Mother Cabrini Celebration

So we had a few glitches to contend with (our reservation of the chapel disappeared) but we managed at Techny Towers for this year’s Mother Cabrini celebration. We loved seeing so many people congregated there to hear Father Anthony.


Elections at St. Francis-St. Louis

This was my first election as Presider on behalf of the Regional Executive Council. It also happened to be Brother Joe’s birthday. Brother Joe and I are birthday twins (almost!). So I got some cake too!

AAAHHHHH, again I let the blog sleep for too long. So, at the last Regional Election, I ran for member at large of the REC. I got elected Secretary. Those things happen too. I am very happy and excited to serve in this capacity. We have a lot to learn and we all have a great desire to serve. One of the things I have enjoyed the most has been visiting the different fraternities and getting to see the varied personalities of each one. I will update, I hope, more frequently and post some of the ones I have already visited.

What a gift!

Happy birthday, Brother Joe!




To all of us, a reminder that our brothers and sisters of creation need our stewardship, now more than ever. May we be faithful to the example of Francis, to the gospel.

Blog Region

Portiuncula Celebration






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And that is what happens when you attend the Portiuncula celebration at Mayslake Village and Father Johnpaul Cafiero is the speaker. He offered the following reflections on the Peace prayer (these are my notes so bear with the somewhat choppy structure):

*Not written by Francis but holds its Spirit.


*Make me an instrument:

What does it mean to be an instrument? Practice Practice Practice! We gotta keep trying no matter how old we are. We need our body (physical and mental strength), we need a teacher, we cannot learn the spiritual life by ourselves, do we have a spiritual companion or director? To play our instrument we also need perseverance, patience, commitment to time, talent and treasure. What does it tae to make an instrument: finest wood, time, sanding, stringing the instrument. soak away some of those imperfections, sand down the rough edges of my life, stretch me, my lack of growth and inability to grow, mold it and polish it and He will make beautiful music.

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*Of Thy peace: Where do we capture peace? Peace be with you. Shalom. Fullness. Contentment. We all have the gift within us.

*Where there is hatred, let me sow love: open the newspaper and we see hatred everywhere. How do we sow love? We begin practicing random acts of kindness. Francis’s kindness kissing the leper and turning his life around. IS the world going to be different because we are here? The smallest acts can change the world.

*Where there is injury, pardon: sowing–right amount of sun and water (not too little not too much). We never know what will grow. Do not expect anything in return. An injury is a bruise, a wound. We need to tend to the wound because otherwise it becomes infected. Pardoning helps that wound. When we don’t let go it destroys us. When we don’t forgive we are stuck in the past.

*Where there is doubt, faith: Doubt is a normal part of life. In order to begin with faith, we have to begin with doubt.

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*Where there is despair; hope: we have to recognize when we need to reach out when we are depressed. The darkness of depression. Hope means seeing with possibilities, so how do we sow hope? Seeing the world with new eyes. Do we see a person and stick them in a cage? Or do we believe that people can change and grow? Hope is seeing what can be. Nothing is impossible for God

*Where there is darkness, light: How do we give light? Do not out the light under the bed, but out it where we cna shine it on everyone and everything.

*Where there is sadness, joy: We wake up happy, we are alive! Happiness is based on external things but joy is deep within.

As old as the 10th century perhaps written by French friars.

The second part was written as a response to war in the 20th century

*O Divine Master

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Master as maestro…as someone who is a teacher, coordinator, orchestrator but not necessarily a power differential as in a master/slave relationship. The church is pulled into the feudal system, where the power differential is great. Francis challenges the Church back to think of who is the Divine Master. Who are what is the divine master of our life? We live in a  culture that worships youth, and success and pleasure technology and medicine as the center and source of our lives….we must ask ourselves, is that what is teaching/leading our lives. What is our image of God?  God is love. We cannot love someone we are afraid of. Yaweh, breath.Pneuma. The very breath of God, God breaths life into our lives.

*Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console: Sometimes all we can do is be present for someone. There is no need for words.

*To be understood as to understand: How do messages get lost when they are being filtered through the mental loop of individuals. Two ears and one mouth. Sometimes we bombard heaven with words. Sometimes prayer is wasting time with God. Am I truly listening or am I thinking about what I am going to say next.

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*It is in giving that we receive:  We do not know how people are going to receive our gift but the gospel commands us to give. We give what we do from our heart, what they do with it is their responsibility.

*It is in pardoning that we are pardoned: We go to a priest who absolves us in the name of the community.

*It is in dying that we are born to eternal life: We live in a death denying culture. We do not want to think about it because we are fearful of the end and spend too much on mortuary cosmetics to look like we are sleeping. Death is the ultimate act of letting go.


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Spiritual Journeys–April

Peoples! We are almost at Easter….If you are interested in visiting with us, we will hold our next meeting on Saturday, April 11th. Contact us for details. Or reply here. Anyway, I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter!


A much needed update and Lent plans

GAH! I have been bad and not updated our site in months. For that, I apologize to you all. We have been very busy, and traveling a lot!

But, yes, we are still here and working on our lenten plans.

