Christmas Peace and All Good from Our Franciscan Community’s Greccio

by Sister Julie Ann on December 24, 2010

Radiating from the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s Motherhouse in Manitowoc, WI and from all their Sisters serving throughout the United States, we pray for peace and all good for you and your family on this Feast of the Incarnation.


Three years prior to Francis’ death, at the town of Greccio, on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, Francis wanted to enact the memory of the babe who was born in Bethlehem. Join us in reflecting on this excerpt from Thomas Celano’s The Life of Saint Francis in your own home among your loved ones.


Novice hold Baby Jesus statue

Sister Monica Martin carries the child Jesus statue to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity's outdoor crib.

Finally, the day of joy has drawn near, the time of exultation has come. From many different places the brethren have been called. As they could, the men and women of that land with exultant hearts prepare candles and torches to light up that night whose shining star has enlightened every day and year.

Finally, the holy man of God comes and, finally all things prepared, he saw them and was glad. Indeed, the manger is prepared, the hay is carried in, and the ox and ass are led to the spot. There simplicity is given a place of honor, poverty is exalted, humility is commended, and out of Greccio is made a new Bethlehem.


 As you create a new Bethlehem this Christmas wherever you are, you are remembered in the solemnities of the Eucharist in our Manitowoc Greccio and beyond.

6 thoughts on “Christmas Peace and All Good from Our Franciscan Community’s Greccio”

  1. I always look forward to the Christmas postings. Those of us working outside of the Motherhouse are often drawn, I think, to what is happening and what is being shared there.
    As we welcomed 1600+ at our 4 PM Mass at St. Raphael, Oshkosh, and I saw the wonder in the eyes of the children as the crib was blessed, I thanked St. Francis for the wonderful gift of the Christmas crib and the entire Greccio experience so long ago. We all create “new Bethlehems” at this time of year thanks to the example of St. Francis.

  2. Sister Sharon Paul says:

    A blessed Christmas to all the Sisters living at the Motherhouse, St. Francis & Chiara Convent & beyond. Yes, how unique as we do create “new Bethlehems” wherever we are. I was thinking of those serving in the Armed Forces, those sharing their Christmas by serving the hungry in soup kitchens, policemen, hospital & nursing home personnel, emergency workers and the list can go on & on. (How blessed we are to have these services!) Thank YOU! When I saw the pictures you took around the Motherhouse, Sr. Julie Ann, it brought back many memories of HOW the GROTTO over the years has been a pivotal point among many of our Srs. since Postulancy where it is a stopping point to reflect and pray for many intentions.

  3. Sister Helena says:

    The placing of the Baby in the Grotto crib is one of my most memorable Christmas Eve events. As a Postulant we were at Silver Lake College and after Mass we walked to the Grotto in a gentle, falling snow singing carols, with lighted candles to place the Baby in the crib. A tradition that continues. Thank you for sharing this Christmas Eve event at the Motherhouse.

  4. Sister Kay says:

    These special traditions are treasured experiences or memories when one cannot be present. It’s part of being home for Christmas!

  5. Sister Ann Joachim says:

    A beautifully written description of our traditions and joy-filled memories of Christmas liturgies at Holy Family convent. Thank you.

  6. Sister Adrianna says:

    What a beautiful tradition we have. Many memories of all types of weather and the procession. Makes one feel like they are at the first nativity. What a blessing the internet and Sr. Julie Ann’s talent and camera that those of us who cannot process, can still enjoy. Blessings to all.

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