Is God calling you to walk in the footsteps
of Saint Francis of Assisi?

Come and see how Secular Franciscans live joyfully In the world & celebrate God’s creation.

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.

The SFO was established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

A local group of Secular Franciscans is probably meeting near you. Please use this map to locate your closest fraternity or feel free to contact one of the members of our Regional Executive Council who will be happy to put you in touch with a Fraternity near you.

About our region

All local Secular Franciscan fraternities in the United States are organized into one of 30 regions. The Saint Katharine Drexel Region includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. There are currently 27 local fraternities in the region. We are under the patronage of St. Katharine Drexel, who was a Secular Franciscan and whose feast we celebrate on March 3rd.

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Message from the Regional Minister for July 2017

How is your Franciscanism doing these days?

Seems like a strange question.  I’m not asking how you are doing, what’s new or what’s going on.  How is your Franciscanism doing?  Is it gaining weight or is it on a diet, slowly being lost, shed or forgotten?

These are hard times to be a Franciscan.  Everything is disposable, replaceable, or of little value. Got a better one?  Throw the old one out.  Can’t use all of that…chuck the rest.

I recently read the newsletter from the Hospitalier Brothers of St. John of God.  There was a statement that caught my eye – and soul.  It read: These are difficult times to live a vocation in an authentic way; the operative word being authentic.

What is the authentic Franciscan way of life?  If people don’t notice something different about the way we live, we aren’t being Franciscan. Are we preaching the Gospel by our way of life…..the way we speak…..how we act? Are we being Franciscan in how we treat our secular Brothers and Sisters? If we can’t be kind to one another, how can we be kind to the rest of the world? Do we treat each other with respect? Do we return phone calls and answer e-mail? Everyone is busy; but, we all deserve the respect of having a message answered.

There are no vacation plans in my foreseeable future, but I plan to take my Franciscanism on holiday this summer.  My soul deserves some renewal and refreshment.  With gas prices so high it is now in vogue to take a Staycation. – a word coined to mean you are staying home.  In my day, we said we were going to Yardsville – and spent some happy hours in our own back yard.  This summer, why not say your morning office outside in the early hours before the heat and hustle begins.  Spend an hour with your Lord in a park or reflect on our brother Francis as you do some gardening.  Francis walked around with wild flower seeds in his pocket.  He is still planting seeds today.  What seeds have you planted lately?  We carry many in our hearts, but they are no good until they are planted and shared.

So..how is your Franciscanism doing???

Thoughts for July from the Regional Formation Director

Greetings dear brothers and sisters!

Hope all of you are enjoying your summer and when necessary keeping cool as well.

This month I would like to speak about prayer and the spiritual journey.

We know that our Rule addresses prayer in our articles which are Article #4, Article #8. Article 4 We devote ourselves to careful reading of the gospel with openness going from gospel life and life to the gospel. We reflect on scripture and listen to God and see how he is speaking to us and incorporate the Gospel into our lives. Article 8 addresses the sacramental life of the Church which is the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Word and of course the Liturgy of the hours.

We must quiet ourselves in our reading of the scriptures. Our quiet place can be in our home but more enjoyable in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. » Click to continue reading “Thoughts for July from the Regional Formation Director” »

Greetings from Father Francis - July, 2017

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: pppgusa@gmail.com

 

July 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord bless you with His peace!

Before the Vatican II revision of the Liturgical Year Calendar, the Franciscan Family commemorated the canonization of our Seraphic Father on July 16. It was a simple celebration that consisted of a commemorative prayer added to the prayers for the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The following excerpts from our Franciscan Sources speak of the Pontiffs who knew and loved St. Francis (Julian of Speyer), and the process leading to the canonization of our Seraphic Father by his friend who had become Pope Gregory IX (Saint Bonaventure):

