Why Do We Gather?

The following message is from the minister of the St. Bernardine of Siena Fraternity.

At our most recent leadership gathering for our region I gathered with other ministers during our breakout sessions. Li gathered with others involved in formation, and Maria gathered with those involved in spiritual assistance. Lorna of course was the main presenter in her role as minister for the region.

I can’t speak to what others heard or discussed, but at the ministers gathering we discussed ways to be sure everyone attended the gatherings. We discussed ideas. One important conclusion we came to is that we need to review our rule and constitution regarding why we have a monthly gathering and why it is important. This is actually a topic I can’t take on in this brief minister’s message. I will be reviewing some of this though at our monthly meeting.

Why is it important for me to share this now?

The guiding statement I heard from a former national minister, Patrick Mendes, is that no secular can be in a fraternity in isolation. Some have put themselves in isolation. Some are there for health reasons. Some are there because they live a great distance from their home fraternity. As a council we will be dealing with these before the end of the year according to our rule and constitution. Each will have an opportunity to be in community as best they can according to their circumstances.

What are we to do about those who do not regularly attend our gatherings? Some come every few months? Is this community? Is this what our rule calls for? Is this fair to those who attend faithfully every month?

Why do we gather?

These are questions we will explore together in fraternity.

Pax et bonum,




Reflections from the Q

Since I was one of many who did not go to the 19th Quinquennial Congress (the Q) back in July, I asked those who did go top share their experiences. They left me with three distinct impressions. Continue reading “Reflections from the Q”

Saint of the Month

Mary Beth Murray presented our saint of the month, Margaret of Cortona.

The saints show us how to live as disciples of Christ. Mary Beth shared the lesson she learned from St. Maragaret: when you forgive, forgive passionately.

Heavenly Father, may we follow the example of St. Margaret by forgiving others as you forgive us. Amen.

St. Margaret of Cortona (1247-1297)




Day of Recollection

On September 10, Fr. James M. Ciaramitaro, OFM Conv will present Purgatory, the Gift of God’s Mercy at St. Colette Catholic Church, 2900 Meadow Dr., Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

This day is sponsored by the  Northwest Franciscan Community of the IHM (Palatine). All Secular Franciscans in the Mother Cabrini Region are invited to attend.

If you are interested in attending, please let our minister, Jerry Stecker, know. He will RSVP for our fraternity.

About the Speaker

Fr. Jim holds a master’s degree in Franciscan Studies from St. Bonaventure University (New York), and is the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Rockford. In addition, he is the Provincial Spiritual Assistant for the St. Bonaventure Province of the OFM Conv. and spiritual assistant for St. Anthony of Padua Fraternity in Rockford. Fr. Jim is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker who will, in this Year of Mercy, provide us with a fresh, new and non-gloomy look at Purgatory and God’s loving mercy.

About the Event

The event is free, and lunch will be provided. Aside from Mass in the Chapel, all activities will take place in Halpin Hall, located in the church’s basement.

The agenda follows:

9:00 a.m.         Sign-in and breakfast (Halpin Hall, in the church’s basement)

10:00 a.m.       1st Conference: Purgatory, the Gift of God’s Mercy

10:45 a.m.       Break

11:00 a.m.       Mass (Chapel); Celebrant/homilist: Fr. Jim

Noon               Lunch

1:00 p.m.         2nd Conference: Continued Reflection on Purgatory, the Gift of God’s Mercy

2:00 p.m.         Break

2:15 p.m.         Holy Hour

3:00 p.m.         Evening Prayer (bring your copy of Liturgy of the Hours)

3:30 p.m.         Concluding remarks and dismissal


Webinar on Laudato Si

In case you are interested . . .

On July 25th, the Catholic Climate Covenant will be offering a webinar on climate justice. You can register for it by clicking here.

Sylvia Hood Washington–a candidate in our fraternity–will be one of the presenters!

A description of the event follows:

Please join us on Monday, July 25th, 3-4 pm Eastern to hear Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington, noted environmental scientist and member of the Illinois Environmental Justice Commission, speak about how climate change is an issue of justice and protection of life. Dr. Hood Washington will be joined by Katelyn Roedner Sutter, and Edgar Garibay from the Environmental Justice Program at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Stockton. They will talk about the impacts of poor air quality  and climate change in the fields and towns along the vast San Joaquin Valley of central California
This webinar will help us understand:
  • How climate change impacts disproportionally people of color.
  • How Laudato Si’ is a helpful framework to understand and act on issues of climate justice.
  • The impacts of climate change on people of color, especially African American and farmworker communities.
  • How we, as people of faith, can respond to the challenge of environmental racism.