'FOLLOW ME!'
Luke 9:23

Published for the Lay Association of

The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE

Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

of
          St. Francis

June 2005

St. Francis holy card

FROM THE WRITINGS ON ST. FRANCIS:

     Francis left the town one-day to meditate out-of-doors and as he was passing by the church of San Damiano, which was threatening to collapse with age, he felt urged to go in and pray. There as he knelt before a painted image of the Crucified, he felt greatly comforted in spirit and his eyes were full of tears as he gazed at the cross. Then, all of a sudden, he heard a voice coming from the cross and telling him three times. "Francis, go and repair my house. You see it is all falling down."

     After that, in his love for true humility, he devoted himself to the lepers and lived with them, waiting on them all, for the love of God.

     Now that he was firmly established in the lowliness of Christ, Francis remembered the command he had received from the cross to repair the church of San Damiano. (Or so he thought.) With God’s help and the cooperation of the townspeople he eventually finished the work (of rebuilding) at San Damiano. When he had finished there he went to a place called the Portiuncula where there was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God which was now abandoned with nobody to look after it. This was the place where Francis began the Order of Friars Minor.

     As he was living there by the church of our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his Advocate. By divine inspiration he now began to strive after Gospel perfection, inviting others also to lead a life of penance. His words were full of the power of the Holy Spirit, never empty or ridiculous...

     Then Francis opened the Gospel three times in honor of the Blessed Trinity...The book opened first at the words, "" (Matt. 19:21) The second time they found the phrase, "Take nothing with you to use on your journey" (Lk. 9:3), and the third time the words of our Lord caught their eyes, "If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16: 24) "This is our life and our Rule," said St. Francis, "and everyone who comes to join our company must be prepared to do this."

Legenda Major—Bonaventure-1266

COMMENTARY: by Bruce Fahey BSP

      We are all called by the Lord to rebuild the Church. This is a call that most certainly impacts all who wish to follow St. Francis as we say we do in a special way. It is not a question of 'if' we have the call. It is a question of 'where' and 'how' we are called. Like St. Francis we all need to exam our lives and see how we can promote the Gospel of Our Lord and the life of holiness in our thoughts, words and deeds, and meditate on the Scriptures that he used to form his Rules of life and Orders. We should all work to perfect our understanding of what this mission is for us.

Bruce Fahey and Shelley, his wife, BSP Administrators
ADMINISTRATORS MESSAGE:
by Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP

We could all benefit on examining the life and Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance from two standpoints. What is it asking of me? Also, what doors is it opening for me to rebuild the Church, as St. Francis did?

What the Rule of the BSP is asking of each of us exactly what the Lord gave St. Francis for us when the Third Order of St. Francis was begun. A committed life of prayer, penance, and simplicity in preparation for life on high with Christ. The people came to the Saint to ask what they had to do to be saved. They were ready to leave their homes and families to follow St. Francis across the highways and byways of Italy and to learn from him how to live. He told them not to do so, but that he would give them a Rule on how they should live. The Rule of 1221, the Rule of the BSP, is that Rule. For this reason alone we should make a habit of reading the Rule at least monthly so as to know what it asks of us more perfectly.

      As to doors it opens, that is another whole subject. In the time of St. Francis to join the Association was to make a decision to live the Rule in your own home; in your church community; and in your home town. If there was more than a single person in a town or parish that committed to the life then they would meet monthly. There is no record of them going beyond that. There are many records of individual penitents of the 'Third Order' of St. Francis doing great things and leading dynamic spiritual lives...on their own. There are no records indicating what the 1000’s of penitents did.

      Also, it invites us to "rebuild the church" as St. Francis did. To promote the life outside of ourselves and evangelize others to join us in leading holy lives. Any single one of the tenets of the Rule can be life changing for someone who wants to do a little more for Christ. This Rule is our mentor. It is our guide to holiness. It is a gift from the Lord, through St. Francis, and in living it fully we will live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy better. The Rule is designed to lead us to salvation. That is the promise that came with the Rule from St. Francis. The people asked: "What must we do to be saved?" and St. Francis gave them the Rule. So, it goes without saying, that if you live it you will come to eternal life on high with Christ and His Saints forever. We can even hope to attain a high degree of holiness, for the means to do that are within the Rule.