A span of twenty years had passed since the glorious confessor and Levite of Christ had first embraced the counsels of evangelical perfection … Now, this same venerable father left the shipwreck of this world in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 1226, on Sunday, the fourth day of the nones of October, and was buried, as has been said, in the city of Assisi … This blessed man had begun his course under the illustrious Lord Pope Innocent III, and he happily completed it under his successor, Honorius … They were happily succeeded by the Lord Pope Gregory (IX) … (Life of St. Francis by Julian of Speyer, chpt. 13) Immediately, the holy man began to reflect the light radiating from the face of God and to glitter with many great miracles…The wonderful things which God was working through his servant Francis – acclaimed by word of mouth and testified to by facts – came to the ears of the Supreme Pontiff, Gregory IX.  That shepherd of the Church was fully convinced of Francis’ remarkable holiness, but also from his own experience during his life…  Having seen with his own eyes and touched with his own hands, he had no doubt that Francis was glorified in heaven by the Lord. He decreed with unanimous advice and assent … that he should be canonized.  He came personally to the city of Assisi in the 1228th  year of the Incarnation of the Lord … and enrolled the blessed father in the catalog of the saints, …(The Major Legend, chpt. 15, 6-7)

The Family of St. Francis, both brothers and sisters, had grown tremendously since Francis heard the words from the Crucifix of San Damiano. St. Francis of Assisi has been immortalized through the centuries not only because of the gifts the Lord bestowed upon him personally – among them the sacred Stigmata that rendered him a living image of the Suffering Christ – but also through the spirit he instilled in his followers, his spiritual children, and the joy and selflessness with which they surrendered themselves to the will of God, the Church, and the charism of the ‘Poverello’ of Assisi.  During the life of our Seraphic Father, Brother Berard and his companions became the first of a long line of Franciscans would give their lives for the faith. St. Francis praised their faith, obedience, and courage, and said of them: Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor.  A true Franciscan doesn’t count the cost! A true Franciscan seeks to be detached enough to be able To let go and let God.  The “job” of a lifetime that we must strive to live each day. » Click to continue reading “Greetings from Father Francis – July, 2017” »

Daily Reflections for July 2017

O loving one bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you,
their one and only consolation, there is little comfort…
they still .. tearfully cry out to you:
O father, place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father,
His sacred stigmata; and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side,
that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father,
and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness.
Amen.

(Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl. Thomas of Celano)

 

Daily meditative phrases from various sources

1

Blessed Francis felt more pity for the man’s soul, rooted in mortal hatred, than for his body.  He said to him: Brother, forgive your lord for the love of  God, so that you may set your soul free, and it may be that he will return to you what he has taken. Otherwise you will lose not only your property but also your soul. – When man becomes ‘bereft of God’, he loses the meaning of his own life and in some way becomes ‘bereft’ of himself.

2

So blessed Francis said (to the Dominican who asked his explanation of a passage from Ezekiel): … a servant of God should be burning with life and holiness so brightly, that by the light of example and the tongue of his conduct, he will rebuke all the wicked. – The family is the great workshop of love … where people are taught to love … with the incisive power of experience.

3

In order to preserve the virtue of holy humility,  a few years after his conversion, at a chapter, he resigned the office of prelate before all the brothers of his religion, saying: From now on, I am dead to you. But here you have Brother Peter of Catanio; let us all, you and I, obey him. – Do not separate your faith from your daily life and your daily life from your faith, as so many people do today.

4

He used to affirm that the Lesser Brothers had been sent from the Lord in these last times to show forth examples of light to those wrapped in the darkness of sins. – The life and the whole being of each Christian must be identified around one central axis: fidelity to Jesus Christ. » Click to continue reading “Daily Reflections for July 2017” »

Formation materials from the 2017 Annual Regional Meeting

As promised, here are the materials from the four presentation given at our regional gathering in March:

Letters of St. Francis to the Persons He Loved (Justin Carisio, OFS)

The Bardi Dossal (Lee Potts, OFS)

The Wolf of Gubbio: Francis Teaches Conflict Resolution (Frank Urso, OFS)

Prayer Before the Cross: Meditation on the San Damiano Cross (Kathy Agosto)

Daily Reflections by Father Francis - June 2017

 

June 2017

O loving one

bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you,

their one and only consolation, there is little comfort…

they still .. tearfully cry out to you:

O father, place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father,

His sacred stigmata; and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side,

that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father,

and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness.

