Franciscan Advent Ponderings: Women of Faith in a Year of Faith

by Sister Julie Ann on December 11, 2012

Recently this 2012 Season of Advent,  Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity pondered Women of Faith in a Year of Faith: Mary, Clare, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. Sister Anne Marie Lom facilitated the Saturday of recollection offering 3 introductions to prayer. Find here a small snapshot of the day and a few notes for your own reflection.

Mary, Woman of Faith

  • The Church sees Mary as the most complete example of our faith. She is Christ-centered.
  • Mary holds the highest position in the Church but is closest to us.
  • Mary is our way because she goes before us and shows us the way of faith.
  • She has already experienced everything that happens to us.
  • True understanding of Mary comes from Gospels more so than from devotions or hagiographers.

Clare, Woman of Faith

The Santa Chiara Dossal at Assisi was the first thirteenth-century painting dedicated to a female monastic; its depiction of Clare as an active and determined woman stands in marked contrast to images of humble and submissive brides of Christ. Painting depicts Saint Clare of Assisi dressed in the plain habit of the order she founded.  The painting also features eight episodes from the life of Clare, taken from the “Legenda Sanctae Clarae” by Thomas of Celano:

  • Clare’s conversion,
  • Clare’s secret flight to join the friars,
  • Clare’s investiture,
  • Clare’s refusal to return to her family,
  • Clare’s sister Agnes professing her vows,
  • Clare’s miracles, and Clare’s obsequies (2) (funeral/burial rites)

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity, Women of Faith: Sister Henrielda Courtier

The very possibility of living a religious life comes from the gift of faith.  Sister Henrielda, Community director from 1969-1977, expresses with great widom, sentiments that are true in every age. She said, “Faith lived in community is expressed in practical action that looks beyond works and activities. It involves fidelity to God and on-going conversion, the proclamation of his word in a true evangelization and the testimony of a joyful living witness. This commitment of faith is the heart of the whole religious life. The intensity and maturity of one’s life as a Christian can only be measured against the absoluteness of its “yes.” God’s work is absolute; it asks for everything. It is the   intensity of one’s faith, trust and love that allows the person who has pronounced a “yes” to discover humbly, inexorably, and sometimes painfully, the unexpected consequences of the gift.” (Founders Day Program script, Sister Regina Rose)

Our Sisters who participated in the day promised to share their own ponderings on what this day meant to them. Watch for their postings.



26 thoughts on “Franciscan Advent Ponderings: Women of Faith in a Year of Faith”

  1. Sister Caritas says:

    It is always a blessing to take time…and ponder…to step away from all that surrounds us, distracts us, keeps us from sitting alone with the Lord…and listening wholeheartedly to His message in the NOW moment. Today He spoke the World-Faith. I was drawn especially to Clare..and the symbolism of her leaving everything she was use to…leaving it all behind…totally free to follow the Lord calling and she did so leaving through “Death’s Door”-the door of the house thru which deceased member were taken. She was “dead” to the past, and in deep Faith…alive to everything that now awaited her…the challenges, the struggles, the convictions, and mostly her Love for the Lord…and she followed His footsteps just like Francis. How willing am I to continue being stripped of everything-especially my securities-to follow wherever He leads me? Faith, walking hand in hand with Love…will see me thru…everything! A wonderful day!

  2. Sister Mary Ann Feminella says:

    During the Advent presentation on Mary, Woman of Faith, it struck me very strongly that Mary has experienced everything that happens to me. Finding different stories in the Gospel there are many that relate to my life NOW. In prayer I will use these sections to help grow in inner strength and inner peace; and by doing so I will deepen my relationship wtih Jesus.

  3. Sister says:

    Advent Ponderings is an excellent way to think about the Year of Faith. Positive results do come.

  4. S.A. Hanousek says:

    Few Sisters know I came from a family fo means. We had domestic help. I never made a bed or washed a dish until I was 14. When I was thinking of Religous Life, I looked for a Community that lived in poverty. If I was going to live for the Lord, I will go all the way-in holy poverty-and I do.

  5. Sister says:

    Clare, Woman of Faith…this talk was most informative. Incidents from the life of Clare were brought out. Sister Anne Marie then gave the culture of the time which explained WHY things were done as they were. Together this inspires me to read the book Clare of Assisi by Ingred J. Peterson, OSF.

  6. Sister says:

    Advent ponderings was a real reprieve from all the activities relating to Christmas preparations.

  7. Sister says:

    Sister Anne Marie is giving us confidence that this Year of Faith does invite a daily opening and listening to the Lord to guide my thinking, doing and being as inspired through the day. At our Baptism we let Jesus “in the door”. He already is my personal friend-so how to take it from words to belief?
    Insights into living in the middle ages, what that resulted in changing Clare’s living, loving the Lord and being a nothing to society-WOW! Thank you for planting, praying, reading and searching, Sister Anne Marie.

