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July 1998

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity


July Meeting. The meeting will be at 8pm on Friday 24th July at Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Marty has kindly agreed to lead us in consideration of "The theological virtue of Hope".

It has been suggested that we might have another social function in the form of a "Pot Luck" dinner at Hèléne's sometime between Monday July 27 and Friday August 7. This proposal can be discussed at the meeting.

August Meeting. At our meeting on 26 June, Cec advised than our Regional Minister, Helen Jarick, had said that our elections should be held after the Regional elections. Therefore, at our August meeting, if Frank is available, we hope to be led to consider "Mary, Woman of Hope".

September Meeting. There is a possibility that Fr Alban may be able to join with us in our meeting on september 25.

Elections. We understand that elections will now be held on November 27.. We will elect a Minister, Vice-Minister, Formator, Secretary, Treasurer and hopefully an Infirmarian. Council has asked that all professed members make a special effort to be present; including those who often have difficulty getting to meetings. Articles 49 to 52 of the Constitutions may be worth reading in preparation.


June Meeting. We were delighted that Lori was able to join with us and we welcomed her friend Kathy Coles who was kind enough to fully participate and share her thoughts on the subjects we were discussing.

Following the example of the last Regional Fraternity meeting at Kellyville, we shared the reading of Peter Keogh’s paper "Our Secular Franciscan Rule" to celebrate the 20th anniversary of approval of the current revision of our Rule. Some of us shared our thoughts on what the Rule meant to us. We also discussed Peter’s suggestion that we could renew a very old tradition to read and listen to the Rule and the Testament of Saint Francis when we come together in community. Cec told us that parts of the Rule and Testament used to be read by the OFMs at Box Hill in Melbourne every Friday at the end of the Office. Kevin  noted that the paper "Pray the Rule" in the last "Canberra Franciscan" had sixteen elements similar to the content of an earlier document "The Rule in a Nutshell". It was agreed to look to Council to decide what form our readings should take. At the request of the meeting, a copy of the "Testament of Saint Francis" was included with this newsletter.

Pat gave us a well-prepared introduction to the Sacrament of Confirmation. She asked us to consider the questions: "What do you remember of your own confirmation? What did this Sacrament mean to you then? And now?" She left us with the suggestion that we consider every day one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit or one of the twelve fruits of the Spirit of which the tradition of the Church speaks:

Gifts: Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord;

Fruits: Charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.

The Rule. Council proposes that, immediately following the Office at each meeting, we pray a selected short reading from tthe Rule, meditating on it and possibly sharing its special meaning for us at the time. We will work progressively through the whole Rule.

July Social Function.

On the 4th July Pam, Frank, Rex, Jack, Cec and his wife Margaret, and Hèléne and her husband Eric had a delicious Vietnamese-style meal at a cost of only $10 each. We shared some wonderful wines and, of course, the company was excellent.

Letter from Brother Jim.

Dear Pam and Canberra SFO

Pace e Bene

Although this is posted from the Vatican, where I hope to see the Pope, I am writing this at Assisi as we await early breakfast before we go to St Clare’s to Mass at the Altar of the San Damiano Cross. We have visited in order from Frascati (near Rome) the Rieti Valley through which Francis walked, Fonte Colombo, where Francis wrote our Rule and where he had that horrible burning of his face to cure his eyes, we were in the actual room. We said Mass there then off to Greccio, where the Crib was made – beautiful spot, then Poggio Bustone (hermitage of Francis) also La Foresta and on to Assisi.

The first day Patrick gave us an overview and we visited many places to know where to go back to later on. I was in tears when I saw the San Damiano Cross and St Clare's body and Francis’ tomb. (We hoped to have Mass there.) We saw his house and the stable where he was born and the house of Clare.

The earthquake devastation is more than we were lead to believe. There are many of our beautiful sites covered in scaffolding and held up with wooden supports. The top church of St Francis’ is roofless and inside, which is closed, is probably ruined. San Damiano’s was hit as was the Portiuncala (Santa Maria degli Angeli) Santa Chiara, St Ruffino and Chiesa Nuova (over Francis’ house) and many more. Work has started but people are staying away in droves. Sorry for the scrawl, the desk is wobbling (No, it is not another earthquake).

Sending also a card to them at your school, Pam. I have bought some sets of slides that will help me to talk about St Francis and St Clare, when I am asked.

My love and prayers to each and every one. I have prayed for you all at each of our holy places.

Love, Jim (the Oz Cap on tour!)


Prayers. Please remember that we agreed to keep up our prayers for vocations to the SFO! Please pray that the Holy Spirit will be with the novices who are receiving instruction.

Next Council Meeting. 7.30pm Tuesday August 11 at Hèléne’s place.

Input for the ‘Canberra Franciscan’ and requests to Jack Smith: phone 61-2-62583824 fax 61-2-62583151

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