Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Franciscan ‘family’ gathers for annual retreat

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 18, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

On Aug. 6, the Franciscan family came together for the annual Secular Franciscan retreat.

The retreat began with an outdoor Mass at the Poor Clare Monastery in Spokane, celebrating the Feast of St. Clare, celebrated by Franciscan Fathers Franklin Fong, Michael Blackburn, and Alberic Smith, and Msgr. John Steiner.

The retreat continued at St. Francis of Assisi parish hall with a potluck lunch.

The afternoon speakers presented reflections on the theme “‘Let us begin’: Franciscan Family Visioning.’ This is the first time that the Secular Franciscans have invited members of the three orders of the Franciscan family to share their journey at this annual retreat.

Father Blackburn expressed St. Francis’s care for justice for the poor and the marginalized as he related his experiences as parish priest in Las Vegas.

Representatives from the Second Order Poor Clares, Sisters Colleen Byrne and Debbie Brown of Spokane’s Monastery of St. Clare, spoke about their journey toward living in a cloistered community and being open to God’s mission as modeled by both Francis and Clare.

Sister Pat Millen of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, director of Joseph Family Center in Spokane, stressed St. Francis’s charism of serving.

A member of the Secular Franciscan branch, also part of the Third Order, Lorraine Huffaker, spoke about the many experiences of working for social justice for the poor in finding shelter, protests of unfair policies, and support for the Ignatian/Franciscan House at the Gonzaga University campus in former years.

Deacon George Lukach, an affiliate of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration at the Motherhouse in La Crosse, Wis., addressed the 135-year history of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and being in contact with what is real in daily life.

Following this, small groups focused on what inspired them, and on how to live out their Franciscan charism in a deeper way this year. The prayer “Blessings of Francis and Clare” was recited and songs of mission ministry opened and closed the session.


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