply. – Joy is not the absence of pain, but the awareness of God’s loving presence within you


This will provide no occasion, to those who frequently look for one, to transgress the Rule under the pretext of observing it.” Therefore the pope changed the words of that clause, as they now stand in the Rule. – A happy family is but an earlier heaven




This is proved by the answer he gave at Saint Mary of the Angels to that brother from Germany, a master of theology, who said to Brother Francis with great reverence: “I promised firmly to observe the Gospel and the Rule which Christ has spoken through you, until the end, simply and faithfully, with the help of His grace. But one favor I ask of you. If in my lifetime the brothers fall as far away from the pure observance of the Rule as you predict through the Holy Spirit, I ask by your obedience that I may withdraw from those who do not observe it, alone or with some brothers who wish to observe it purely.” – Every charitable act is a revelation of God. 


Hearing these things, Blessed Francis was overjoyed and, blessing him, said, “Know that what you asked is granted to you, by Christ and by me.” – Learn to do the Father’s Will and you will have fully realized your vocation on earth. 


And he placed his right hand on his head, saying to him: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedek.” And Blessed Francis added that all the promises made to him by Christ would, in the end, be fulfilled in those who would strive to observe the Rule simply, to the letter, and without glosses and with joy. – Our vocation is to live in the Spirit. 





Saint Francis also predicted a very great trial of his brothers that was to come because of the love of learning, and that a violent wind from the desert would arise, and would strike the four corners and completely tear down the house of his first-born offspring, and destroy all his children and daughters. – The service that counts is the service that costs. 


And, that he might avoid the danger of the ruin of souls, like another Rechab, he sent his own to lead a wandering life: not to build palaces; not to live in the midst of cities; not to plant the vineyards of various studies, nor drink the wine of secular knowledge and worldly philosophy but, enlivened by the warmth of the Holy Spirit, placed as a law for his sons the deeds of the most perfect life of Christ. – True freedom for people is what air is for the birds


But those wise ones, mentioned above, put up, as he said, the tents of those great harlots, and brought their sons inside, living luxuriously from the pay of the harlots. And the simplicity they promised will be considered laughable, corruptible, and despised in their eyes. – God forces no one. Love cannot compel


They will become bold and presumptuous, and will glory in human praise, and will trust in the name of learning and activity or prudence, and at that time constant conversion of heart will be very bitter and intolerable. – To serve God is a matter of perfect freedom. 





One day, while Blessed Francis was praying in the place of Saint Mary of the Angels, an angel appeared to him in an amazing form and appearance: the head was gold, arms and chest silver, stomach bronze, feet of iron, and clay; the shoulders covered with vile and rough sackcloth, and it showed it was rather ashamed of that sackcloth covering. – We find freedom when we find God. 


He was amazed at seeing this, and the angel said to him: “Why do you gawk and gaze? This form which you see signifies the beginning, development, and end which your religion will have, until the time it goes into labor, the time of the reform of the life of Christ and of the state of the Church. – Life is filled with meaning as soon as Jesus enters into it


The golden head is you, with all your companions who are filled with the love of God and carry Christ and His death in your soul and body. – What is important is not what people think of me but what they think of Jesus because of me. 


But those who will come after you, having put aside prayer, will turn to knowledge which inflates eagerness for lectures and a multitude of books under the pretext of their neighbor’s edification and the salvation of souls. – It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend


And because they prefer verbs to virtues, and science to sanctity, they will remain cold within and devoid of charity, having changed gold into cold and heavy silver. – Spirituality really means the Holy Spirit is at work. 


They will pant for praises and honors, wishing, not to be better than others, but to appear so. Thus, to great loss, like bad merchants, they will exchange the silver of eloquence and learning for a hypocritical simulation in bronze, producing their works in order to get human praise, and always for a good profit. – A brave person risks his life but not his conscience


But their simulation and hypocrisy cannot be concealed for long; and they will lose their worth in the eyes of those who praised them, and when they sense this they will start to become angry and indignant against those they once tried so hard to please, eagerly seeking opportunities to persecute and afflict those who have stopped revering and complimenting them. – One of the worse things in the world is not sin, but the denial of sin by a false conscience. 


In this way ringing bronze will be transformed into hard and harsh iron, and they will be fragile, and impatient like tile. “This cheap, rough and short sackcloth with which I cover my shoulders is the cheapness and austerity of poverty which the brothers promised the Lord they would wear proudly. – Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness 


But abandoning it, they will cling to every kind of relaxation concerning tunics, books, and other things. And they will rejoice so inanely before people in the name and reputation of poverty, but in deeds and behavior will be ashamed of it, and will persecute it among themselves and in others; therefore I show that I wear this habit with deep shame.” – Mature people are made not out of good times but out of bad ones.  


And this is one of the reasons why it is said pointedly in the Rule that all the brothers should wear cheap clothing, so that the brothers who refuse to do this and prohibit doing this may have no excuse in their consciences. – God is faithful, and if we serve him faithfully, he will provide for our needs. 


November 2022 Reflections from Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

St. Francis of Assisi Friary 

1901 Prior Road 

Wilmington, Delaware 19809 

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo   email: 

November 2022 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis, 

The Lord give you peace! 