Bruce and Shelley

RETREAT INFO

Welcome to the 2005 Retreat of
the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis
“ON PRAYER”

Friday evening - July 29 TO Sunday noon – July 31, 2005

Franciscan Retreats
16385 St. Francis Lane - Prior Lake, Minnesota
942-447-2182

To be in attendance:
Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis
Fr. Robert Altier, Retreat Master
Fr. Valerius Messerich O.F.M.


Father Robert Altier


Archbishop Harry Flynn


Father Valerius Messerich



$140 Complete: including Room, Board, Meals, Talks, Stipends.

Send $25 to the address below to reserve a place at the retreat.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Co - Administrators
20939 Quadrant Ave. N.
Scandia, Minnesota 55073
(651)433-2753


Come as early as 3 PM on Friday, July 29th and stay as late as you like on Sunday, July 31st at no added cost.

THE RETREAT SCHEDULE IN A NUTSHELL:

  • DAILY MASS
  • ALL SEVEN CANONICAL ‘HOURS’ PRAYED DAILY
  • ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
  • INSPIRING TALKS - Theme: “ON PRAYER”
  • RECONCILIATION
  • TIME FOR SILENCE AND MEDITATION
  • THE PEACE AND TRANQUILITY OF THE RETREAT CENTER
  • INFORMATION ON THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE FOR THOSE INTERESTED

Father Robert Altier, the Retreat Master, is a renowned Homilist at St. Agnes Parish, St. Paul, MN
Visit his Web site: www.desertvoice.org

RETREAT SCHEDULE


(C) = Chapel
(CR) = Marian Conference Room

Friday, July 29, 2005

3:00 PM – Opening Conference for BSP members or Inquirers (CR)
4:00 PM – Regular Retreat Arrivals begin
5:00 PM - Registration and Welcome – (CR)
5:30 PM -- Dinner
6:15 PM – Introductions, instructions, and sharing – Bruce Fahey & Fr. Ken (CR)
7:00 PM - Evening Prayer & Night Prayers(C)
7:30 PM – Mass celebrated by Fr. Robert Altier (C) - Pledging of three members during Mass.
8:30 PM – First Talk on Prayer - Fr. Altier (C)
9:00 PM - Eucharistic Adoration – Fr. Altier (C)
10:00 PM - Retire


Saturday, July 30, 2005

7:00 AM – Rise
7:30 AM - Office of Readings, BSP & Morning Prayers (C)
8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:15 AM – Mid-morning prayer (C) - Second Talk on prayer by Fr. Altier (C) - Reconciliation if priests are available
11:00 AM – Mid-day Prayer - Third talk on prayer by Fr. Altier (C) - Reconciliation if priests are available
12:30 PM – Lunch
3:00 PM - Chaplet of Mercy and Mid-afternoon prayer (C)
4:00 PM – Mass and homily celebrated by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn (C)
5:30 PM – Dinner
6:30 PM – Evening Prayer & Night Prayers – (C)
7:00 PM – BSP Annual Meeting (Optional)
9:00 PM - Eucharistic Adoration (C)
10:00 PM - Retire


Sunday, July 31, 2005 – Final day

7:00 AM – Rise
7:30 AM - Office of Readings, BSP & Morning Prayers (C)
8:30 AM – Breakfast
9:15 AM – Mid-morning prayer – (C)
10:00 AM – Mass – Fr. Ken (C)
11:30 AM – Mid-day Prayer (C)
11:45 PM - Closing Conference – Stewardship Meeting (CR)
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM – Departures
1:30 PM – Summary Closing Conference for interested BSP members (CR)


If you have any questions feel free to contact the BSP Communication Center. Please email bspenance@yahoo.com
or send by mail to:


Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
The BSP Communication Center
20939 Quadrant Ave. N.
Scandia MN 55973

If you are online, click here to view the pictures of 2004 Retreat on the BSP website

Leslie McLaughlin
Living the Original Lifestyle
by Leslie McLaughlin—formation advocate

"Always remember that the Rule, and its statutes, are the means to an end, not an end in itself. Do all for the love of God and the good of your soul. Find refreshment in living the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (from the Introduction to the Rule and Statutes)

In the Rule of 1221, St. Francis instituted a tremendous reform that personalized conversion. Ordinary men and women were challenged to cultivate simplicity and solitude, in order to love God more deeply. They were encouraged to preserve the familiarity of their homes and community; in maintaining their daily lives, their prayer and penance flourished. The Rule they practiced was not a standard of success or a measure of spiritual perfection, but a testing ground where faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ could thrive.