  8. Sister Maria says:

    “Mary holds the highest position in the church but is closest to us. Mary is our way because she goes before us and shows us the way of faith. She has already experienced everything that has happened to us.” Very inspiring! Thank you for the beautiful presentation!

  9. It was an act of faith to venture to speak to my own sisters about such a profound topic as “faith”. It was many of these “women of faith”, older than I, who inspired me to continue in religious life. It is younger “women of faith” who inspire me to be faithful as I watch their faith grow. We are all on this journey as “sisters” and I am so grateful to have “faith-filled companions”.

  10. Sister says:

    What an awakening day this was-Awakening when we look at Mary and Clare who kept working with the unknown and making the Kingdom known in our time.
    Then being awakening to our leaders who have gone before us. That each one of us will operate today in our new conversion. Bless you, Sister Anne Marie.

  11. Sister says:

    An excellent presentation. Not only did you bring to our mind-St. Francis, Clare, our Holy Mothers, the Community superiors, but also “us” personally. The part we play in the “Year of Faith”. I will remember, but not let my fear of so many things lessen my faith, but rather strengthen it. Advent is a good time to do so! God bless you, Sister Anne Marie!

  12. Sister says:

    The presentation brought forth things of growth in Mary’s life, church teaching, our Franciscan way of life, our communities development which I’ve taken as ordinary growth and development were in reality tremendous acts of faith. It awakens a need in myself to look more deeply into how we truly grow.

  13. Sister Verone says:

    I felt a greater gratitude for the many women of faith in our community and security in knowing that God’s gift of faith will be with us in the future as it has been in the past.

  14. Sister Mary Frances says:

    I never thought of my leaving the single life, family and home as a conversion experience until today.
    I sometimes feel that I don’t pray enough, but knowing that my prayer and my work actualize my faith is humbling.
    Knowing that we (FSCC) are part of a legacy of faith gives me hope for the future and the present.

  15. Sister Karen Anne says:

    The Year of Faith inspires me to think about my and everyone’s need of Faith in our lives to connect to the popular secular world. Take time ot pray faithfully.

  16. Sister says:

    God is in charge even of vocations perhaps we need to increase our faith that God will open windows of vocations for us even though he closes some doors. We have given them something they will need to carry out another one of God’s plans.

  17. Sister Jerianne says:

    While I was listening to that beautiful song “Chiara, Luman Christi”, I substituted my own name in place of “Chiara” and it gave me a new outlook as a person of light of the New Evangelization. It was a wonderful day, filled with many graces, thank you Sister Anne Marie.

  18. Sister says:

    I greatly appeciated the material received at the Advent Ponderings. The day was spent dwelling on some examples of faith in the life of Mary, Clare and some of our Sisters. We also reflected on examples of faith in our own lives

  19. Sister Leone says:

    It was informative as it was inspiring and practical. As a result, I am prompted to evangelize by being a more authentic witness to joyful Gospel living in gratitude for the many blessings I enjoy because of my gifts of faith and vocation.

  20. Sister Virginette says:

    Living religious life is a strong statement of Faith! Thank you for inspiring us on our Advent journey.

  21. Sister Malachy says:

    My father first came to visit after my final profession. He asked me to come home and I told him no this was what I wanted. Many years later my sister told me that he had asked. Also my step Grandma in her old age begged me to come take care of her in thanks for all she had done for me. She received the same answer as my Dad did.

  22. Sister Mary Frederick says:

    Sister Anne Marie’s presentation held much for us to “chew on” and LIVE…She is a truly gifted woman for us-as Community to hear and provide talks as this one.

  23. Sister says:

    It helped us see God’s action in our own life–how it has been faith and courage He blessed me with and continues to grace me.

  24. Sister Theresa Chinh Nguyen, says:

    Jesus, I would like to share with you. First, this time is
    so busy for me, because I have many things to do to prepare for my final exams.
    However, I decided to make my Advent Pondering because I think that nothing is
    more important than you. If I have you, I have everything. Isn’t that right?
    The second thing I want to share with you is my feeling about Advent Pondering
    2012. This is a good opportunity to help me grow deeper in faith by learning
    from the small book and explanation that Sister Anne Marie gave and by prayer.
    I am interested in the way Sister Anne Marie connects the year of faith with
    Mother Mary, Saint Clare and Franciscan Sisters who are women of faith. They
    are such wonderful examples to me. They also encourage me to practice some new
    things that I learned through Advent Pondering. I still have many things to say
    to you, Jesus, but I have to study now. I will tell you more at another time.
    OK. I thank you, Jesus and Sister Anne Marie.


  25. Sister Priscilla Simmons says:

    Advent Ponderings strengthened my previous thoughts re: God’s love for us. The Three Persons in One God love one another completely–so much so that love overflowed, needing to find us. Now our love for Him has definately overflowed, so that every human being finds at least one other being to love. Of course, we all love Jesus, Who is also God. We should add one or more human persons to love.

  26. Sister Mary Ann says:

    Thank you Sister Anne Marie for sharing so much of yourself with all of us! You are a blessing to us!

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