November is the month the Church dedicates to the remembrance of the Holy and Suffering Souls in Purgatory. We are reminded to reflect upon God’s loving mercy and providence that goes beyond time into the vestibule of eternity. We are encouraged to open our hearts to the hope-filled existence of those who were where we are, and are where we will be …in God’s mercy. 

Death is not an appealing thought for most people. Our materialistic and consumer-driven society conditions our view of this most solemn moment in life: the young discard the thought of death as non-existent in their life, and the teenager questions it theoretically but sees it too distant to be relevant; the middle-ager runs away from its reality through ‘busy-ness’; the elderly nostalgically hold on to the past in the hope that they can prolong life’s journey; and those who realize they stand before the reality of having to let go of this world, often live in confused apprehension, fear, and even anger. It may not be this way for all, but I believe that a sufficient number of God’s children fall into one of these categories. Why? Where am I? 

The response lies in what we believe of the Article of Faith in the Apostles Creed regarding ‘Everlasting Life’. We say, I believe in life everlasting, but we want to determine which life is going to be everlasting. What fools we can become when we allow the seductions of the world in which we live to make us their slaves rather than their masters! How foolish we are in trying to make eternally meaningful those things and aspects of this world that change, corrode and corrupt with time! Yet, how difficult it is for us to see beyond this world when our eyes are blinded by the everyday glitter of the creation that we have allowed to distract us from the eternal splendor of its and our Creator. Was it not St. Augustine in his Confessions who “apologizes” to God for having sought after the creature for comfort rather than the Creator for meaning and fulfillment? 

As strange as it may seem, even these attitudes are signs of our desire to know more about the reason and goal of life. Holding on to all we know is an expression of our yearning to live. The exhilaration and excitement that the young seek – isn’t that living life and the desire to fulfill a need to feel alive and be capable of anything?! The ladder-climbing of the corporate world and the go-get-it-ness of those in the middle years – isn’t that recognizing talents, dreams, gifts and a need to know one has achieved a successful level in life among and maybe even above his/her peers, thus being necessary for life to be meaningful to others as well as one’s self?! The constant recounting of personal achievements or offering ‘solutions’, even when not requested, by those in declining years – isn’t this the hope of leaving a legacy that will keep one’s name alive in the hearts of others long after that person no longer walks this earth?! Reaching the latter years, the memorabilia we keep of loved ones, the monuments we erect in honor of people, and so much more – isn’t this a way for us to try to keep alive today, now, those of yesterday whom we recall and honor?! We all believe in life and living, and just desire to make it “last forever”. 

It is rather easy to speak about life. People are usually interested in hearing what others have to say. But, when the thought of our passage from time to eternity is concerned, many would rather not be told or reminded. Like little children, we believe that closing our eyes, everything will be different when we open them.  

We are Christians! We believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life! We believe that Jesus redeemed us from the power of Satan’s infernal seductions. We believe Jesus opened the way for us to the Father’s eternal embrace through His total self-emptying death on the Cross.  

November, the month we dedicate to the remembrance of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, urges us to reconsider this most solemn moment in life. November urges us to see beyond the veil of our physical barrier, and with the eyes of faith to see the Life we have been created to share. An entire life – all experiences, successes, failures, disillusionments, confusions and the like – converges at the moment of death into a power-packed point of one’s total being. A life “concentrated” is ready to “burst” into true Life at the call of our Creator and Eternal Life-Giving God! 

The Paschal Mystery fulfills itself in the life of the person soon to enter eternity. The soul prepares for that moment, that instant, that twinkling of eye (1 Corinthians 15: 52) when it will explode with gratitude and joy into the loving embrace of the Eternal Father Who waits for one of His children summoned by love to come home. 

Saint Francis of Assisi was God’s Troubadour, the Herald of the Great King, as he called himself. He sang of God’s creation. He saw the majesty and beauty of God in all things and all people. Life was exhilarating and exciting for him. And, when he was informed of his terminal condition and the inevitability of his imminent death, he sang and added a stanza to the Canticle of the Creatures, that famous song he composed to praise God in all creation. He sang: Praised be you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death from whom no living being can escape. How dreadful for those who die in mortal sin! How blessed are those she finds in your most holy will for the second death can do them no harm. O praise and bless my Lord, thank him and serve him humbly but grandly! 

St. Francis joyfully invited Sister Bodily Death to come to him. The Poverello detached himself from society’s seductive enticements – whether persons, places, things, honors, and the like. Though his eyes were physically blinded from his infirmities, his heart saw far beyond the world in which he lived. He saw, unobstructed by “earthly debris”, the splendor of an Eternal Home that awaited him. And he was overjoyed! Our Seraphic Father, was a clear and evident sign of transcendency and of the supernatural. Seemingly bereft of all, even good health, one could desire in life, he possessed all because he had nothing, and could easily “let go” at any moment because such is the good that awaits me that all pain is a delight (St. Francis of Assisi). His heaven had already begun, but not yet. (reference of Vatican Council II regarding Kingdom of God) His stigmata ultimately signed him as an evident image of Jesus, the God-made-man, Whose love accepted death for the life of the world. His presence alone, the Universal Brother whose heart was literally opened for all, was a sign and a stimulus to reflection and conversion of heart. He was a challenge for others to “see beyond time” and yearn for holiness. True holiness, “other worldliness”,  that is achieved after time becomes eternity. 