Amen.

(Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl.Thomas of Celano)

Following are excerpts taken from various Franciscan sources

Daily meditative phrases based on various spiritual writers

 

1

(Francis’) opinion was that rarely should something be commanded under obedience, for the weapon of last resort should not be the first used. – Jesus’ way of acting and his words, his deeds, and precepts constitute the moral rule of Christian life.

2

Saint Francis also said: A time will come when the religion loved by God will have such a bad reputation because of bad example that it will be embarrassing to go out in public. – Love and follow Christ!

3

Know that you are in truth my servant when you think, speak, and do all things that are holy. – If the path becomes difficult at times and you are overcome by fatigue, rest in the shade of prayer. » Click to continue reading “Daily Reflections by Father Francis – June 2017” »

Greetings from Father Francis - June 2017

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      email: pppgusa@gmail.com      website: skdsfo.org

June 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you His peace!

The future of the Church can and will come, even today, only from the strength of those who have deep roots and who live on the basis of the sheer fullness of their faith.  It will not come from those who just offer formulas.  It will not come from those who always choose only the comfortable path – those who avoid the passion of faith, and declare everything that makes demands on man, everything that is painful, and forces him to sacrifice himself, to be wrong and obsolete, mere tyranny and legalism.  Let us put it positively: The future of the Church, as always, will be decisively influenced yet again by the saints. That is, by the people who perceive more than rhetoric that is just ‘modern’.  (‘The Church in the Year Two Thousand’, 1970, Joseph Ratzinger)

These are powerful words the professor who was called to leave the ‘comfort  zone’ of his academic environment, that he loved so much and in which he found fulfillment of his academic desires, to let go, to leave, and to enter the ‘hub’ of Catholicism, Rome. The future he expected was definitely not the ‘future’ he was thrust into by the Spirit of God. Accepting to leave Germany and to assume the office of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Monsignor Joseph Ratzinger let himself become the target of those, within and outside the Church, who frequently reduce faith and its external witness to a matter of  issues and agendas. Then, once again, responding to the Church’s call through the Spirit to assume the office of Vicar of Christ, our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, willingly accepted to be not only teacher  but also ‘victim’ for the sake of the Mystical Body of Christ, His Church. Faith often leads where we least expect … or desire! » Click to continue reading “Greetings from Father Francis – June 2017” »

From Your Regional Formation Director - June 2017

I would like to wish you all a happy Pentecost, a time for a new conversion.

A little bit of History. Some of us may know that Pentecost began as a Jewish celebration of the wheat harvest in the late spring. It gradually became customary to celebrate the feast 50 days after the Passover. The Jewish scholars calculated that when their ancestors left Egypt, they arrived at Mount Sinai approximately 50 days later, this gave an additional meaning to the feast. It was there that God gave them the Law and made a covenant with them. “I will be your God and you will be my people.” Pentecost became a time for Jewish people to celebrate the covenant with God which made them God’s chosen people.

Jesus claimed these words from Isaiah as his own mission: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” By following Jesus and Francis, we are challenged to do the same. What are you called to do? Serve the poor in some way. Bring communion to those who are homebound? Making a phone call to someone who lives alone? It goes on and on the possibilities to Serve, Inspire and to Evangelize.

We must be messengers of joy in every circumstance, striving to bring joy and hope to others with the realization that Christ is present in everyone. (article19)

An example in scripture of what conversion looks like: We hear the story of Lydia and how her experience of listening to the Lord opened her heart, she was moved by grace. She listened to the Lord and responded and asked to be baptized and shared her experience with her household, and they too were baptized. This is the pattern of conversion: God give His grace, we respond, and the result is a powerful transformation. This type of “ongoing conversion” can happen anytime and anywhere.