This original lifestyle finds renewal by our contemporary response and determined discipleship. As a community, we stand united, for there is no distance in Christ; our laughter, tears, successes and failures all meld together and become fuel for conversion. Prayer and penance become more than aspirations, they invoke a tangible companionship worthy of our efforts.

Each day our membership grows as more come to discover this most Franciscan lifestyle. No two penitents will live the Rule in the same manner. Those who have pledged their life commitments have given me much to consider as I now choose to follow them in this wonderful tradition. As my Novice 3 year comes to a close, I reaffirm my desire to passionately live this way of life. I must also accept the unique flavor of my interpretation of the Rule and how it will play out daily. And, I must also allow my enormous failures from past attempts to prove their worth, knowing that I would never have made it this far without them. I ! wanted to give up and quit numerous times. I am so grateful to my Lord and my mentors for keeping me on track.

In coming issues, we will explore specific problems encountered while living the Rule of 1221 in our modern world. St. Francis still offers a radical lifestyle that is both demanding, rewarding and beautiful. If we do this together for the love of God and the good of our souls, His strength will meet the challenge.

Leslie

Janet Klasson
A meditation by Janet Klasson BSP

     "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:37-39 )

     This passage is taken from the Gospel reading for June 26. It is the same message as Matthew 16: 24-25, one of the readings on which St. Francis based his Rules of life.

     I think each of us probably has an aspect of the Rule that is harder to live than the others. For me it is the fasting and abstaining. Food has always been very important to me. I come from a family of "eaters". Food is not just our sustenance, but often our comfort and even our entertainment. Food has been the guest of honor at every emotional crisis I have ever undergone. It has been there for me through thick and thin, and let me tell you, there has been more "thick" than thin.

     When I first felt called to this Rule, it was the fasting and abstaining that I dreaded the most. Yet I knew that this was the one area of my life that I most needed to die to—my love of food. How would I manage it? Surely it would take a miracle. But I thought if Abraham could become a father in his 90’s, maybe, just maybe God could work this work in me.

     And lo and behold—he has! For most of my life, the Lenten fast was a dreaded time. I could barely manage the Ash Wednesday and Good Friday fasts. I would far rather perform an act of piety or charity on Lenten Fridays than to fast. But this year, I fasted for 40 days and was sorry to see the end of it. Now that’s a miracle!

     It is worth pondering how the Lord has brought this about in me. He did not take away my enjoyment of food. But he prepared me in other ways. The main preparation was through the prayer life of the Rule. As penitents, we draw strength from our never-ending gaze at the Beloved. This gaze strengthens us in ways we cannot know about or feel or even imagine. Then one day we need extraordinary strength and there it is. Our personal trainer has given us the spiritual muscle he knew we would need to lift that heavy burden he knew he would send us.

     But the other way the Lord prepared me for fasting was more surprising. He gave me food allergies. Not just one, but many. This has been a great blessing in my life. The foods I used to not be able to control, he has taken away from me by other means. He has given me pain, because like a disobedient child, he knew that pain was perhaps the only thing that would bring about the needed change in me. Then, as a special gift, he took away my resentment over it.

     As I ponder this, I can see that through no merit of my own, the Lord has helped me to die to self in regards to food. He knew I was too feeble to accomplish this on my own—the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak—so he gave me a cross to make it possible for me to deny myself. The cross was not a burden; it was a gift.

     All the while when I thought I was free, living to satisfy my desires, I was really a slave to them. The Lord gave me what I needed to be able to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him. It is his work alone that has accomplished this in me. I have nothing to commend myself for, but like St. Paul can only boast in my weakness, because our Lord has used that weakness to his glory, and in the process he has set me free. Thanks be to God!