St. Francis knew how to preach a message simply and effectively with words, but first and foremost by his life. His was a message of love. In a world and even a Church so torn and divided in many ways, his message is more valid than ever.  

The message of love is liberated and liberating when we recognize love not as we understand it in time, but as we understand love in the light of eternity. It is a total surrender that makes heaven real in the heart for life’s journey, until it is fulfilled in eternity. Then we too, as St. Francis, can joyfully await our fulfillment through Sister Death.  

It is a purified and purifying message. It is up to us to accept it. It is our job to put it into practice. It is our duty to bring it to others because we have all been called to pursue the same ideal and to conquer the same aims which were the ideals and goals Jesus Himself set for all who call Him, “Lord and Master”. 

The call to holiness is the Father’s reminder that we do not have a permanent dwelling in this world.(cfr. Hebrews)  Our Universal call to holiness is a call, as the word ‘holy’ in its basic meaning denotes, ‘to be other-worldly’. So, to be holy means to live in the light of the other world. Doesn’t this mean to live in expectation of that moment when we will finally enter the fullness of all that is “the Other”- even if we must pass through a place of God’s mercy that purifies us for heaven – Purgatory? 

Once a person surrenders him/herself to God, that person lives their entire life in light of the “moment of encounter”. For them, it was not a dark or ominous thought. It helps to place all things in perspective – the perspective of heaven, the perspective of God.  

We are Spiritual Children of the Seraphic Father of Assisi. We are also human beings subject to all the fear, confusion, doubt, anger, apprehension, and all the other negative characteristics that are connected to facing an uncertain future. The future is uncertain for those who have no faith. For those who believe, life is accepted and celebrated every day as the gift that it is. We celebrate life with joy and gratitude, and we seek to be a support and encouragement to others as we strive to develop all the gifts and talents the Lord has entrusted to us. As we do this to fulfill our part to restore all things in Christ, (cfr. St. Paul letter to Ephesians, Motto of St. Pius X) we long for that day when the Father calls us to His loving embrace. As a great pontiff once said we do not place limits on Divine Providence, (Pope Leo XIII on the occasion of his birthday) but we do not fear the return home of a loving child to the embrace its Loving Eternal Father. 

St. Francis’ song at the time of approaching encounter with Sister Death, serves as a guide and encouragement.  We live out our years with Jesus and Mary in our hearts and on our lips. We look to the heavens each day to remember the heights to which we are called. We remember those who were where we are, and who are where we hope, in God’s mercy and providence, one day to be – the Holy Souls in Purgatory: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace

Before concluding this monthly reflexion, please allow me also to extend my sincerest blessings and best wishes to all of you for a Happy and Grateful Thanksgiving. Be grateful that God is God! Be grateful God created you to know, love, and serve Him. Be grateful for God’s love, mercy, and providence, without which we could never survive! Be grateful for the experiences of your own personal life! As a Franciscan, Be grateful! 

May God bless you. May Our Lady and good St. Joseph guide, guard, and protect you. May our Seraphic Father St. Francis and Holy Mother St. Clare watch over each one of you and your loved ones with loving care. 

Peace and Blessings 

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap. 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 


Great idea to tuck away for December!

From the Heart of the Regional Minister – October, 2022

Welcome glorious October! My favorite time of year!.  The earth is getting ready to rest for the winter months but before she lays down her head, there is a surge of beauty and comfort.   The hot weather has slipped into chilly nights and days that are bearable and cooler.

A great number of us are in the Autumn of our lives. Where is the surge of beauty and comfort for us?  Just because it is Autumn doesn’t mean it is time to stop functioning or even worse….stop caring.

You would think by this age we should be running on auto pilot. We have spent a lot of years learning our life lessons so now should be a time to lean back and ride on our past experiences. NOT! This is our time to shine, to be living examples to those who are at an earlier part of their journey.

What are we doing to make this happen?  Do we add color to our lives by adding something new to our prayer routine?  Yes, routine. It can be comforting to do things the same way all the time.  It can also be boring or stale or allow us not to pay attention.  Shake things up a bit. Change up your routine.

Light a candle before you say the Liturgy of the Hours.  Turn off all the background noise before you start. – (phone, TV, computer)  Don’t let the electronic world intervene in your prayer practices.  If I am going to be in church, I like to pray the Office before Mass.  There is a pew filled with older women who manage to sit behind me no matter which pew I land in.  They chatter and visit before Mass like long lost relatives.  More than once I have turned to them and said “I am trying to talk to God, but I can’t hear Him”.  Maybe not the most Franciscan way to handle it, but my usual M.O. is to keep quiet until I’m ready to explode.  I need to learn to deal with it before I get to that point!!

Is your prayer life broken or missing something?  I don’t know about you, but I have a magic drawer and a magic closet for just such things.  I put things that are broken or missing a part into either the drawer or closet and expect if I leave them there long enough, they will magically become whole again. These places are also known as the junk drawer and the bottom of the closet.  Every so often I go through the ‘stuff’ in these two places; pick up each item, look it over, say “hmmm” to myself…..and put it back hoping that somehow the magic will work this time.  Believe me, brothers and sisters, it doesn’t!

