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May 2001

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
Canberra, Australia

Fraternity Meeting. The next Fraternity meeting is to be held Friday 25 May 2001 at St. Matthew's Parish Centre, Page, at 8pm. The Formation session will be based on a recital of the Rosary with the following members giving short reflections (maximum time 5 minutes) on each of the Joyful Mysteries:

Cec Webster The Annunciation
Martin Morris The Visitation
Loui Seselja The Nativity
Rex Sulway The Presentation
Sylvia Berger The Finding in the Temple.

Loui writes:

In this month of May, traditionally dedicated to Mary, we have agreed to gather around her praying the Rosary, meditating on Joyful mysteries of our Faith and looking to her as the model of our Christian and Franciscan living. We will do this as a Christian community, reminded also that we do it as a living organ of the Secular Franciscan Order present at all continents of the Earth. It is also fitting to honour Mary during this month when our bishops rededicated Australia to her protection.

Rule - The Virgin Mary, humble servant of the Lord, was open to his every word and call. She was embraced by Francis with the indescribable love and declared the protectress and advocate of his family. The secular Franciscans should express their ardent love for her by imitating her complete self-giving and by praying earnestly and confidently.

Constitutions - Mary, Mother of Jesus, is the model of listening to the Word and of faithfulness to vocation: we, like Francis, see all the virtues realized in her. The brothers and sisters should cultivate intense love for the most holy Virgin, imitation, prayer and filial abandonment. They should manifest their own devotion with expressions of genuine faith, in forms accepted by the Church.

Thomas of Celano Life2 - He embraced the Mother of our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars. In her honour he fasted every year from the feast of Saint Peter and Paul until the Assumption.

Quarterly Newsletter. Because this is a quarterly issue, material from Fr Carl, being the outline of his talks at the retreat, is provided.

Coming Meetings. Helene has volunteered to give the Formation talk at the June meeting and Pam will do the same at the July meeting. Fr Carl will be joining us in August and will lead us in consideration of "Poverty and the Secular Franciscan."

Anglican Franciscans. This is just a reminder that the Canberra Fraternity of the Anglican Third Order of the Society of St. Francis has invited us to join them on Saturday 16 June at 10am at Holy Cross Church, Hackett, to celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. The day will start with a paraliturgy followed by a shared "brunch". Five members have indicated that they will be attending. Further details from Martin (6251 1928).

Cooma Pilgrimage Our isolated sister, Marge Mackay, has invited us to travel to her property near Cooma for an outdoor Mass in memory of the late Br. Andrew. This may need to be deferred until after the colder weather.

Regional Meetings The St. Clare Regional Fraternity (NSW) will hold regional days this year on Saturday 21 July and on Saturday 28 October. Both gatherings will be held at St. Joseph's Hall, Albert St. Edgecliffe (an eastern suburb of Sydney). Starting time is 10.30am and finishing time is 3.30pm. BYO lunch to share. These are very important meetings in terms of our unity as an order and our ability to serve our sisters and brothers by sharing with them. Please note these dates in your diary and let us try to organize well in advance a party to travel together to Edgecliffe.

Kathy. Those of us who do not have access to email may not be aware of the problems Kathy is having at the moment. On May 14, Kathy wrote:

It seems that every time I write a "Dear Family and Friends" letter it is to bring some awful news, and, alas, this one is no exception. Whilst David and I were on a holiday in Queensland recently I was suffering pretty severe pain in my left arm and hand with numbness and weakness in the whole limb. . . .

This news doesn't thrill me, as you can imagine. This will be my 15th spinal operation and they don't get any easier as time goes by. I have been in a state of shock ever since finding out about it. Lots of tears and distress. David has been a real rock - doing all he can to help whilst trying to get his own work done. He is about to go back to Canada for a couple of weeks, so this is difficult for him as well.

As for the morphine pump - well, it looks as though this will be put on hold for the time being. One traumatic operation at a time, thanks very much!

On May 21, she wrote:

I have just received word that I am to fly to Sydney in the morning - Tuesday 22 May and that my spinal surgery will now be on Wednesday 23 May. This has been changed because my back surgeon wants to assist in the surgery. The surgery will be done at the:
North Shore Private Hospital,
St. Leonards, NSW 2065
Phone: [switchboard] 02-8425-3000

I am not sure how long I will be in hospital but a week at least. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers - needless to say I am fairly anxious about all of this but more than ready to have it done as the pain is pretty bad and the surgeon says the disc has ruptured at the T1 level and is pressing on the spinal cord and nerve roots. So lets hope the doctors have steady hands.
My love to each and every one of you,

Please keep her in your prayers and, if possible, let her know that you are thinking of her. Her home address for letters and cards is:

22 Sinclair Street

Fraternity. This raises the matter of Fraternity in its broadest sense and perhaps we should be asking ourselves some questions.

This is not just a matter for the Council. We are not only expected to love God but to love our neighbour also, especially those who belong to our Franciscan family.

Fraternity Council Elections. We are due to hold these in the second half of 2001. All professed members are urged to give prayerful consideration to accepting nomination for Minister and/or Council member.

Funds. Please bear in mind that Fraternity funds are very low following the payment of levies to the Regional Council and the costs of the Retreat.

Celebrations. Elizabeth will celebrate a birthday on 28 May and both she and Rex will celebrate the second anniversary of their profession on June 25. Diana Low celebrates her birthday on June 19. Pat celebrates hers on June 20 and Loui will celebrate his on June 24.

Prayers. Please remember to pray for vocations:

"Gracious God, we pray that men and women might respond generously to Your call to ministry in the Church; --- And may You increase our Franciscan community by calling those dedicated to penance and the Gospel life."

Next Council Meeting The date and place will be advised to members by 'phone.

Input for the Canberra Franciscan and requests to Jack Smith : phone 61-2-6258 3824