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Associate Reflection Day
- Saint Francis, Pope Francis - A Common Vision
Elizabeth Pienta and Brian Nosbusch
By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate - November 11, 2017

After Mass, we gathered in the back of chapel by the sarcophagus of Mother Mary Theresa, the foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. Two Associates who were not able to join us for the recommitment celebration on October 1st made their recommitment after Mass.

Afterwards, we met in Marian Hall for our reflection day. The opening prayer was the song “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.” It was the perfect song to start our day.

The presentation given by Elizabeth Pienta, an FSC Associate, was based on the book 'Saint Francis, Pope Francis - A Common Vision' by Gina Loehr with Al Giambrone. The authors talk about the commonalities between St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis in the following areas; humility, charity, church, peace and joy. Elizabeth expounded upon each of the five areas. She had also prepared a pamphlet containing reflection questions on each of the areas. Time was given at the end of each section for reflection.

Francis of Assisi lived a life of austere poverty. Even when the community he started grew in size and popularity, Francis continued to live a humble and simple life. None of the friars, including Francis himself, had a title in the community. Pope Francis models himself after St. Francis of Assisi beginning with the name he chose. We’ve all heard stories of Pope Francis’ humility and how he declined certain privileges to live simply. What I hadn’t heard before was that Jorge Mario Bergoglio - Bishop, Cardinal and now Pope Francis had taken a vow not to seek any of these offices.

Before he started his life of service, St. Francis of Assisi noticed a homeless man who came to beg in his father’s shop. Francis turned the homeless man away, but felt so bad that he ran after the man, leaving the shop unattended. When Francis found the homeless man, he filled the man’s pockets with money. Like the Saint whose name he chose, Pope Francis speaks out for the people society ignores. He also puts his words into action. One of my favorite stories about Pope Francis is about the showers he had built in the Vatican for the homeless of St. Peter’s Square.

St. Francis of Assisi went out and repaired the Church of his time. First, he was a living example of the Gospel and then he preached the Gospel message to others. Pope Francis thinks of the Church as a mother. He stays true to Church teachings and emphasizes mercy, forgiveness and compassion by his words and actions. Pope Francis is repairing the Church of his time.

St. Francis of Assisi lived with an inner peace. He was at peace in poverty, in prison, in sickness and in suffering. Pope Francis also lives with this same inner peace. When he appeared before the world as our new Pope, with all of the responsibility placed on him, Pope Francis was at peace.

St. Francis of Assisi found joy in all of God’s creation. He also found joy in his suffering and physical ailments. He praised God for giving him the stigmata. Pope Francis also found joy in his own personal suffering, knowing that in this suffering he was imitating Christ.

The presentation lasted an hour. Then after a short break, we met in chapel for the 2nd part of our reflection day. First we sang, "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" then Deacon Brian exposed the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. Along with Eucharistic Adoration, the service included three reflections.

The first reflection was a silent reflection on The Act of Faith. The second reflection was also silent, but on The Act of Hope and The Act of Love. The 3rd reflection was for the whole group to pray aloud - The Act of Contrition.

After reflecting on the common vision between St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis, it seemed fitting that we continued our prayers and reflection with the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition. The Acts speak of St. Francis of Assisi and of Pope Francis on their loyalty to the teachings of the Church and their dedication to repairing the Church of their time. Both men show us how to live the Gospel and are examples to us of loving God and loving our neighbors.

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis and the Commitment/Recommitment of the Associates of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago
By Mary Mosser, FSC Associate - October 1st, 2017

On October 1st, we came together for Mass with family and friends to renew our commitment to the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Associate program. The Feast of St. Francis is October 4th and our commitment/recommitment celebration is on the Sunday closest to that date. Mass was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel in the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. Our celebrant was Reverend Robert Lucas, C.M.

For me, the first reading at Mass and Father’s homily continued the covenant theme from our reflection day a few weeks ago. Both reminded me of ways to keep my covenant with the Sisters. The first reading (Philippians 2: 1-11) at Mass said; Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not only for his own interests, but also for those of others.

The world around us teaches us to look out for “number one”. The first reading and our commitment to the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Associate program contradicts this message. The first reading at Mass reminds me to make time for service to others and to do it humbly and willingly. As part of our Associate agreements, we offer to share our gifts and talents in support of the mission and ministry of the Sisters.

In Fr. Bob’s homily, we heard a story of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis and his Friars visited a village where St. Francis was supposed to preach to the people. St. Francis visited, talked with people, ate with them then left the village. His Friars questioned why he didn’t preach and St. Francis said that he did preach, by his example. As an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, I take the spirit of St. Francis out into the world; to my family, to my co-workers and to everyone I encounter.

After the homily, our new Associate was called to the front of chapel and made her commitment as an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago for one year. Her pin was blessed and presented to her and she signed her Associate agreement. The current Associates were then called one by one to the front of chapel where we renewed our commitment as a group. Afterwards, the Sisters promised the support of their prayers and community to all of the Associates.

When Mass was over, we gathered in front of the Tabernacle for group pictures. Afterwards, we signed our Associate agreements, received a gift and card from the Sisters then joined the Sisters, family and friends for lunch in Marian Hall.

Belonging to the Associates of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago is a blessing in my life. Every year, I am strengthened in my faith by the example of the Sisters and Associates. From our Associate group day presentations and reflection days, I learn and grow in my faith. It made me smile to see the gift I received from the Sisters this year. It’s an angel with “Faith” written on the bottom of the angel’s skirt.