By Kay Cozad
The Order of Friars Minor Conventuals committed to serve
MISHAWAKA — The Order of Friars Minor Conventuals, commonly known as Conventual Franciscans, was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209 and is comprised of over 4,000 dedicated priests and brothers worldwide. These priests and brothers, called friars, wear black or gray habits with a simple three-knotted cord representing their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and live together in friaries.
The American Novitiate located in Mishawaka currently houses 13 friars, nine of whom are novices, though worldwide there are approximately 500 friars in formation. These men come from many different backgrounds and experiences. During their formation in Mishawaka the novices spend a full year discerning if profession of vows is for them.
According to Conventual Franciscan Brother Paschal Kolodziej, associate novice director, the novices receive a well-rounded education. “We provide guidance, spiritual direction, classes and a secluded lifestyle for this purpose. The novices take classes on our Franciscan rule, constitutions, vows, Church documents of the consecrated life and its history, prayer forms, Scripture, communication, Mariology and the Secular Franciscan Order,” he reports.
The call to be a friar has increased in recent years and Brother Kolodziej says, “Our order has always had a great emphasis on community and prayer. Many young people are attracted to this call to be a friar minor. Our call is to be a ‘lesser brother’ to all those we minister to. That can take many forms and ministries.”
It is that sense of community and commitment to serve that is meaningful to its members. “The fraternal aspect attracts young people who are looking for a sense of belonging,” says Brother Kolodziej, adding, “We have always been of service to the Church in many different ways. Obedience to the Church has always been one of our hallmarks.”
For more information visit www.franciscans.org or the website www.franciscandiscipleship.org.
Poor Sisters of St. Clare serve as contemplatives
FORT WAYNE — The Poor Sisters of St. Clare, formerly known as the Franciscan Sisters Minor, are thriving in enclosed life as cloistered nuns in Fort Wayne and continue to grow as a community. Six professed sisters in temporary vows, three postulants and three novices, who joined the community after the decision to transition to cloister, make up the holy fraternity that has lived and prayed behind closed doors since August. Poor Sister of St. Clare Sister Karolyn Grace says of the religious group, “We have a deep contemplative life that has its home and source in our simple, joyful and loving Franciscan fraternity.”
The increase in vocations for the cloistered life comes, Sister Karolyn says, from the charism of “the Gospel lived in joy.” The sisters follow the Form of Life of St. Clare of Assisi, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV in the year 1253. “We are thriving and our growth in vocations must have to do with us finally finding our ‘niche,’” says Sister Karolyn.
A day in the life of an enclosed religious consists of much sacrifice and prayer. Opportunities for prayer include two holy hours, daily Mass, seven hours of Divine Office prayer and time for personal prayer that not only enrich the spiritual life of each sister but the hidden relationship she has with the outside world. “…We know our love, prayers and sacrifices for souls from our enclosure are making us more effective evangelizers than ever,” says Sister Karolyn.
In addition to the contemplative hours the sisters of the community spend in prayer is the time for classes and study, spiritual readings, sewing projects and recreation. “One of our favorite pastimes is ultimate Frisbee,” reports Sister Karolyn.
Though admittedly joining a cloistered community is a leap of faith, the sisters encourage women to investigate the call. “The call to consecrated life is not to love less but to love more. … One question those discerning their vocation could ask is, ‘Where will I be able to give love and receive love the most?’” encourages Sister Karolyn.
For more information write to: Vocation Directress, Poor Sisters of St. Clare, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, 2610 New Haven Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46803.
Franciscan Brothers Minor community flourishing
FORT WAYNE — The Franciscan Bothers Minor community has recently celebrated its third anniversary as a religious community in Fort Wayne. What began with eight men faithfully following their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in imitation of St. Francis, now numbers 25 — and is growing.
Eleven of the 25 are new vocations, says Franciscan Father David Mary Engo, minister general of the friars. Fifteen friars live the austere life in community in Fort Wayne and with the growth in vocations a new house has been opened in Columbus, Ohio, where 10 friars reside.
Four of the 10 in Ohio are seminarians studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary, while the other six serve the local area in their various ministries. Father Engo says as the vocations grow they hope to eventually open a third house.
When asked what he thought attracted new vocations to the Franciscan Bothers Minor community Father Engo did not hesitate, “Firstly it’s our devotion to Our Lady. And then it’s the fidelity to the expression of the Franciscan way of life.” The community’s charism of fraternal love is emphasized in formation and Father Engo says, “We live the charism as faithfully as we can. … Poverty and prayer is authentically experienced here. Young people are looking for that authenticity.”
For more information visit www.franciscanbrothersminor.org
Dominican sisters lead others to know, love God
HUNTINGTON — Postulants, novices and professed from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, moved into St. Felix Catholic Center in Huntington on Sept. 13 last year to begin a new house of formation for their community. According to Sister Amata Veritas, postulant assistant, the old Capuchin friary is meeting the needs of the young sisters living there, who take classes, such as catechism, Scripture and Mariology. She adds, “They also continue to learn about and grow in their understanding of living religious life.”
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist community, based in Ann Arbor Mich., is currently 120 members strong, including 19 postulants. Sister Veritas says of the community’s charism, “Our community is centered on the Eucharist and Our Lady. We are formed into apostles to lead others to know and love God through our contemplative, Eucharist-centered prayer.
“We have the privilege to be present in grade schools and high schools as teachers, and to give talks to youth groups, on college campuses and to those who desire to know God more,” she says.
The growing community is active in its invitation to vocation discernment by offering prayerful retreats held three times each year. The invitees join the sisters as they share meals, play games and pray together. “In a world that is starved for truth, the Dominican motto of ‘Veritas’ draws young women to seek out how it is that they can respond to the love that God has revealed to them,” Sister Veritas says.
Upcoming vocations retreats will be offered Feb. 23-24 and May 25-26.
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist can be reached at the St. Felix Catholic Center at 1282 Hitzfield St., Huntington, IN 46750.
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