Challenges and new opportunities

Along the paths of Francis and Clare

altSr. Juliane Maria Feithen and Sr. Carla Casadei From April 25th to 30th, 2013, the General Assembly of the International Franciscan Conference of the Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular took place in Assisi. The themes was: “Rooted in Christ, On Fire with the Spirit, Go...Transform the World!”

Sr. Tiziana Merletti and I participated in the Assembly with 125 Franciscan religious, who are members of 92 diverse religious congregations, representing 27 nationalities, and hailing from various continents. Together there was a blending of languages, colors, life experiences,  knowledge, charism and energy, pain and hope. With us were also sr Katharina Maria Finken spsf, sr Juliane Maria Feithen spsf and sr Carla Casadei sfp, who was acting temporarily as finance administrator for the Conference.

altFr. James Puglisi, SA, a Srs. Tiziana, Licia, Brother William Boslet, OSFIn this multicultural setting, the Superior Generals evoked the living memory of Clare and Francis of Assisi to respond to our present-day reality and to the needs of the contemporary world.

Exploring new ways to use the Gospel in our history: This is our call”. By retracing the Franciscan and Clarian tradition, sr. Nancy Schereck, osf inspired us to live out change and generate new life wherever we go. “In a time marked by religious control of the powerful, Francis entered into spiritual power by embracing the leper.  In a time marked by corruption and political allegiance in the church, Francis and Clare offered another option and infused a new expression of the Spirit into the body of Christ, which represented a revitalizing alternative. “Let’s not quench the Spirit (see 1 Thes 5:19) as we walk in constant tension between the Law and the Spirit, which is freedom, and the spirit of human laws, which could suffocate the work of God.” Recalling the biblical foundation of our call, sr. Elena Bosetti sgbp, invited us to be constantly open to transformation and to connecting with all creation.

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Although our human realities can at times feel caged inside lifestyles and rigid prejudices that dull the vital energy of the Holy Spirit, Franciscan and Clarian charism moves us always toward freedom and toward the new evangelization, inviting us to a transformation. “Transformation:  It is a rational process, a radical, primary, fundamental change that  goes to the roots. It is an immensely powerful conversion process: an original reality becomes something new and different in a baffling way and often unrecognizable.”  Fr. Anthony Gittins CsSp urged us to be not only “transformers” but to also be “transformed” in order to carry out the urgent actions that today’s world needs.

dotas 05Srs. Tiziana, Katharina Maria, Juliane Maria and Liciaas 04Srs. Tiziana and Sr. Katharina Maria Finkenas 02Sr. Tiziana Merletti and Sr. Licia Mazzia

In the exchange of life experiences and charism, the Assembly worked to reach a final declaration that will guide the Franciscan Family of the Third Order Regular for the next four years:

Serving God’s mission as brothers and sisters,
we are rooted and nourished in Christ and on fire with the Spirit.
Recognizing the challenges of today’s world,
we accept our responsibility for all of God’s creation.
In contemplation and through prophetic action,
we dream, explore and take new risks.

Together in simplicity and Franciscan joy,
as God’s instruments
we participate in transforming the world.
In the diversity of the one human family
and respecting the people of all cultures,
we commitourselves in unity to living the Gospel interculturally.

We reach out to the people on the margins of society and Church,
especially women,
and we pledge ourselves to defend their cause.
This, we know, demands that we be transformed
as individuals and communities,
by the action of the Holy Spirit.
So…, Let us go…. Let us begin…!

After centuries of history, Franciscan and Clarian spirituality can continue to generate new life in support of the poor and all creation. We are grateful to be part of this great family, called by the Holy Spirit to walk through history pervading it with evangelical innovation.

altSisters togetheraltThe prior and the newly elected Council

And so, rooted always in today’s world and in the spirit of the Gospel, and as sfps, as a franciscan family, desire to continue to risk and explore new ways of incarnating our healing charism:  the white stone of Assisi continues to spark creative energies.

For more detailed information on the Assembly CFI-TOR, I invite you to visit the site

Sr. Licia Mazzia, SFP

Published: June 05, 2013


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