Janet Klasson BSP

Paul Beery
NO GREATER LOVE:
by PAUL BEERY BSP

"'All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.' I ask then, has God rejected His people? By no means! God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace." (Romans 10, 21 – 11, 5)

       Anyone who has listened to "Coast to Coast," a nightly radio program addressing such compelling issues as UFO’s, alien abduction, contrails, and time travel, knows of the existence of a world of half-truths and shadows. I know there is some truth in this shadowy world, because I recently traveled back in time. It was a wonderful experience, like returning to the fifties, when one had a chance to grow up in a normal world, with Godly standards. I found the remnant, chosen by grace. It is there that family is celebrated, and children are actually looked upon as a blessing. Parents realize their main duty is to train their offspring in virtue, leading them to a life of holiness by knowing, loving and serving their Creator and each other. It seems like such a simple life, too good to be true.

        It was so unlike the place I live in. It forces one to contrast the world that should be, with the one that is. I believe it was George Orwell who said: “Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is a restatement of the obvious.” While the intelligent part is in question, I can at least recognize the obvious, and will attempt to restate it. So why is the remnant only a remnant?

        I wonder if anyone truly realizes the profound effect of modern culture. Never before have so many forces combined so effectively to indoctrinate the unwitting with a God-less worldview, compliments of Charles Darwin and a legion of others. There is not much in common between a God-centered world where the creature freely accepts the dominion of the Creator, and one ruled by puny creatures making themselves into little gods, ruling their imagined utopia through the dictatorship of relativism.

        Perhaps I have become somewhat jaded by living in the heart of the beast, the inner city. It doesn’t matter what city, because virtually any large city with its artificial environment has certain common characteristics which are clearly spelled out in Sacred Scripture. Sex is god here, and children are a nuisance. The abortion mills run smoothly, snuffing out the life of the innocent with brutal efficiency. Prostitution and drug abuse are rampant. Crime is so widespread that nearly everyone can tell you stories of personal encounters with the Dark Side. Fraud and deceit are common. Along with other large cities, Milwaukee produced more votes than registered voters. The Washington gubernatorial election was stolen in Seattle in broad daylight in such an egregious manner there is now a trial underway. Liberal judges routinely release criminals with long rap sheets who should never see the streets again. A local policeman was just killed by such a criminal. There was widespread outrage, but no one addressed the issue of why that man was free, and there will be nothing done to prevent it from happening again.

       One gets cynical rather easily in the midst of such mortal sin. Government solutions are an illusion. Many churches have no children, even Catholic churches. We’re told there is no future. Man is ruining the environment. Animals have no place to hide. Man-made chemicals are allegedly producing global warming, causing whatever catastrophe one may imagine. We’re all going to die a long, slow death of our own making. Life is OUT: death is IN. The Culture of Death is so popular, one of our political parties avidly promotes it without fear of consequences. Hollywood loves it, and is spreading its own sadistic version along with a warped Christophobic immorality throughout the world, to the utter shame of the greatest democracy known to exist. Since the Hollywood elite make over two-thirds of their obscene profits from foreign distribution of their degrading films, the huge drop-off of American moviegoers matters little. Throw in the efforts of our leftist anti-American media, and we need not wonder why other nations hate us. We export the worst America has to offer. It makes one question the value of freedom when it is so abused, and with such deadly consequences (For a ray of light see "Leaving the Left," by Keith Thompson -May 22, 05, San Francisco Chronicle- for a compelling story of the conversion of an honest liberal. The last straw for him was the left’s rooting for the failure of Islam's experiment in democracy, just so the Bush Administration wouldn’t get credit for aiding the poor and liberating the oppressed – supposedly a liberal principle. The civil war between moderate and militant Muslims currently being fought all over the world is necessary if there is to be any kind of peace. Only good Muslims can put their divided Islamic house in order).

       Adam and Eve don't know what they started. In today's Garden of Eden, Pope Paul VI prophesied in his 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae," that there would come a Culture of Death with the widespread acceptance of contraception, an artificial tree in a natural garden. There was a firestorm of protest. Alleged Catholics took out full-page ads condemning this teaching, promoting the priority of conscience as a legitimate means of disobedience. Modern Man and Liberated Woman would determine good and evil for themselves, thank you very much. Most bought the splinter of sexual freedom, while swallowing the beam of a selfish failure to submit to God’s plan. The luminary Andrew Greeley claims that 90% of Catholics practice birth control contrary to the teaching of the Church. It’s probably true. Look around and count the children. I actually tried it in my own circle. The birth rate was 1.7 children per family (replacement: 2.1). All are known as Christians.