We need to fix the broken parts of our lives and find the missing pieces. It’s not that hard, really. But it is always easier to put something out of sight and then we don’t have to deal with it.  Saying a Crown Rosary?  Try using the 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. Joseph that has been featured on our website.  (Can’t find it?  Let me know and I’ll send it to you)

Add a little color to your prayer life and to God be the glory! Sit in a different chair, go outside when the weather allows.  Any little change will shake you out of your routine.  God deserves our full attention.  Isn’t that what He gives to us?  How can we offer back anything less??  I’d love to hear your success stories!  Until next time….

Blessings and much love,



October 2022 Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director

Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director

Ted Bienkowski, OFS

Initial Formation Part 3.

October, 2022

Dearest sisters and brothers in Christ and Saint Francis.

In the September issue of “Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director” we discussed conducting the initial interview for seekers, their sacramental information, some thoughts on miscellaneous information and what to do with the results of the interview.  Once the Formation Team and the local Fraternity Council vote and decide to ask the individual to start Initial Formation that person should be informed of the results and provided with all the required written material, I have broken them down into four lists:

  1. Provided by the Fraternity[1]before Orientation actually begins
    1. The “Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order” (The Red Book)
    2. The “Franciscan Journey[2]” initial formation book
    3. The “Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order” the brown book
  2. Provided by the Fraternity before Inquiry begins
    1. Copies of the National Constitutions and Statutes
    2. Copy of the Saint Katharine Drexel Regional Hand Book
    3. Essential Documents of the Secular Franciscan Order
  3. Provided by the Fraternity before Candidacy begins
    1. Copy of any Local Fraternity documents such as prayer books, directories, prayer chains and so on[3]
  4. The individual should acquire on their own the following prior to Inquiry
    1. An approved version of the Catholic Bible[4]both Old and New Testaments
    2. A copy of the Liturgy of the Hours or Christian Prayer

Once the required material has been given to the individual, the Formation Director should sit down with the person and explain what is required during initial formation.  Meaning what is expected of them.  The person should study the chapter prior to the initial formation gathering.  They should 1. read the entire chapter, 2. review as many of the references in the chapter they can find and prayerfully reflect on the questions at the end of the chapter.  Our Fraternity starts out assigning three or four of the questions as written homework that is collected by the formation director.  One of them is always the Scripture reflection. The amount of time spent in preparation by the interested person really depends on their own study habits and ability to absorb the material.  I would say as a general rule, at least several hours a week if not more.  Prep time will be obvious by their homework and engagement in the formation discussions.

During the Initial Formation gathering itself, the person(s) is asked to share their thoughts about the chapter in a general way, and then to discuss the in detail the questions assigned.  The rest of the formation team and persons in formation have the opportunity to add to the discussion[5].  Each person often has slightly different answers or thoughts that make it interesting and sometimes enlightening for all.

This pattern is followed for all three phases of Initial Formation.  The homework is collected (and saved by the formator) so that when the Formation Team and Council need to look at the individual’s progress, they are not relying on memory.    Once all three phases are complete and any discussions and voting takes place the homework is returned to the Individual.  I always encourage them to review it from time to time and use it as a journaling exercise.

A Focus on Orientation

Before Orientation actually begins, the “Ceremony of Welcoming” should be done.  It is intended to make the person feel wanted and welcomed.  It is not done as a part of liturgy and should be done at a regular Fraternity Gathering[6].

There are only three chapters in “Orientation” and at first look, it may seem simple and not as deep or important as some others but this is absolutely not true!  Orientation lays the foundation for the rest of the process and provides a guidepost for the individual.  By the end of Chapter 2,theformation team should have a good idea of the person’s thought process, although there must be room and grace given for growth and continued conversion.


Chapter two “Three Orders, Structures, Discernment[7]” is a very important chapter.  Although all of the chapters are important, chapter two has two lists that should be dwelled on and carefully discussed.  They are “Signs that may indicate the presence of a vocation to the SFO[8],[9]  and just as important, “Signs that may indicate that a vocation to the SFO is not present”[10],[11].


Now, there is a danger with lists like this.  Most people with a relatively humble spirt could look at the list and say “I do that!  Or I don’t do that!”  whereas they really live in both worlds occasionally failing on one or falling into the other.  The real question is where are they most of the time and are they willing to move forward and change!


Next month, we will look at these lists in some detail!

[1] Although I say “Provided by the Fraternity” our fraternity lets them know how much the materials cost and asks them to assist in paying for them if they can afford it.  But we never stop a person because they did not pay for the materials.

[2] The “Franciscan Journey” is the only approved formation manual and study book and must be used until the “National Formation Commission” is finished developing new formation material and makes it available.

[3] It should be noted that if there is ever a conflict between these local documents and regional or higher fraternal documents the higher council documents always take presidents.

[4] Approved by The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

[5] Having multiple people sharing at the gathering always enhances the shared effect and builds fraternity between the individuals.