Retiree is doing penance in Phoenix, because you know, the cold is not conducive to prayer. hahaha. Anyway, we will see her in a month when she returns from her Chicagoless vacation. Zookeeper is still bussing kids around and taking care of the zillion dogs and cats she owns. I am not sure how How is keeping her lent, but perhaps reading something on Ignatius. Dr. B is busy working, no rest for the weary. Dorothy is somewhere in the country, but we hope to see her back with us at our next fraternity meeting.

Ya’ll, we have a new candidate and she is awesome.

So, if you are interested in checking us out, please email us at  You can dip your toe in by coming to our Interfaith dialogue on the second Saturday of each month, Spiritual Journeys. You do not have to be a member of the fraternity or of anything, for that matter. I will be sharing on my experience with the Three Kings. It was amazing!

By the way, what are you doing for Lent?


Feast of the Portiuncula at Mayslake

Cricket and Jerry Aull, members of the OFS Saint Francis, joined the Cabrini Region in today’s feast of La Portiuncula. The theme, Following Francis:
Being the Merciful and Joyful Presence of God.

What follows are notes on the presentations led by Cricket Aull with a little music (amazing voice!) by Jerry Aull. Unfortunately, he had to leave to another engagement:

We are all called to live a life of simplicity, purity, and obedience in the footsteps of Saint Francis.

Simplicity is key. How much do things get in the way of living the merciful presence of God?

Purity. How are we to practice purity, especially interiorly? Detaching ourselves of earthly things to make us more aware of God’s presence.

Obedience. Do we try not to avoid burdensome things? Things that will help us stay humble? Francis and his brothers embraced them with joy because they knew it would draw them closer to Christ.

We make promises to live simply (clearing the path so that God can dwell in us). We make promises to live purely (clearing the path for God’s presence in us). We make promises to live in obedience (so that we embrace that which brings us closer to God).

Jerry–A challenge to cyberfast (advice from Ilia Delio. I, of course, was taking notes and tweeting)! Are we accustomed to doing all the talking when we are in the presence of God? Are we learning to discern the still small voice yearning to guide us?

Cricket continued: The three loves: Love to be emptied of self, love of purity, love of service. What gets in the way of us having a merciful heart? Think of the word “stop”:
S: surrender to God in all He is doing.
T: Trust in God and Turn everything into a reflection of God’s presence in us.
O: Obey? Observe? Offer? Openness? Omnipotence? Outpouring? Other?
P: Prayer with Thanksgiving. Peace. Praise. Presence. Perseverance.

Part II

What gets in the way of our joy? What do we need to do differently? Strive towards the beauty of God. Sufferings, sisters, called them Francis. He bore them joyfully and thanked God for everything. What are three characteristics of Francis that are most appealing and effective in the world? Which ones do we need to work on as followers of Francis? If Francis came to visit your family, what would he appreciate the most?

The story of the small piece of the Eucharist and hearing in her prayer, Am I not fully present in the smallest piece of the Eucharist? Yes. Then be fully present in the smallest things that you do.

Check their website for more details: The Aull’s

“I became the prayer he could not say”….


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Simply Bonaventure: Simply Insightful



“We are all on a journey of some sort, and while most of us are aware of being in a spiritual journey, it is a question of how many of us consider the goal of our journey.”


It took me many months to read this text but this is not Ilia Delio’s fault. The book is profound and clear. It offers a comprehensive overview of Bonaventure’s writings, thoughts, and life in addition to excerpts from his works. I found the reflection questions at the end of each chapter very helpful. A quick look at Amazon shows that a second edition is available (2013) with a much needed updated bibliography. 



Book Review: Lectio Divina: The Medieval Experience of Reading


This is one feature of this blog that I hope to have at least once a month. I hope you enjoy it.

Lectio Divina: The Medieval Experience of Reading, by Duncan Robertson, gets four taus from me!

If you are interested in the history of reading, this book is for you.  What this book does is explore the development of lectio divina during the Middle Ages. It is carefully researched (obviously, it is a solid scholarly text so if lots of footnotes are not your thing, this book is not for you) taking you through the culture of reading in the monasteries, where monks “chewed” and “digested” the words of Scripture, savoring each word to the rich literature that it produced. It examines the act of interpretation (should it be literal? when is reading into the allegory too much?) and the act of writing (i.e. writing about Scripture will be conducive to devotion).

Several chapters are devoted to the development of meditation, contemplation, and prayer, as a product of reading carefully the word of God. A whole chapter is dedicated to how the Song of Songs was read, understood (or at least how Bernard, Gregory, and Origen wrestled with its meaning), and written about. The book concludes with how these practices were integrated in the twelfth century.

There is much I appreciate in this book concerning the act of reading. I often encounter a great resistance to read and when reading is done, I find that understanding and interpretation it is superficial and dull.  In his last chapter, Robertson asks: “What does this monastic pedagogy have to do with reading in the modern world?” (231).  Freedom to pause and think more deeply, to explore, to question, to draw closer to God.


Brother John

We mourn the loss of our confrére Deacon John Farrell. Here is the obituary from the Tribune. We will miss him terribly.