       I asked Anna Ferroni why the people of Italy are not having children. She said very sincerely, "They are too poor." I could hardly restrain myself from blurting out: "That’s the same excuse we use here in America!" The richest country in the history of mankind, and American Christians say they can’t afford more than two children! It wasn’t that long ago that our forefathers and mothers had 14 children in two rooms. Now there are 14 rooms for two kids. Forty million children are missing the last 30 years. Couples hoping to adopt travel the world in search of them. Something is wrong with this picture. Acceptance of the Contraceptive Mentality has not only resulted in lost children, but lost faith. There is an easy remedy, and the Holy Spirit’s choice as the Vicar of Christ has immediately tackled this loss of faith, due at least partially to a misguided notion of conscience.

       At his installation May 7, Pope Benedict stressed how we need to be in tune with the Word of God. "Peter expressed in the first place, on behalf of the apostles, the profession of faith: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' This is the task of all the Successors of Peter – to be the guide in the profession of faith in Christ, the Son of the living God. This teaching authority frightens many within and outside the Church. They wonder if it is not a threat to the freedom of conscience, if it is not a presumption that is opposed to freedom of thought. It is not so. The power conferred by Christ to Peter and his successors is a mandate to serve. The authority to teach, in the Church, entails a commitment to the service of OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH. The Pope is not an absolute monarch, whose thought and will are law. On the contrary, the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to His word. He must not proclaim HIS OWN IDEAS (and neither can we!), but constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to the Word of God, in the face of attempts to adapt and water down, as well as of all opportunism."

        Return to obedience to the Word of God, and resist any attempts to water it down. Opportunism is for the small-minded, generosity for those who seek the Love of God. "Go forth and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it." The Population Bomb is a scam from hell. The world is not overpopulated, but under-represented by people of faith. Thank God, the Gospel of Life is making a comeback. Counter-culture followers of Jesus are expanding the remnant. John Paul II’s children are flourishing in the midst of incredible hostility. For a weekend I left this hostile world and entered a life-giving enclave, an oasis in the desert where the Son shines brightly, and the sanctity of marriage is still intact. Donna and I were privileged to be the godparents of Jerry and Heidi's fifth child. They’re not finished. I said my mother wanted twelve and ended up with six; I was the sixth. But they don’t need encouragement. Being people of much love, they honor the fact that children are a blessing, and God is to have some part – if not the major part - to play in how much they are blest. How refreshing. Gospel Catholics at work. There is hope, there is faith. Our holy father Francis is their patron. He would be proud, just like he's proud of all those who seek holiness through prayer and penance such as that proclaimed in his Rule – in OBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD. And here's a special salute to all those whose generosity is visibly shown in and through their families! As Bishop Sheen would say, "God love you!"

Paul

FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Blessed Maria Corsini (1884-1965) and Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi (1880-1951)

Blessed Beltrame & Quattrocchi spouses
Until quite recently, the church viewed religious life as a higher calling than the married state. Of the 303 canonizations that occurred between the year 1000 and the end of 1987, only 56 were laymen and 20 laywomen. Moreover, of the 63 lay saints whose state of life is known for certain, more than half never married. And most of these lay saints were martyred.

On October 21, 2001, Pope John Paul II beatified an Italian couple of Franciscan Tertiaries, Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, setting them as an example for married couples to follow in our troubled times. Now, we have a new model of holiness: a married couple who were exemplary parents.

Pope John Paul II affirmed that this couple - the husband a bank employee and active Catholic, the wife a nurse and homemaker - "lived an ordinary life in an extraordinary way." Two of their sons, now priests, assisted the Holy Father at the beatification Mass in St. Peter's basilica, and a daughter attended the ceremony. The first spouses to be beatified together for 500 years (preceded anyway by another couple of Franciscan Tertiaries, Elzear and Delphine, which will be featured in a future newsletter), there could not be a more Providential light in the present gloom.

In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception and abortion. It is mocked and deemed banal by pornography, desecrated by adultery, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce. The beatification of Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini is a reminder that Catholics can offer no greater service to this world than Christian family life well lived; ordinary lives touched and transformed by the grace of mutual self-giving, drawing others, in turn, to the message of Christ.

