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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Transforming Tension, Choosing Love

This Living Franciscan post is written by Michelle L'Allier, OSF

Holy Week is filled with the unexpected: from the jubilation of Palm Sunday to the suffering and death of Jesus on Good Friday; from the darkness of waiting and uncertainty of Holy Saturday to the joy of Easter Resurrection. In Mathew’s Passion narrative, we hear Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus, fully human as well as fully divine, transformed his anguish into acceptance. Ronald Rolheiser speaks of Jesus purifying sin and tension by absorbing and transforming it…taking in hatred, holding it, transforming it, and giving back love…taking in fear, holding it, transforming it, and giving back freedom.

The Sacred Path
We as Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls are on our own journey of transformation. This blog post began long before Holy Week when I was walking on the Sacred Path at Clare’s Well (shown above), remembering the Legislative Session of our Delegate Assembly. This is once-every-five years gathering is a time when we come together as Franciscan Sisters to consider in a spirit of prayer God’s call and our response to the needs of the times. At our February Legislative Session we wrestled with the opportunities and challenges we face as we consider our limited resources, wide-ranging experiences and rich spiritual heritage. Blessed with faith and gifted companions for the journey, we vision and plan together for the future with hope. At our February meeting we also affirmed our call to continued conversation of community life in the 21st Century and to explore forms of governance that more fully reflect values of collegiality and shared responsibility.

Earlier this month we had the Election Session of our Delegate Assembly during which we elected a new Leadership Team. We listened to the movements of God’s Spirit in our midst and in our own hearts and chose a team of four Sisters who will be entrusted with leading us as a community for the next five years. Of this time, Jan described a metaphor of the kitchen  for our community, the hearth of the home is where we prepare food to nourish one another and others; it is where we sip from comforting and at times contentious cups of coffee, all the while staying at the table. It is a pertinent image for these times. Whether considering choices regarding the future of a community such as ours or perhaps significant personal and family decisions, or whether it means moving forward in the midst of a polarized political climate, the model of listening deeply and staying at the table until tension is transformed is an example of fidelity to love.

May we in this Holy Week follow Jesus as he shows us the way to absorb, purify and transform tension and sin rather than simply transmit them.

 Spring’s new life transforms remnants of fall and winter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How is it in your kitchen?

We Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls gathered April 8 - 10 to elect new leadership. Our choice of leaders for the next five years was grounded in understanding we have a lot of work to do at this time in the history of our world, church, and religious life.

As we met around tables discerning who God might be calling to lead us from 2011 - 2016, our facilitator, Sister Marie Chiodo, said we reminded her of a kitchen. A kitchen connotes warmth, nourishment, sharing everyday basics, looking out for each other, tending the farm, arguing over cups of coffee which keep us at the table through contention and through comfort. "Is that roast done yet?"

"Stay in the kitchen," Marie said. We must stay at the table together. We are at the time of "not done yet." Doing the master planning that we must do is only setting the table. For the main course, we need to continue to grapple with the deeper meaning of religious life -- the deeper meaning of obedience in mission and community together. The kitchen table holds our prayer, memories, struggles, doubts and hopes for the future. How is it in your kitchen?

Where is it that we gather with equal voice sharing in decisions? It is right here. Staying at the table, we will arrive one day over cups of coffee at a table now set, the elusive master plan having grown organically from who we are. Will that roast be ready to serve?