Discipleship in the Life of Francis, Clare, the Franciscan Sisters and You

by Sister Julie Ann on October 1, 2009

srpampastdir.jpgDuring the month of October Franciscanized World will be highlighting the call to discipleship of our Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, specifically Sister Pamela Biehl, OSF, as a parish director of the Catholic Communities of St. Mary Winneconne, WI, and St. Mary, Omro, WI and Sister Anne Marie Lom, OSF, as a spiritual director for both St. Raphael Parish, Oshkosh, WI and our own religious community.

Special Spiritual Feature


sannemarie1.jpgSister Anne Marie invites you to join some Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity as they reflect on their annual retreat at the Community’s House of Prayer entitled: Discipleship in the Life of Francis, Clare and You. Read their thread of comments all month long and feel free to add your own reflections.  Expect the retreat slideshow to change as all of creation goes through transformation.

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Ready to begin? Read the sharing.


103 thoughts on “Discipleship in the Life of Francis, Clare, the Franciscan Sisters and You”

  1. Sr. Pam says:

    When Sr. Anne Marie shared with me her idea of an online retreat and asked if I’d be interested in doing this as part of our blogging participation on our community website little did I know that I would be recovering from hip surgery during that time.

    This retreat has truly been a gift to me in helping me to articulate and then share my thoughts based on the themes that S. Anne Marie presented throughout the month. I know those themes were not chosen specifically for me but I felt they were because they continually touched on some aspect of healing that I was either struggling with or in awe of as I walked these days of recovery.

    Thanks for making your idea a reality, Sr. Anne Marie and know it’s been a joy and a blessing to have walked this month with you and so many others through this blog. I feel like I have been supported through the pain and the therapy by your prayers and your presence. Thanks to all of you for helping to make these days so meaningful and reflective for me.

  2. I praise and thank God for Sister Julie Ann’s support and comments and for Sr. Pam’s reflection on her journey to recovery from hip surgery. I attribute it to the work of the Holy Spirit whenever a comment “speaks right to me” in my concrete situation even though the comment is intended for a wider audience.
    I thought we’d close today with the Gospel for Sunday, some background on the Gospel and some reflection questions. Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM writes the background and reflection questions for each Sunday Gospel and I edit them. This is a free service and can be emailed to you each week. If you wish to be added to the distribution list, just email me: samlom@excite.com.
    If you have any comments on questions, feel free to add them to the blog. This is another step in preparation for Sunday’s feast of All Saints.

    November 1, 2009
    Feast of All Saints
    Matthew 5:1-12a

    1 When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2. He began to teach them, saying:
    3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
    5. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
    6. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
    7. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
    8. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
    9. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
    10. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

    The Solemnity of All Saints has readings that are especially chosen for the celebration; therefore, the gospel is taken from Matthew and not Mark’s gospel that we have been reading most of this year. In Matthew’s gospel this reading is taken from his description of the early ministry of Jesus. He has chosen four of his apostles, Andrew and his brother Peter, and two other brothers, James and John. Matthew had also reported that Jesus has been in the synagogues proclaiming the rein of God and curing people. With the spread of his reputation more and more people are coming to hear Jesus. In the first verse of the text, Matthew states that Jesus decided to take his disciples and move apart from the crowd where he will teach them privately.

    Being a follower of Jesus means more than traveling with him. He expects the disciples to learn from him and to shape their lives by his teachings. As Matthew describes Jesus’ instruction to his followers, he is drawing on his community’s familiarity with Moses who went up the mountain and brought back the commandments from God. Here Jesus takes his disciples up the mountain and sits with them, assuming the position of a teacher. But his teaching is in the tradition of wisdom teaching and not commandments. He is encouraging behavior that brings a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment and discourages those things that are destructive. Certainly, what he advocates is contrary to the wisdom of the day. In the wisdom tradition, Jesus presents a way of life that one is to strive after rather than commandments.

    In this text, the first and third beatitude treat the notion of power. Those with power and means usually rule societies. In God’s rein, those who are considered powerless, the meek and the poor, will rule society. The second and fourth beatitudes focus on those people whose lives are broken or are in turmoil. Their state was understood to be retribution or punishment for some past sin. They grieve because, for some, their situation was brought upon themselves. But, the beatitudes suggest that they are not responsible for their situation and that it will be corrected for them.

    The next three beatitudes speak to religious piety. Mercy is the disposition God has toward a sinner. Those who seek mercy are to live with mercy toward others. (The Our Father) Regarding the “clean of heart” it to be noted that observing ritual purity is not sufficient. One must live with a pure heart to enter the presence of God.

    Lastly, God’s desire is that all live in peace. Sin disrupts God’s desire for us and destroys peace. Those who are able to overcome evil with good are doing God’s work and will be known as Children of God. The last two beatitudes address the reality that those who follow Jesus’ teaching will be ridiculed and persecuted. When this happens the disciple can rejoice because he/she knows that they are living by God’s standards and not those of the world.

    The values that Jesus advocates run contrary to those held by society in general. Throughout Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is described as the one who is poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful, pure of heart and a peacemaker. These beatitudes look to a future time when God’s presence will be brought to fullness on earth. That future day has begun to appear in the person of Jesus. Jesus teaches his followers, by his life, how to live their lives reflecting the values of the reign of God. Thus, hope for the reign of God will continue to be present and unfold in the world through them.

    Reflection Questions:
    1. Where are you in the first line of this gospel:
    ·one of the crowd left looking for Jesus,
    ·a disciple that Jesus has taken off to instruct,
    ·a disciple who is becoming more aware of what it is to be a disciple?
    2.Have you ever experienced blessings during a painful period of your life?
    ·What made it possible for you to move to a place where you were able to discover the blessing?
    ·How was the place where you were aware of the blessing different from the place where you seemed only to be aware of the difficulty or pain?
    3.What does it mean for you to be a follower of Christ?
    ·Is Jesus, as teacher, part of your image?
    ·What have you learned from Jesus in the last month/last year about being his follower?
    4.Who are the people who help you to learn (or mentor you) about being a follower?
    5.Can you identify people in your life who you would include among
    · the poor in spirit,
    · those who morn,
    · the meek,
    · those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    · the merciful,
    · the pure of heart,
    · the peacemakers,
    · the persecuted for the sake of righteousness?
    ·What is the quality of your relationship with any of these people? What do they bring to your life?
    6.Do you ever think that God’s reign is present in our world through the people who live the values of the reign of God?
    ·What happens within you as you contemplate those ideals?
    ·How would you like to respond to God?

  3. We come to the end of October and to the end of our on line retreat. Again, thank you for posting, praying and for some of you, your quiet presence. I have been richly blessed and will celebrate the Feast of All Saints having experienced many earth bound saints as well as our heavenly patrons of St. Francis and St. Clare.
    I hope you visit our Community web page often in the future and continue to comment on our Franciscan way of life.

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