Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Francis and Other

by Sister Carmen Barsody, OSF

I share with you an experience I had one morning when I lived in Nicaragua. As I left my bedroom and walked down our hall, I looked out toward our neighbors in the barrio, seeing the scrap wood houses and empty barrels because the water didn’t come that night, I heard a voice say within me, “I don’t ever want to be where I don’t wake-up and not see this reality and have to be in direct relationship with this irreconcilable disparity.”

It was also in Nicaragua that one day we were talking about this famous question of what it means to be Franciscan, and Sr. Joanne Klinnert said, “What Francis did was follow his spirit, and so, to be Franciscan is to follow your spirit!” The Spirit moving in Francis was larger than Francis. It moved in relationship with his experience of what was happening in the world and in the church in his day. I remember a slogan used by the National Vocation office a few years back which said, “May the unrest of Christ’s peace be with you.”

We know Francis didn’t set out to join one of the religious communities of his day. In his unrest he set out to be with and to serve the lepers. His heart was enflamed by humbleness of Christ. He made his whole body a tongue. The emphasis was given to becoming and living the gospel, not merely talking about it.

Leonardo Boff, in his book, ST. FRANCIS, challenges our use of phrases such as “preferential option for the poor”. According the Boff and his understanding of Francis, it wasn’t an "option" to be with the impoverished and marginalized, it was the foundation of Francis’ life. Let our own bodies and lives be our tongue, for in this we will find perfect joy.


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