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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

Helping Brother Leo...

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Brother Leo was one of Francis’ first followers and closest companions, especially in the last years of Francis’ life. We have several letters from Francis to groups of people. His letter to Leo is one of only two letters to individuals.

Perhaps this letter was written by Francis after September 1224 when he received the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ’s passion, at the hermitage of La Verna. Leo brought him food there each day.

A conversation with Leo prompted Francis to write this letter, whose key section reads: “In whatever way it seems better to you to please the Lord God and to follow his footprint and poverty, do it with the blessing of the Lord God and my obedience.”

Leo may have been scrupulous and a great worrier. Francis encouraged him to come and seek advice whenever necessary—but even more to trust that the Lord God would lead him in the right way. In a sense, Francis was inviting Leo to live in greater freedom than Leo was presently experiencing. May we live in the freedom that reflects our dignity as people made in the image and likeness of God!

This blog is taken from Friar Pat’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe, click here.

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Image: Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, via Wikimedia Commons

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Helping Brother Leo...

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Brother Leo was one of Francis’ first followers and closest companions, especially in the last years of Francis’ life. We have several letters from Francis to groups of people. His letter to Leo is one of only two letters to individuals.

Perhaps this letter was written by Francis after September 1224 when he received the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ’s passion, at the hermitage of La Verna. Leo brought him food there each day.

A conversation with Leo prompted Francis to write this letter, whose key section reads: “In whatever way it seems better to you to please the Lord God and to follow his footprint and poverty, do it with the blessing of the Lord God and my obedience.”

Leo may have been scrupulous and a great worrier. Francis encouraged him to come and seek advice whenever necessary—but even more to trust that the Lord God would lead him in the right way. In a sense, Francis was inviting Leo to live in greater freedom than Leo was presently experiencing. May we live in the freedom that reflects our dignity as people made in the image and likeness of God!

This blog is taken from Friar Pat’s “Dear Reader” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe, click here.

*****
Image: Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, via Wikimedia Commons

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Thank You, Murray Bodo...

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

For over 50 years, Father Murray Bodo, OFM, and I have been close friends, confreres, and admirers of St. Francis of Assisi. We met as fellow students in 1951 at St. Francis Minor Seminary, located on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. Murray, whose name was Louis at the time, had boarded a Greyhound Bus in his hometown of Gallup, New Mexico, and headed east some 1,500 miles on a ribbon of highway. He arrived in Cincinnati two days later.

Seminary Life

I had entered the seminary the previous year. By the time we were ordained Franciscan priests in 1963 and 1964, respectively, we had actually lived for nine years in the same Franciscan places of study—St. Francis Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio), Duns Scotus College (Detroit, Michigan), and St. Leonard College (near Dayton, Ohio). We studied together, recreated together, and engaged in literary activities ranging from Shakespeare dramas to comedy skits during recreation. After our ordinations, we both went to Xavier University in Cincinnati and received master’s degrees in literature in 1966. We were both on our way to becoming writers.

Going Separate Ways

Murray went on to teach literature and writing to a new generation of students at St. Francis Seminary, while I taught literature at various Franciscan high schools and then at a Franciscan college-seminary near Manila in the Philippines.

In Murray’s case—jumping ahead many years—he had the opportunity to go to Assisi in 1972 and write his first best-selling book, a popular life of St. Francis called Francis: The Journey and the Dream. That same year, I came back to Cincinnati as a journalist and writer for our province’s national Catholic magazine, St. Anthony MessengerHe’s also the author of the new book Enter Assisi, which is a stunning ode to the hometown of St. Francis.

In late January of 2013, moreover, Murray’s newest book from Franciscan Media—Francis and Jesus—will begin showing up in bookstores. The cover is a Giotto fresco in dramatic color depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata. The book may well be another best-seller! In the introduction to the book, Murray describes how St. Francis, on Mount La Verna, “received the sacred stigmata of Christ that sealed him as a visible image of the Crucified Christ.” Murray thus saw Francis as “Christ’s Lovescape,” that is, as the very image, reflection, and personification of Christ.

Our Friendship Goes On

For the last 33 years, Murray and I—as well as four other friars—have lived together in the same community in an old, three-story building, known as Pleasant Street Friary, in Cincinnati’s inner city. We hope the good Lord allows us many more years of friendship on this good earth. And may the joy of writing continue for both of us!

*****
Featured photo by Jack Wintz

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Thank You, Murray Bodo...

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

For over 50 years, Father Murray Bodo, OFM, and I have been close friends, confreres, and admirers of St. Francis of Assisi. We met as fellow students in 1951 at St. Francis Minor Seminary, located on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio. Murray, whose name was Louis at the time, had boarded a Greyhound Bus in his hometown of Gallup, New Mexico, and headed east some 1,500 miles on a ribbon of highway. He arrived in Cincinnati two days later.

Seminary Life

I had entered the seminary the previous year. By the time we were ordained Franciscan priests in 1963 and 1964, respectively, we had actually lived for nine years in the same Franciscan places of study—St. Francis Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio), Duns Scotus College (Detroit, Michigan), and St. Leonard College (near Dayton, Ohio). We studied together, recreated together, and engaged in literary activities ranging from Shakespeare dramas to comedy skits during recreation. After our ordinations, we both went to Xavier University in Cincinnati and received master’s degrees in literature in 1966. We were both on our way to becoming writers.

Going Separate Ways

Murray went on to teach literature and writing to a new generation of students at St. Francis Seminary, while I taught literature at various Franciscan high schools and then at a Franciscan college-seminary near Manila in the Philippines.

In Murray’s case—jumping ahead many years—he had the opportunity to go to Assisi in 1972 and write his first best-selling book, a popular life of St. Francis called Francis: The Journey and the Dream. That same year, I came back to Cincinnati as a journalist and writer for our province’s national Catholic magazine, St. Anthony MessengerHe’s also the author of the new book Enter Assisi, which is a stunning ode to the hometown of St. Francis.

In late January of 2013, moreover, Murray’s newest book from Franciscan Media—Francis and Jesus—will begin showing up in bookstores. The cover is a Giotto fresco in dramatic color depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata. The book may well be another best-seller! In the introduction to the book, Murray describes how St. Francis, on Mount La Verna, “received the sacred stigmata of Christ that sealed him as a visible image of the Crucified Christ.” Murray thus saw Francis as “Christ’s Lovescape,” that is, as the very image, reflection, and personification of Christ.

Our Friendship Goes On

For the last 33 years, Murray and I—as well as four other friars—have lived together in the same community in an old, three-story building, known as Pleasant Street Friary, in Cincinnati’s inner city. We hope the good Lord allows us many more years of friendship on this good earth. And may the joy of writing continue for both of us!

*****
Featured photo by Jack Wintz

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Biological Warfare!...

Posted on Aug 15, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

An annual problem in the Papa Stronsay greenhouse is the Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae). This mite is very small and reproduces rapidly. It feeds on the cell-material of all kinds of plants, killing the cells on which they feed. When gathered in their hundreds-of-thousands, you can imagine the havoc they can wreak in the greenhouse! We do not use chemical sprays in our greenhouse, so each year we have to introduce a second mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, which is the natural arch-enemy of the Red Spider Mite.  It can be ordered online, and arrives in the post!

Join Fr Jean Marie, F.SS.R. as he explains how it works.
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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."