[6] Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order Part 1 Preface Par 3.11, 3.12 page 4; Chapter 1, page 9 and 10 “Ceremony of Introduction and Welcome”

[7]The Franciscan Journey page 8

[8]The Franciscan Journey page 15 and 16

[9] Emphasis theirs

[10] The Franciscan Journey page 17 and 18

[11] Emphasis theirs


October 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

                                                     October 2022 

Almighty, eternal, just, and merciful God,

grant to us wretches, by your will, to do what we know you wish,

and ever to wish what pleases you,

in order that, purified in soul, lighted up within,

and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,

we may follow the footsteps of your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ,

and reach you, Most High, by your grace alone.

For you live and reign and are glorified,

in perfect Trinity and simple Unity, Almighty God

forever and ever.


(Letter to the Chapter)


(daily passages are taken from the Book of Praises) 


Chapter VIII 




When the time of Francis’s warfare in this life finally came to an end, the holy father departed happily to Christ in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord, one thousand, two hundred and twenty-six. He was forty-five years old. It was about twenty years since he turned away from the way of the world. – Why is it easier to break a commandment than a habit?


For two years he wore the habit of a hermit, but in the third year of his conversion he began the new Order of Lesser Brothers in the basilica of the holy Mother of God and ever virgin, Mary, which from ancient times was called Saint Mary of the Angels. Inspired by heaven, Francis assumed a habit under the protection of her whom he cherished with a particular devotion. – God does not want golden vessels but golden hearts.


It was in this Order that he completed the rest of his life in all holiness, and in the same place where he started the Order he perfected that most auspicious beginning by a most blessed death. He not only knew beforehand the time of his release from this life, but he also predicted nearly the very day that it would happen. – We can go to sleep in peace because God is awake.


In the very hour of his passing away, he appeared to—among others who saw him ascending into heaven—a holy brother who was absorbed in prayer. He was dressed in a purple dalmatic, accompanied by an innumerable crowd of followers like the greatest of princes in the wonderful beauty of glory. Arriving at a very beautiful place, a palace of amazing size and of a singular abundance of special delights, he entered there with a glorious company of brothers. – The one who does not stay in his littleness loses his greatness.


A most illustrious Roman matron, Lady Jacoba dei Settesoli, very devoted to the man of God, came to visit him with a very large retinue as befitted such a great lady. She administered whatever seemed necessary for his funeral. He, who had taught her in Christ and had named her Brother Jacoba because of the vigor of her virtues, wished to see her before he died. He therefore had her summoned.- Pray, and then start answering your prayer.


But before the messenger left, there was a great clamor outside the door, caused by the horses and attendants of this devoted disciple. She had arrived to visit her most illustrious father and teacher. When the saint saw her, he rejoiced that, as he had hoped, she had been sent by God. – It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus on the cross but His love for us.


After recovering a little in the joy of seeing her, it was thought that the saint would live longer. Lady Jacoba, therefore, decided to send back a part of her retinue, so that she might await the saint’s end with fewer attendants. But the saint forbade this. “I will depart on Saturday evening,” he said. “You can leave with your retinue on the following day.” – Get ready for eternity. You’re going to spend a lot of time there.


On the day and at the hour which he predicted, the saint was gathered to the Lord to live with Him in His eternal mansion. The brothers, bereft of their holy Father, wept. So too did those virgins of Christ, who had followed in his footsteps. With tearful voices they said: “O Father, why are you abandoning us poor women? To whom are you leaving your desolate daughters?“ – If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.


His most holy body was buried at Assisi in the Church of Saint George, where the Monastery of Saint Clare now stands. After a few years a church was built in the saint’s honor near the walls of the city and by the authority of Pope Gregory IX who laid the first stone of the foundation. The site of the church is called the Hill of Paradise. Here his body was brought with great pomp and veneration. – Out of suffering come the strongest souls.


So great a multitude of people had come together for the celebration that the city was not able to contain them, and they camped all around the field like sheep. The aforementioned Lord Pope Gregory, whose personal presence for the celebration of his translation was anticipated as certain, at that time was prevented owing to certain other urgent business of the Church. – In prayer what is important is not to think much but to love much.


He sent nuncios for the purpose with a personal letter which not only explained as necessary the cause of his unexpected absence, but also announced for sure to his sons, whom he comforted with a fatherly affection, that a certain dead man had been brought back to life by blessed Francis.- We are our choices.


Also, through the same nuncios, he sent a gold cross, priceless owing to its work in gems, but containing wood from the cross of Our Lord more precious than all the gold and gems. Besides this, he sent ornaments and several vessels which pertained to the ministry of the altar, and also vestments which were most fitting for solemn uses. – Anger is the wind that blows out the lamp of the mind.


He also sent other considerable donations for the expenses connected with the construction of the same building and for the coming celebration. The solemnity of this solemn transferal was enacted on the eighth of the kalends of June, in the year of the Lord one thousand, two hundred and thirty. – Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.

Chapter IX 



As in Francis’s life, so after his passing, the Lord did not cease to magnify his saint by miraculous signs. Some instances of these are offered here. – When you are at peace with who you are, you will be at peace with what you are.


A young girl was brought to his tomb, who, for over a year, had suffered a deformity in her neck so hideous that her head rested on her shoulder and she could only look sideways. She put her head for a little while beneath the coffin in which the treasure of the saint’s body rested, and through the merits of that most holy man she was immediately able to straighten her neck, and her head was restored to its proper position. – When we begin to live more seriously inside, it is then we begin to live more simply outside.


