Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
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Spokane Secular Franciscans gather for retreat; ‘transitus’ observance set for Oct. 3
the Inland Register
(From the September 20, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
“One day, the form of life of St. Francis will become the universal form of the Church.
“The simplex et idiota will triumph over the greatest scholars. The church in the final age will breathe the spirit of his spirit.”
So said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, on Aug. 15, 1969
With fraternities in Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene, and an emerging community in Deer Park, Secular Franciscans continue to seek to follow Jesus in the way of Francis and Clare of Assisi.
The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) was founded in the early 13th century. Local groups, or fraternities, can be found throughout the United States and the World.
According to the “Constitutions” of the SFO, members “commit themselves through profession to live the Gospel after the manner of St. Francis in their secular state following the Rule approved by the Church.”
On Aug. 11, the Feast of St. Clare, members of the Secular Franciscan Order joined with others in the Franciscan family, and with friends and benefactors of the Poor Clare Sisters in the Spokane area, to celebrate the closure of a year of remembrance of the 800th anniversary of St. Clare. That morning they joined in an outdoor Mass, hosted by the Poor Clare Sisters at their monastery in Spokane. Among the concelebrants were Franciscan Fathers John Hardin (Provincial Minister for the Friars Minor of the Santa Barbara Province), Alberic Smith and Michael Blackburn, as well as other members of the clergy.
Fathers Smith and Blackburn both serve St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Spokane.
Afterwards, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Center, following a simple luncheon facilitated by Secular Franciscan Candidate Elizabeth Stout and team, a time of retreat was held. Using St. Clare’s 14th-century words to Agnes of Prague, retreatants considered the theme: “Gaze, Consider, Contemplate, and Imitate.”
Minister Stacey Bogar of the Secular Franciscan Order welcomed participants. Sister Pat Gordon of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who serves as the Spiritual Assistant to the Spokane Secular Franciscans, opened with prayer, and Bob Stirling, another Secular Franciscan, facilitated the afternoon activities.
A brief DVD giving highlights of Clare’s life, accompanied by photos of Assisi and surrounding historical places, was followed with time for discussion, reflection, and prayer, and then an opportunity to hear Sister Colleen Byrne, abbess of the Poor Clare community in Spokane, along with newly-professed Sister Deborah Brown, shared thoughts about modern-day Poor Clare life.
The retreat closed with song and a prayer of the Blessings of Francis and Clare, as participants were sent on their way to live, in the words of Francis of Assisi, “From Gospel to Life, and Life to Gospel.”
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church, 1104 W. Heroy in Spokane, a celebration of Transitus (annual commemoration of Francis’ passage through death to life), will take place. A reception will follow. All are welcome.
Anyone seeking more information about the Secular Franciscans is encouraged to visit their international and national websites at http://www.ciofs.org/portal/ and http://www.nafra-sfo.org/ or to call 1-800-FRANCIS.
In the Spokane area, interested persons may also call 509 276-1586 or 509 448-0299 for more information.