Born in Italy in 1880, Luigi received a law degree from Rome University, and worked as a lawyer for the Bank of Italy. His children tell us that Luigi's faith was not strong before he married. But, after meeting Maria Corsini at her family's home in Florence, Italy, his spiritual life changed for the better.

The couple married on November 25, 1905. In the following four years, God blessed them with three healthy children: Filippo (1906), Stefania (1908), Cesare (1909).

Their son Cesare recalls that when he was 10 years old, his mother gave him a copy of the book, Imitation of Christ. He still has the copy, and cherishes the following inscription she wrote in it for him, "Remember that Christ must be followed, if necessary, unto death." Cesare recalls his parents' zeal for spiritual growth. There was a kind of race between Father and Mother to grow in spirituality according to the Franciscan spirit. She began in the 'pole position' as she already lived an intense faith experience, while he was certainly 'a good man, just and honest but not very practicing.'

As their marriage progressed, Luigi grew closer to God. Cesare explains that Maria and Luigi began attending daily morning Mass together, and Luigi saved his "Good Morning" to Maria until they left the church, as if to acknowledge that only then did the day really begin. Under the wise guide of a common spiritual father, the Franciscan padre Pellegrino Paoli, soon they began to pray more and more. Besides the Mass and Communion each morning, they had varied daily appointments for the prayer in family (to the morning, to the meals, at night). Prayer time culminated every night with the rosary led by the head of the family, the examination of conscience and the "good night". These the pillars on which, in seraphic joy, in full tuning with his bride, Luigi built day after day the spiritual building of their "church in the home".

In 1913, Maria became pregnant again. Their doctor said she had only a 5 percent chance of survival. Gynecologists advised Maria and Luigi to abort the child to save the mother's life. But the parents, who had consecrated their family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, refused an abortion and placed all their hope and trust in God.

Yet both Maria and Luigi resolved to accept God's will. When Maria's pregnancy reached its term, she gave birth to Enrichetta (1914). Tears brimmed in Luigi's eyes when he learned that both mother and child had survived. One of the couple's first acts was to thank God.

The spirituality of the blessed Quattrocchis revealed itself in small, quiet ways, witnessed only by close friends and family members. Along with their four children, the pious parents prayed the rosary each night, and practiced the Franciscan Rule faithfully. In addition to the fasting and prayers of the Rule, they kept vigil and prayed the "Holy Hour" in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the eve of every First Friday. But they weren't bigots. The Quattrocchis’ biographers describe a modern Catholic couple in charge of an active, noisy household while actively engaged in the world around them. They seemed like ordinary parents. “When it was needed, they gave us punishments, reprimands and sometimes even a good slap,” Cesare said.

Luigi was an active participant in several Catholic organizations. Maria, fluent in French and English, read extensively and wrote books on the mother’s role in education of children. Being a nurse, she also comforted sick people and accompanied invalids on pilgrimages.

When the Nazis invaded Italy, their home became a shelter for Jews and other refugees.

Three of their four children had religious vocations. Their firstborn son, Filippo, became Fr. Tarcisio a diocesan priest. Their other son, Cesare, entered the Trappist order in 1924 and became Fr. Paolino. In 1927, Stefania left home and entered the Benedictine cloister in Milan. She became known as Sister Maria Cecilia.

Enrichetta, the daughter for whom they had prayed so intensely during their difficult pregnancy, did not choose to become a religious. Rather, she dedicated herself to caring for her parents in their old age. When her mother died, Enrichetta was 51.

As their children grew, the Blessed Quattrocchis devoted even more time to prayer and contemplation within their home, becoming an example of piety to all who knew them. At the suggestion of their spiritual advisor, Luigi and Maria, ages 46 and 41 respectively, gave up sexual relations after 21 years of marriage. They embraced a life of chastity in their own home.

In November 1951, Luigi died of a heart attack at the age of 71 in his home in Rome. Maria remained a widow for 14 years and died on August 26, 1965, in the arms of Enrichetta, the child for whom she had been willing to sacrifice her life.

Luigi and Maria Quattrocchi prove that heroic virtue is possible in married life and in the service of life. Today's families can learn from the example of the Blessed Quattrochis who lived "from the roof up" during the difficult times of Fascism and Wold War II and passed that rich spiritual legacy on to their children.