At this the girl was so overwhelmed at the sudden change in herself that she started to run away and to cry. There was a depression in her shoulder where her head had been when it was twisted out of position by her prolonged affliction. – Life with Christ is an endless hope, without Him a hopeless end.


Niccoló of Foligno was so crippled in his left leg that it caused him extreme pain, and because of it his neighbors could not sleep at night because of his cries. When medicine did not help, dedicating himself to Saint Francis, he had himself carried to his tomb. After spending a night there in prayer, his crippled leg was cured and, overflowing with joy, he returned home without a cane. – Affirmation empowers people to be the beautiful person God made them to be.


A boy had one leg so deformed that his knee was pressed against his chest and his heel against his buttocks. He was carried to the tomb of the blessed Francis, and suddenly his health was fully restored. – God’s gifts put our best dreams to shame.


There was also a little girl in Gubbio; her hands and all her limbs were so crippled that for over a year she lost total use of them. Carrying a wax image, she was brought to the tomb of Saint Francis. After she had been there for eight days, one day all her limbs were restored to their proper functions. – Be faithful and God will look after your success.


There was another boy from Montenero lying for several days in front of the doors of the church where the body of Saint Francis rested. Since he was completely paralyzed from the waist down, he could not walk or sit up. One day, when he was brought into the church to touch the tomb, he was completely cured. – The past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.


He said that a young man in the habit of the brothers was on top of the tomb with his hands pointing to a pear which he seemed to offer to him. He stood up taking his extended hand and, leading him outside, he was cured. – If God is kept outside, something must be wrong inside.


There was another citizen from Gubbio. When he brought his crippled son, so crippled and deformed that his legs were completely withered and drawn up under him, to the tomb of the glorious father, he received him back whole and sound.- The same fence that shuts others out, shuts us in.


A girl of Norcia appeared listless for some time and it was eventually clear she was troubled by a devil. For she would often gnash her teeth and tear at herself. She would not avoid dangerous heights nor did she fear any hazard. Then she lost her speech and was deprived of the use of her limbs, and became totally irrational. – True wealth is the good we do in this world.


Her parents were tormented by the confusion of their offspring; they tied her on a stretcher mounted on a draft-animal and took her to Assisi. During the celebration of Mass on the feast of the Lord’s Circumcision, she lay prone before the altar of the saint. Suddenly she vomited, I can’t say what, and then got up on her feet. She kissed the altar, and fully free of her illness she shouted in praise of God and the saint. – Sympathy is two hearts tugging at the same load.


In the diocese of Volterra, Riccomagno could scarcely drag himself along the ground with his hands. His own mother had abandoned him on account of his monstrous swelling. He humbly vowed himself to blessed Francis and was instantly healed. – Humility and self-denial are always admired, but rarely practiced.


Two women from the same diocese were so crippled that they could not move about unless carried by others. They had stripped the skin from their hands attempting to move themselves. By their vow alone were they restored to health. – Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness.


Giacomo from Poggibonsi was so pitiably bent and crippled that his mouth touched his knees. His widowed mother took him to an oratory of blessed Francis and poured out her prayer to the Lord for his recovery; she brought him home healthy and whole. – Make sure the thing you are living for is worth dying for. 


A woman from Vicalvi with a withered hand had it restored to match the other through the merits of the holy father. In the city of Capua a woman vowed to visit in person the tomb of Saint Francis. Because of the press of household matters she forgot her vow, and suddenly lost the use of her right side. On account of pinched nerves she was unable to turn her head or arm in any direction. She had so much pain that she wore her neighbors out with her constant wailing. Two of the brothers happened to pass by her home, and at a priest’s request they stopped to visit the pitiful woman. She confessed to them her unfulfilled vow, and when she received their blessing she at once arose healthy. And now that she was made wiser by punishment, she fulfilled her vow without delay. – All the treasures on earth cannot bring back one lost moment.


Bartolomeo from Narni was sleeping in the shade of a tree when he lost the use of a leg and a foot. Since he was a very poor man, the lover of the poor, Francis appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to go to a certain place. He set out to drag himself there, but had left the direct route when he heard a voice saying to him: “Peace be with you! I am the one to whom you vowed yourself.” Then leading him to the spot, it seemed that he placed one hand upon his foot and the other upon his leg, and thus restored his crippled limbs. This man was advanced in years and had been crippled for six years. – Do what you can, and God will do what you can’t.


In the district of Narni there was a boy whose leg was bent back so severely that he could not walk at all without the aid of two canes. He had been burdened with that affliction since his infancy; he had no idea who his father and mother were, and had become a beggar. This boy was completely freed from that affliction by the merits of the blessed Francis so that he could go freely where he wished without a cane. – Working hard means going all out until we are all in.


In the city of Fano there was a man who was crippled with his legs doubled-up under him. They were covered with sores that gave off such a foul odor that the hospice staff refused to take him in or keep him. But then he asked blessed Francis for mercy and, through his merits, in a short time he rejoiced in being cured. – Christ is not valued at all unless He is valued above all. 


In the city of Narni there was a woman who for eight years had a withered hand with which she could do no work. Blessed Francis appeared to her in a vision, and stretching her hand, healed it and made it able to work as well as the other.- Life is fragile, handle with prayer.