May we experience the grace of God at Pentecost and all during our lives, and respond to do what is ours to do.

Resources: Little books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Queen of Peace Regional Fraternity and a commentary from scripture The Word Among Us.

May the Lord give you His Peace!

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From the Heart of our Minister - June 2017

Some of you have heard about my friend Christy.  We have been penpals for more than 30 years.  We have shared much laughter and many tears in those letters and grew to love each other as sisters.  Christy is serving a sentence of life plus 25 which was handed down when she was 17.  I started writing to her a few years later.  She is now in her 40’s and has spent more than half her life in prison.  Last year I was able to go see her at the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women.  It was a brutal schedule for me – I was making the trip there and back in one day.

God smiled on the entire day, but there is one moment that stays with me more than most.  Joining us during the visit was a woman named Ivey.  She had been Christy’s cell mate when my husband was first diagnosed with cancer.  Ivey sent cards and letters to us, offering her prayers and support.  She was released from prison three years ago, but we have stayed in touch.

You are only permitted to take two items into the prison during a visit.  One is your picture ID, which is held by the guards until you leave, and the other is change for the vending machines.  Ivey arrived clutching a Ziploc bag stuffed with change.  I must admit here, if I met up with Ivey on a dark street, I would have made it a point to keep my distance.  To my shame, she seemed to fit what my idea of a woman prisoner looks like.

When we decided to get something to eat from the machines, I intended to empty my bag of change and pay for everyone.  Ivey had other plans.  “Whatever you want, Miss Kate, I’m going to treat you”.  No, no…I couldn’t let her do that.  After all….I was in a better position to pay than she is,   I have a better life than she does.  I am….better????  Shame on me again.

The lesson is – sometimes you are the servant and sometimes you need to be served.  Ivey was so proud that she was buying a meal for me.  We feasted on a banquet of junk food and every mouthful was delightful.  Ivey’s face shone with pleasure.  As for me…along with those potato chips, I was eating a good portion of humble pie.

P.S., After more than 32 years in prison, Christy will be walking out the door of that prison on Monday, June 5. Her release has been many years in the making with enough ups and downs to give you a whiplash!  Imagine being isolated for all these years and then suddenly being free in this world…..this world! She will truly be an alien in an alien land. I would be so grateful if you could say a prayer or two for her.

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From the Heart of our Minister, May 2017

Last week I was blessed to attend the Memorial Mass for Vince Peroni.  Vince was the husband of our dear sister, Madge Peroni, OFS. The Mass was held in St. Anthony’s church which is a beautiful, beautiful building that is filled with peace.

Over the main altar are the phrases:  The Lord is here + He is calling you.  Sorry – the picture isn’t the best, but it at least gives you an idea.  Sitting before Mass and gazing at these words, I knew I wanted to write about them this month. They were speaking to my heart.

The Lord is here.  We believe in the presence of God everywhere. I believe it, too.  But, seeing those words rising high about the tabernacle just meant so much more.  The Lord is here.  Yes, God is everywhere, but this is His home. He is here.  We share a meal with Him here. We come to visit Him here and we take away that love that we get from spending time with a beloved family member. We walk out feeling cherished and cared for.  Is God getting the same vibe back from us???  Do we walk into Mass thinking…..I hope this doesn’t go any longer than an hour…I have things to do. What was the Gospel reading today?  I dunno…..I was making the grocery list in my head at that time. Hmmm, how can we really be living from Life to Gospel and from Gospel to Life if we can’t give it some attention while it is being proclaimed?!

The second phrase….He is calling you…really struck a chord with me.  It doesn’t read…He has called you, or He will call you but – He…is…calling…you.

He calls you with the joy you experience when you hear from someone who means a great deal to you. He calls you with the patience that says, I know you haven’t answered Me in awhile, but I’m still calling.  He stays in touch, even when we don’t. He is calling when we have had a bad day and he is calling when we have had a really great day!

When God is calling, we need to make sure He isn’t getting a busy signal! God bless you all!