All of us face different challenges in our marriages and our families. These challenges - when faced with the love and perseverance of Christ - lead us to holiness. Let us turn to the Holy Spirit to help us to discern how to love our spouses and our families more deeply and more creatively. By conducting ourselves always as disciples of Christ, even in the most challenging and unlikely circumstances, we bear witness to others that the good news of Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of meaning and strength in our lives. In doing so, we preach the gospel without words, through our very presence in the world.

Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy

Adelle Fandetti
ON THE DIVINE WILL:
by Adelle Fandetti
Edited extracts from the Book of Heaven…

The origin of God’s Will is eternal; it is one in the Divine Persons. In each act which God’s Will sent forth, whether within the Trinity Itself or outward toward creatures, It gave Itself infinite joy and immense happiness. Likewise, when God put forth the grand machine of the Creation, His Will gave God Himself so much glory, so much honor, so much harmony! As the Fiat burst forth, this Fiat diffused the beauty, light, power, order, harmony, Love, and Divine Sanctity of God. By means of this Fiat, God was glorified in Himself in virtue of seeing the flowering of His Divinity traced out in all the Universe.

The Will of God did not stop. Swollen with Love as It was, It wished not only to create man but to have operating Life in him so that It could always give him new surprises of love, of joy, of happiness, of light, of riches. But man wanted to do his own will. He broke away from the Divine Will and in doing so, brought the first sorrow to God’s Will, embittering He Who loved him so much and had made him so happy.

…God is order. When He wants to give a good to creatures, He always places there His Divine Order. Every good thing has its beginning from God. He places Himself at the head to take the engagement upon Himself, in order that the good may have its fulfillment; and then He orders creatures to the same end. God did this in bringing about the Redemption, and placed order among creatures to receive it. This is what God is doing in giving the Kingdom of the Divine "FIAT", and arranging things for creatures to receive them.

" …Prayer is the desire to possess God Himself, the Source of all life."( Pray like this: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…Thy Kingdom come…Thy will be done on earth...each time the soul acts in my Will, in my eyes it grows more in wisdom, goodness, power and beauty.)

(Adelle Fandetti is pledged to live the Rule of 1221 for life, and has begun a BLOG on St. Francis and the Divine Will that can be accessed from the Web site.)

Anna Ferroni
Four models of holiness in the Church
by Anna Ferroni BSP - Italy

Deep in the heart of every Christian lies the desire to be holy. It is part of our "job description," as HR managers say. There is something deep within us that yearns for holiness. We want the charity of Christ to fill us. That is, after all, what it means to be a Christian.
I remember watching, as a girl, a movie about Saint Damien, the Leper of Molokai. I was struck by his life and death, and I imagined myself serving the lepers too. In most recent years, I was impressed by the courage of Saint John Brebeuf, a Jesuit Martyr of Canada. Do you know his killers ate his heart in the hope of absorbing the courage they had seen him display in martyrodom?
In all ages the saints have made holiness real. They give a clear insight into the reality of holiness and make us aware of what commitment is required. They are like “icons” of the gospel, symbols of Christian self-giving.

In the Christian tradition, four models of holiness are taught: the Martyr, The Ascetic, The Contemplative and the Servant.
The Martyrs were models to believers right from the beginning of the Church. The martyr, out of love, renounces the most basic of all human gifts, life, imitating Jesus who "lays down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). Martyrdom is called a second baptism, washing away any sins in the blood of the lamb.
But martyrodom can hardly be a model for our lives. Martyrs are relatively rare. Few of us will walk that path. While we might long for the clear, simple, dramatic gesture, the truth is that, for most of us, the following of Christ will involve bearing the cross day-in and day-out, over a long life, with patience and fidelity. As a famous sentence says, "It is often harder to live for Christ than to die for him."

During the early centuries, as the persecutions against Christians came to an end and Christians became conscious that relatively few were winning the crown of martyrdom, they began to focus on another model: the ascetic. “Asceticism” means training or discipline. Our BSP Rule is ascetic. In fact, the following of Christ always involves discipline, “taking up one’s cross daily” (Lk 9:23). On the list of ascetics and great lovers of the cross, one thinks spontaneously of Francis of Assisi whose life has fascinated countless Christians. He lived with wonderful simplicity and poverty, renouncing family and wealth.
The ascetical model is good for our times, as we live in a consumer society characterized by the search for wealth, entertainment, immediate gratification, sex and power.