October, 2022 Monthly Reflection by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity 

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

St. Francis of Assisi Friary 

1901 Prior Road 

Wilmington, Delaware 19809 

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360      website: skdsfo     email:

October 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you his peace!

Two years before his death, already very sick and suffering especially from his eyes, (St. Francis ) was living in a cell made of mats near San Damiano. … During his stay … blessed Francis could not bear the light of the sun during the day or the light of the fire at night.  He constantly remained in darkness in his cell … One night, as he was thinking of all the tribulations he was enduring, he felt sorry for himself and prayed interiorly: ‘ Lord help me in my infirmities so that I may have the strength to bear them patiently”… (A voice spoke to him and said): …be glad and joyful in the midst of your infirmities and tribulations; as of now, live in peace as if you were already sharing my kingdom”… The next morning on rising, he said to his companions: … I should be full of joy in my infirmities and tribulations, seek my consolations in the Lord, and give thanks to God the Father, to His Only Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit … Therefore, for His glory, for my consolation, and the edification of my neighbor, I wish to compose a new “Praises of the Lord,” for His creatures … He called these “Praises of the Lord” which opened with the words: “Most high all-powerful, and good Lord, the “Canticle of the Sun”… He often intoned this canticle and had his companions take it up; in that way he forgot the intensity of his sufferings and pains by considering the glory of the Lord.  He did this until the day of his death.  (Legend of Perugia, 42-43)

The Poverello of Assisi was one of the wealthiest persons to ever live. His wealth went far beyond the treasures that human beings consider desirable.  The power he wielded over thousands of his day and millions over the centuries make him also one of the most influential and effective individuals to ever live. He was simple, surely not what the authoritative and commanding seek.  He was poorly dressed, surely not what attracts the people of this world. He was not much to look at, surely not a figure that imposed himself by physical stature.  He had a basic education for his times, surely not an intellectual ‘giant’ to dialogue with the ‘learned’ and prominent of his day.  He had no bands of armed guards and militant forces, surely not what the dominant forces sought out. What he had was a ‘treasure’ that far surpasses all others: He was a man in love with God, and God’s presence in all creation. He was passionately in love with life.  His spirit was contagious.  Many originally considered him out of his mind. Most believed him to be eccentric. Nonetheless, all eventually recognized the uniqueness of a soul in love with God, life, and all people. Our Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi, is a constant reminder and image of a life in love with Life.

In the beginning … God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good. (Genesis 1: 1-30) The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7) Life is the first gift of God’s Eternal Love. Goodness, of its very nature, cannot be contained. Goodness overflows limits set and reaches out in all directions.  Eternal Goodness offers the greatest gift of Himself: the gift of being. During a lifetime conditioned and limited by time, we who share the ‘breath of God’, His Holy Spirit, enter a journey that leads us from living in the mystery on earth to living its fulfillment in eternity.  In Christ Jesus we recognize Him Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What seemingly begins as a merely natural process is now transformed into a ‘Journey of Faith’ that places us in a relationship with our Creator and eternal Life-giving Father, Who continues to ‘breathe’ His Holy Spirit into our hearts, because of the Redemptive Life-Death-Resurrection of His Incarnate Son, Jesus, Who made the Father ‘real’ for us.

Men and women are on a journey of discovery which is humanly unstoppable – a search for the truth and a search for a person to whom they might entrust themselves.  Christian faith comes to meet them, offering the concrete possibility of reaching the goal which they seek. (Pope John Paul II – Relationship Between Faith and Reason, Encyclical of September 14, 1998). Life is that period of time we have been allotted to know, love, and serve our God both in Himself and in each other.  We follow Jesus Who invites us to walk this journey of faith as ‘pilgrims and strangers.  St. Francis of Assisi’s ‘Canticle of the Creatures’ is his prayer of praise to God Who can be seen in all creation, and at every moment of life’s journey. Many ‘cradle Catholics’ often take their Christianity too much for granted.  There is a tendency to forget that external religious practices, to be authentic, must be an expression of the greater gift of Faith infused at Baptism and to which they are called to be convinced and committed. Faith is not a list of dogmas to believe, but a Person to accept and follow. Faith, strengthened through Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, accompanies and encourages life, in the midst of a world that hears the words of Jesus but often closes its heart to the message that must be personally accepted and lived to be effective and fruitful. Although we are all called to be saved, there is no such thing as ‘global salvation’. Jesus died for all humanity and His redemption is once-for-all; it is ‘global’ in that sense.  However, it is the personal responsibility of each individual to cooperate with the graces he/she receives from the Redemptive Sacrificial Blood of Jesus poured out for us all, if that person hopes to be ‘saved’ and share in Eternal Life.

