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June 2001

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
Canberra, Australia

COMING EVENTS

Fraternity Meeting.

Fraternity Meeting The next Fraternity meeting is to be held Friday 29 June 2001 at Marian Hall, St. Matthew's Parish Centre, Page, at 8pm. Note that this is a week later than scheduled. That is because the Marian Hall is being used for a meeting about a possible "Lay Expo" to which we have been invited to send two representatives.

Hélène is not available on the 29th so Loui will lead us to share our experiences as secular Franciscans and discuss relevant issues. He says: "Let this be a night when we will just be together as a family, praying together and sharing our common story as Franciscans."

Loui also wrote:

Once again we seem to be questioning ourselves; what kind of a community we are? The high ideal of a loving Christian community appears to be too distant a possibility. It is true that the bond between us is not as strong as it could or should be. There is more room for reaching out to those who are sick, old or in need.

On the other hand let us also give credit to all the goodness and good will that is there. There are fine examples of true love in action amongst us. I would like to mention just one such fine example: one of our sisters is week after week visiting and helping one of our isolated sisters.

I personally feel privileged to have walked in my Franciscan vocation along with you all these years. I have been touched and enriched by your faith.

I have experienced many happy occasions associated with the SFO. Let me mention one such witness of faith, which alone is more than worth my time and effort spent in the Fraternity. Thanks to God, I had a privilege to be in the company of our late sister Penny Ireland, shortly before she died. In spending some time beside her bed in hospital I witnessed her simple faith. Penny was telling me of her joyful expectation of meeting Jesus at her death. I truly felt God's presence and peace radiating from her. Penny welcomed our 'sister death' in a truly Franciscan way and completed her Christian life as a true Franciscan.

Without trying to avoid hard and real challenges facing us individually and as a fraternity, I would like to encourage us all to persevere in our Christian vocation as secular Franciscans. I am sure Jesus has plans for our fraternity let us renew our enthusiasm and give Him a pleasant surprise by making ourselves ready to be instruments of His love for each other for His Church and the world.

"Let us start all over again ..." Francis said when his life was already so conformed to Christ's. With God's Grace we can too.

Perhaps, some of you also have a positive experience in the life of our Fraternity you would like to share, either through this Newsletter or at the meeting.

'Many of the people, both noble and ignoble, cleric and lay, impelled by divine inspiration, began to come to St. Francis, wanting to carry on the battle constantly under his discipline and under his leadership'. Truly, upon the foundation of constancy a noble structure of charity arose, in which the living stones, gathered from all parts of the world, were erected into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Oh with what ardor the new disciples of Christ burned! How great was the love that flourished in the members of this pious society! For whenever they came together anywhere, or met one another along the way, as the custom is, there a shoot of spiritual love sprang up.' (T Celano)

Diana Low Visit.

Diana will be visiting Canberra in July. She has written:

Dear Friends in St. Francis:
Greetings from Singapore! How are you all? Hope this email finds all of you in the pink of health. Just a short note to let you know that I will be visiting Sydney and Canberra in July, as I will be attending the PALM'S 40th Birthday in Sydney and will be visiting the L'Arche Community in Canberra after that. The birthday celebration is in Hunters Hills, on the 14th and 15th of July, then I will be travelling to Canberra on the 16th. I am hoping to catch up with the Community while I am there.
Peace and Goodwill to all,
Shalom and God Bless,
Diana

McArdle Visit. Peter McArdle sfo of the Canterbury Fraternity in Kent, England, will be visiting Canberra from 17 to 19 September. We look forward to meeting Peter and together sharing our Franciscan spirit. He will be staying with Martin Morris. There are four in his party, so Martin would appreciate it if someone could lend him a single bed for the occasion.

REPORTS

St Anthony's Day. Cec and Loui had a wonderful time celebrating St Anthony's day with Anglican Franciscans on Saturday 16 May and discovered once again how much we have in common with them and invited them to celebrate with us the Transitus.

Pat asked for leave till the end of the year as she is full time caring for her family. Please keep her in our prayers. Thank you Pat for your faithfulness to Franciscan vocation. You are such a powerful example for us all.

Kathy. Cec reports that Kathy's operation was complex and long but she is now back in Canberra recuperating. The indications are that the operation was reasonably successful in relation to the reasons she had it. She has 75% to 80% use of her left hand. Kathy says she is "fragile". However, Cec says that, as always, she is a bright spirit despite the circumstances. Please remember Kathy in your prayers.

OTHER MATTERS

Celebrations. Jack will celebrate the 45th anniversary of his profession on 15 July and Cec will celebrate the 54th anniversary of his in August.

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 jacksmth@ozemail.com.au : phone 61-2-6258 3824