I have always been fascinated by contemplative life as well. I believe contemplation is not limited to monks. But there is a danger. The danger of this model is escapism. The contemplative must be ever mindful of the concreteness of life. Real Christian love must be expressed in concrete acts. One is surely suspect who has beautiful contemplative moments but does not have charity towards neighbor. But we can avoid this danger. I think of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, a housewife who lived in 19th century Rome, famous for her works among the poor and her contemplative union with God, all of which she carried out while raising seven children of her own and taking care of the six children of her widowed daughter. The contemplative model has some wonderful advantages. It places before us one of the indispensable elements of spirituality: union with God in Christ.

The fourth holiness model is the Servant. Outgoing charity is the core of following Christ. “By this shall all know that you are my disciples: that you love one another” (Jn 13:35). This model is that it can be lived out in very varied circumstances. Spouses and single persons, in any work and social status can all build their lives on the gospel foundation of a call to service. The danger of this model is, of course, activism. If the contemplative might attempt to live as an angel, the servant might neglect prayer.

These four models give all of us plenty to meditate on. The martyr tells us that some things are worth dying for, foremost among these being our faith in Christ. The ascetic reminds us of the cost of discipleship: there is no following of Christ without denying oneself and taking up the cross daily. The contemplative calls us to union with God in prayer. The servant teaches us that practical, everyday charity lies at the heart of Gospel spirituality and is the only really convincing sign that one loves God and one’s neighbor.

We must learn self-giving from the martyr, self-denial from the ascetic, prayer from the contemplative, and action from the servant. Will some of us become saints? I hope so.

THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS:
XV. The peacemakers

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Mt. 5:9). They are truly peacemakers who are able to preserve their peace of mind and heart for love of our Lord Jesus Christ, despite all that they suffer in the world.

The Year of the Eucharist—A special Indulgence:

Pope John Paul has designated 2005 as the Year of the Eucharist!

The Sacred Host and Calix
Many indulgences are given this year. One may obtain a plenary indulgence by participating in a sacred function or devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed or conserved in the tabernacle. That is, you need only spend some time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to gain the indulgence! You may receive a plenary indulgence by reciting Vespers and Night Prayer before the Lord present in the tabernacle.

One must meet the three usual conditions:

1. Sacramental Confession 8 days before or after the day of the indulgence.
2. Reception of the Holy Eucharist.
3. Prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father. (An Our Father and Hail Mary are recommended.)

Indulgences can be obtained for oneself or for the souls in Purgatory. Indulgences cannot be obtained for other living persons.

STELLA MATUTINA & DIVINE WILL BLOGs

On last Ash Wednesday a BLOG has been created by Bruce and Shelley Fahey in the BSP website to better document the beginnings of the BSP. It has been named Stella Matutina, Morning Star, in honor of Mary as was their first efforts to promote the Rule of 1221 in the SFO on and before 1994. Now a second blog has been started by Adelle Fandetti, named Divine Will. The BLOGS can be reached through links posted on the pages of the BSP website. So, don't forget to visit our website at www.bspenance.org and go visit the blogs!


Christ Purging the Temple
Christ Purging the Temple
Author: Giotto
Location: Cappella degli Scrovegni, Padua, Italy
painted around 1304-1306


The
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS

a.k.a. the BSP, is a non-profit Private Association of the Faithful, which is dedicated to renewing the ancient way of penance as contained in the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221 for lay people in our modern world. We have the blessing of the Catholic Church to do this through several of its bishops. If you are bound by another Rule of life in another profession of the way of St. Francis that does not permit you to enter other religious families you are nonetheless invited to become an Honorary member of our Association and add the elements of this beautiful way of life that Saint Francis of Assisi gave us to the lifestyle of your profession.
All members, and Franciscans, are welcome to submit articles for consideration for inclusion in this newsletter if they are directed towards the spiritual formation of members or are the outgrowth of the lifestyle of the Association. Just send them to the BSP at minncc@aol.com. Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication of the Association. And if you can find it in your heart and in your budget remember that donations to the BSP are used strictly to promote the lifestyle and are tax deductible. We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!

Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP



Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!

Website: www.bspenance.org

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL FATHER’S
AND ESPECIALLY TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN!

In the world, but not of it, for Christ!


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