St. Francis’ desire to live the Gospel ‘without gloss’ is his way of reminding us that Jesus’ words must be taken to heart and lived.  We cannot just believe and not do.  Faith that stands, and is not backed up with a life that verifies the ‘principles’ and ‘values’ preached, is nothing more than an intellectual exercise of themes and slogans. Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. (James 2: 17-18)

Our journey of faith begins in the accounts of the Old Testament Scriptures with the call of Abraham, when he responded in faith to God’s urging to leave Ur of the Chaldeans. Abraham may not have completely understood his unique relationship with God and the role he was called to fulfill, nonetheless he had all the necessary elements for faith.  He promptly responded ‘yes’ to God’s call, a divine call that more often than not turned Abraham’s own plans upside down.    Abraham was even ready to offer his only son to God, against all human logic and expectations for the future. Faith believes and gives one’s self to God unconditionally.  Even when God seems to be ‘absent’ from us, in faith we sense an unexplainable presence and strength leading us through and beyond the limits that our difficulties and doubts place in the way.  It is this faith that becomes a power house working and welling up within us.  It is this faith that becomes the very root of our daily life. Our life becomes an act of faith.

Faith reaches its fulfillment in the New Testament in the Son of God Who manifested Himself and proclaimed the kingdom of God. This proclamation of God’s will and invitation to believe requires the same response as that of Abraham, our ‘Father in Faith’. This acceptance is a decisive act of a loving will that moves our human minds to look beyond the expected human calculations and to trust totally in God.  Faith is not an intellectual acceptance of a number of abstract facts; it is an unconditional acceptance of a person, God, as we have come to know Him in the Person of Jesus the Christ. Faith accepts God Who proposes His love for Christ Who died and was raised from the dead. Faith is obedience to God, communion with Him, openness to all God reveals because He can neither deceive nor be deceived.  Faith opens our eyes to see life from the perspective of eternity and God’s love.  Our own Seraphic Father, when confronted with friars who had decided to mitigate his expectations for the Order, heard God asking and reminding him that the Order was God’s; he was not to worry if matters seemed not what he expected, as long as they followed God’s plans.

Faith becomes victory over the isolation we create in our lives when we close ourselves to the ‘Other’. Faith helps us to gratefully accept life as a marvelous experience. Filled with challenges that may try us to the limit of our strength, life is supported, nourished, and ennobled by a faith that trusts in an ever-loving and all-providing God. From the very beginning of our existence, God calls each one of us from the nothingness of ‘not being’ to an existence that bursts into time and is ultimately transformed into the immortal gift of unending Life for all.

We learn to live tranquilly, always, as regards our spirit, because God reigns supreme.  Life is given to us in order for us to acquire the eternal. Due to a lack of reflection, we often base our affections on what pertains to the world through which we are passing, so that when we have to leave it, we are frightened and agitated.  In order to live happily while on pilgrimage we must keep before our eyes the hope of arriving at our Homeland where we will stay for eternity.  It is God who calls us to Himself, He watches how we make our way to Him, and will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for a greater good.  He knows what we are. He offers His loving providence to us especially while we are going through rough stretches. Nothing will prevent us from running quickly to Him, but in order to receive this grace we must have total confidence in Him.  Life is also a journey of trust. 

One of the greatest Gospel witnesses we can give others as sisters and brothers in St. Francis of Assisi flows from living in the Presence of God. Truly convinced of this, we must be tranquil and at peace within ourselves because God is in control. We journey together, focused on the Lord Who calls us to share Life in our Eternal Homeland after having sought to restore all things in Christ during our earthly pilgrimage that should be a “Canticle of Praise” to the Lord for every facet of life. Each step we take is a step forward surrendering ourselves unconditionally to the ever-loving providence of God, Who never leaves His children unaided.

Pope John Paul II tells us that men and women are on a journey of discovery in search for the truth and a person. Words like these sound like some philosophical theme until we examine our hearts and realize how true and meaningful they are for our lives.  Our Seraphic Father St. Francis encountered that ‘Person’, Jesus, on the Cross at San Damiano who impressed His words on his heart, then he met that ‘Person’ again at La Verna, Who impressed His ‘Word’ on his body.  The living image of the Crucified spoke to the world of an emptying love that accepted life to die that we might enter Life.

Every life has its disconcerting events and fears.  Even the greatest of saints had their difficulties.  Many went through moments of spiritual darkness and dryness. They continued to believe and hope in God, encouraging and empowering others to be joy-filled in the midst of their challenges as well as their successes, while they themselves cried out to their ‘absent’ and Loving God who asked that they pass through the desolation of the Cross.  Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II, and many others whose lives we have come to know more intimately now that they have entered eternity, went through these moments. Faith and life walk hand-in-hand.  It is our Faith that strengthens our spirit and nourishes our life. Jesus reminds us: It is the spirit that gives life. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63) When we allow the Spirit of Faith to fill our minds and hearts, when we accept the words of Jesus in truth, when we live today where God and we encounter one another, we live in hope, free from fear, trusting in divine providence that clears all intimidating imaginings from our minds and hearts.  Peace, joy, and serenity become a reality. And, they become ‘contagious’ for those whom we encounter.

Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi live every moment of life fully!  The spirit of prayer that enveloped our Seraphic Father who ‘became prayer’ encourages us to pass through whatever crucible of life we encounter.  Thus, we become one with the Suffering Servant Who became One with us. Let us be grateful to God for the life He has called us to live, and make our prayer You are my God, I trust in You. Be my refuge. I fear nothing (for I seek to be in You as You are within me).

May God bless you; my Our Lady and good St. Joseph guide, guard, and protect you; and may our Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi and our Holy Mother St. Clare, look upon each one of you, his Spiritual Children, with loving care.

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant