'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

February 2006

St. Francis and the birds in a modern interpretation
THE FOUR PRIVILEGES GRANTED BY GOD TO THE ORDER, AND REVEALED TO ST. FRANCIS…

"Blessed Francis said that God granted him four privileges, and made it known to him by an angel.

These were:
that the Order and the profession of Friars Minor would endure until the Day of Judgment;
that no one who deliberately persecuted the Order would live long;
that no wrong-doers, who intended to live an evil life in the Order, would be able to remain in it for long;
and that anyone who sincerely loved the Order, however great a sinner, would obtain mercy at the last."

Mirror of Perfection 1318

HOW THE THIRD ORDER BEGAN…

"...Many of the people, both noble and ignoble, cleric and lay, impelled by divine inspiration, began to come to St. Francis, wanting to carry on the battle constantly under his discipline and under his leadership. For all of these, the holy man of God, like a plenteous river of heavenly grace, watered with streams of gifts; he enriched the field of their hearts with flowers of virtue, for he was an excellent craftsman; and, according to his plan, rule, and teaching, proclaimed before all, the Church is being renewed in both sexes, and the threefold army of those to be saved is triumphing. To all he gave a norm of life, and he showed in truth the way of salvation in every walk of life."

Writings of St. Francis

Traditionally the date if the founding of the Third Order of St. Francis is given as 1221.

Chronica XXIV Generalium 1370

ELEMENTS OF OUR RULE
from the
FIRST RULE OF THE THIRD ORDER of ST. FRANCIS

CHAPTER I: DAILY LIFE
CHAPTER II: ABSTINENCE
CHAPTER III: FASTING
CHAPTER IV: PRAYER
CHAPTER V: THE SACRAMENTS, OTHER MATTERS
CHAPTER VI: SPECIAL MASS AND MEETING EACH MONTH
CHAPTER VII: VISITING THE SICK, BURYING THE DEAD
CHAPTER VIII: CORRECTION, DISPENSATION, OFFICERS


Welcome Fr. Robert Altier!!

We are most excited to announce that Fr. Robert Altier has accepted our invitation to be the Visitor, or Spiritual Director, of the Association! He has been our retreat master for the past two years and will be this year again. Cited below is a biography on him from his web site at www.desertvoice.org, which was built and is maintained by his parishioners. Much wisdom and spiritual direction can be found in transcripts of his homilies and teachings on the Web site. Fr. Altier has given us copy privileges from his Web site.

Fr. Altier has already given us much salutary advice on questions of administration in the Association. It is most obvious that he believes in the Association and our mission to promote the life of penance recommended to us by St. Francis, and he commends us for returning to the original Rule that St. Francis gave us laity. He is a Carmelite himself, but he knows the Franciscan charism well and is very happy to support us in our journey. By his request (probably because he is so well known and busy) he asked that questions be referred to him only through us, the Administrators.

Let us keep him in our prayers, and thank God for this great gift to us!

Bruce and Shelley

Father Robert Altier

Father Robert Altier is a Roman Catholic priest in the archdiocese of Saint Paul-Minneapolis. Ordained in 1989, he currently serves as assistant pastor at the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, Fr. Altier has a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Our Blessed Mother Mary, and is loyal to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

Fr. Altier serves as president of Help the Helpless, a charitable organization benefiting handicapped children in India. His deep commitment to providing orthodox instruction of the Catholic Faith to the faithful led him to begin the ever-popular "Fundamentals of Catholicism" catechetical series which is now in its 16th year. Recordings of this series and over 200 other talks by Father Altier are available through Divine Mercy Tapes (651-454-8800) and Leaflet Missal Company in Saint Paul, MN.

Fr. Altier is also a regular guest on the Drew Mariani Show every Tuesday afternoon on Relevant Radio.

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

Let us serve God, and one another...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

     If there is one thing that we have had to do in creating the Association it is to trust in God. At every turn there was opposition to the work. Within the Order; within the family; within our parishes and diocese; within the Association itself. If the Lord had not requested it then it would not have been easy, and we think there is a message to all of us in how all of this unfolded. Learn to trust in God!

     Faith takes commitment. Without commitment faith will fail. Even if the gift is given, it can leave us if we don't live it, and that is why we see so many people losing their faith today. They don't work at living it, and they won't suffer because of it; and so they simply give it up. Faith not lived is easy living. Doing what you want. Supporting your own mission, direction and goals. The question is: how will you live it?

     The Lord has expectations of us, and he sets us in a direction we are to go even before we are born. At morning Mass in Stillwater, MN, at St. Mary's, there is an altar boy who is only as tall as the altar, yet he is there more than any of the priests. They rotate their schedules. He does not. His name is Peter Hill. He is nine years old. He serves every day, all the time, before he goes to school. Some kind souls have even bought him robes to match the priest's. He lives his faith, young as he is, in the service of the Lord. His altar serving is flawless and beautiful. Only God knows what Peter will become. Perhaps he will be a great priest or Saint one day. To us at daily Mass he is a living inspiration! His father and mother said once that he has been focused on serving at the altar since he was about five years old! It really shows, and there is a message here for us.

     How can we serve the Lord like that? How can we repay God at least a little attention and respect in our daily lives and help to build the Kingdom of God on earth. The Rule of the BSP does not specify a ministry. It is open to all ministries and service to God and His Kingdom. We all need to find our nitch and bloom where we are planted. So even if we do not spend time addressing a common ministry, which we could do in evolving Chapters, we all must live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and seek a place where we can serve God and others, like little Peter Hill.

Bruce and Shelley

Janet Klasson
A meditation
FROM THE SECOND READING: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP

"I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved." (1 Corinthians 10:33)

Don't you love those "God moments" when He uses you in a way you do not expect? Recently I had a brief but unusual conversation with a teenager that left me feeling uplifted. As you may recall, I work in a small school as librarian. The school is small enough that I know each student by name. Recently a new girl about 14 years old came to be with us.

Lily (not her real name), is extremely bright, but she has had a very unfortunate upbringing. Consequently she is living with relatives in our small town. It is extreme understatement to say she is not happy about this. She refuses to make friends and is sullen most of the time. I often see her sitting alone on the floor in the hallway, sketching in her book. I had not seen her smile much. Until one day in January.

On that day, Lily spent the better part of a 40-minute block—alone—working in the library. At one point I became vaguely aware that she was scanning the racks for a book to read. Shortly before the bell rang, she asked me if she was allowed to take out a book. I said sure, she was allowed up to three books if she wanted. Then she smiled a smile that cut me to the heart. It was bright and warm as the sun. It was stunning, not necessarily in a physical sense, but I felt the Lord was speaking to me through that smile.

Moments later she brought up three books. They were not books I would have chosen for myself, of the "scary" genre, one of which was "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. (As an aside, the book does give a prominent role to the power of the Eucharist.)

I made a comment about the kind of books she had chosen and that started a conversation about books and movies and how she always wears black. She was very animated and I was honored that she graced me with many of the smiles she hoards so vigilantly. I longed to keep the conversation going. I would have talked to her about anything, even beyond scary books, just to keep her there, to let her know that this small town is not so cold and dark as the world she was brought up in. Too soon the bell rang and she went on her way—smiling! I don't know how far down the hallway she carried that smile, but I still carry it in my heart.

This experience illustrated for me exactly what St. Paul was talking about in the above scripture passage. I had been asked to set aside my own agenda and reach out to her broken heart on her terms. Anything else would have slammed the door on her smile—and her heart—and chased her far away.

Contrary to what we glean from the media, the greatest power in all the world is the power to transform hearts. This cannot be accomplished by brute force, but by means that are simple and humble and lowly. Through this experience, the Lord illustrated for me what it means to try to please someone for the benefit of her soul.

St. Francis calls us to submit our wills to anyone rather than follow our own wills. Perhaps that echoes what St. Paul means here—that we allow God to use us even if that means stepping out of our comfort zone and setting our own agenda aside.

I don't know how this episode will play out in this girl's life. But I will continue to hold this fragile flower up to the Mother of God for protection, "that she may be saved."

Janet Klasson BSP
Canada

Paul Beery
NO GREATER LOVE:
by PAUL BEERY BSP
January 2006

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. I do not give to you as the world gives. The world must learn that I love the Father, and that I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me" (John 14)

     Jesus cannot contradict Himself. He said in Luke 12, that He did not come to bring peace on earth but the sword of division. Yet we are to be peacemakers, and seek the peace that only He, not the world, can give. He demands our utmost loyalty, and for good reason. If everyone chose Jesus, and to live by the Father's commands, there would be peace on earth. We wouldn't have to pray for it. But after the Fall, the choice for Jesus takes courage, and in a world where sin reigns, open hostility awaits the believer. It's much easier to ignore a tough choice than accept the life-long consequences of spiritual warfare. We often fail to realize the catastrophic situation our first parents left us in.

     We think we are doing God a favor by paying some attention to Him, instead of realizing we are virtually falling off a cliff, grasping for a lifeline. If we were playing a game of poker for our eternal salvation, we would be holding a hand with a queen high, against God's Royal Flush. We're completely indebted to His mercy. No wonder pride is the worst of all sins, the original sin of Lucifer: pride that looks this reality in the face yet says – I would rather do my thing and fall - than grasp the Hand of God and live. It would seem that only ignorance of this reality might save the sinner who questions the need for repentance. In fact, the saying goes: "More people are saved through invincible ignorance than the practice of all the virtues." Only God knows how to judge those who choose ignorance rather than a sincere search for truth and the peace that only God can give. But what kind of peace is that?

     Peace for Buddhists, as a typical Eastern religion, occurs according to the initial definition of peace: "A state of tranquility or quiet," the ultimate end being Nirvana. Peace for Muslims will occur when the entire world accepts Islam as the true and final religion, and Mohammed as its prophet, a man greater than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Peace for atheists they think will occur when everyone denies the existence of God.

     Peace for the Secular left will occur when the influence of the enemy, the Christian right, their God and His intolerable Commandments, is removed from the public square. They can then take CONTROL of society, implementing their goals of liberty (license), equality (removal of individual freedom and the imposition of worldly standards), and fraternity (only one PC socialist fraternity controlling all: see Orwell's "1984").

     Peace for the Christian right occurs when God is the center of their lives, and of the society in which they live. God is publicly worshiped and His commands are honored by believers, while all citizens are subject to the natural moral law as perfectly embodied in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution by our Christian Founding Fathers.

     Peace is elusive for members of the Religious left, who have chosen a firm alliance with the Secular left, and against a natural ally, their own Christian brothers and sisters. They choose to put politics above the Faith, and seek to re-define the Gospel according to Secular standards. Will God grant peace for betrayal? To me, this unholy alliance is the greatest destroyer of peace in the world. Secular "Peace Activists" are not bringing peace but moral and spiritual disorder. They have no concept of God's peace or how to attain it. If Christians are not united in their faith in Jesus, recognizing and fighting their true enemy instead of each other, there will not be peace in the Church or the world.

     "The world longs for peace. Every year, on the first of January, we celebrate the 'World Day of Prayer for Peace.' Human history seems to be one long story of war, the recovery from war, and the preparation for war. Is peace possible? When the world looks at the Church, it should be able to answer that question with a resounding ‘YES!' Yet the Church is divided. Christians are in conflict with one another and in some places they are even at war with one another. If Christians cannot be at peace with one another, how can the world find peace?

     'The full communion of Christians' is a deep desire of Pope Benedict XVI. In his very first message after being elected (pope), he said ‘the current successor of St. Peter assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty.' The holy father sees himself as called to bring unity to the Church so that she may bring unity and peace to the world…a sacrament of unity in the world and for the whole human race."
Apostleship of Prayer, January 2006 Prayer Intentions.

     It would appear that to pray for peace in the world then, one must first pray for unity in the Household of Faith. Our Blessed Mother promised at Fatima that Russia would be converted and there would be "a time of peace." Some may look for a secular "peace," a temporary break in the cycle of wars and rumors of wars: "A period of mutual concord between governments; a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or IN A STATE OF ENMITY." But when will enmity between nations and people ever end? Rather, one would have to assume "a time of peace" will occur when the Holy Spirit working through His visible representative here on earth, brings "unity to the Church so that she may bring unity and (God's) peace to the world."

     To that end, Russia has been converted, to a degree, from Communism, yet Russian Orthodox leaders adamantly oppose any meaningful relations with Rome. The collapse of mainline Protestant Churches through the corruption of Secularization makes unity more difficult. The West's spiritual focus has been replaced with feel-good materialism by which all things are judged in economic terms, how to feed the body but not the soul. Peace will never result from such a worldly focus, for one will always have more than another, and greed and envy will reign supreme in the hearts of men and nations.

     St. Francis had the antidote for envy, the enemy of peace. "One day blessed Francis said, ‘The Order and life of the Friars Minor is a little flock which the Son of God has asked of His heavenly Father in these latter days, saying, "Father, I would that You should form and give Me a new and humble people in these latter days, who will be unlike all others who have preceded them in humility and poverty, and content to possess ME ALONE." And the Father said to His beloved Son, "It is done as You have asked."
Mirror of Perfection, Ch. 26. We seek to become this new and humble people today.

     Peace will come with the possession of a humble heart, living for GOD ALONE. Peace is attained one person at a time. Mother Angelica is an example of a true peace activist. Raymond Arroyo has told the remarkable story of this daughter of Francis living for God Alone in spite of unbelievable obstacles she faced in carrying out the work Jesus commanded her to do. By her unfailing loyalty to Jesus and the Church's Magisterium, she made certain there would be no diminution of the Faith on God's Network, EWTN, through disobedient dissent. Truly of her it can be said, "Well done, good and faithful servant," a servant of God who has spread the Gospel all over the world, bringing peace to ALL who LOVE the FATHER, and do "exactly as He has commanded Me to do."

Paul

FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)

Saint Joseph Cafasso (1811-1860)
Turin and its surroundings were birthplaces of great Social Saints in the 19th century. The atmosphere of the church in Turin must have been extraordinary, with many saints and blessed all living and working there at the same time in their apostolate. Four of them - Saint Joseph Cottolengo, Saint John Bosco, Saint Joseph Cafasso, Blessed Rosaz - were members of the Franciscan Third Order and lived faithfully the Rule given by Saint Francis to lay people in 1221. They all were priests and founders. The Rule of the Franciscan Third Order does not only fit a lay lifestyle. It is suitable to priests' lifestyle as well.

Saint Joseph Cafasso was a focal point in that group of saints in Turin. He was born in Castelnuovo d'Asti in Piedmont, Italy. He was a modest and gentle child, but was weak and ill, and had a deformity of his spine. However, none of these physical limitations ever held him back in his future work for the Church and for the salvation of souls.

Even as a young boy, Joseph loved to attend Mass and was known for his humility and fervour in prayer. When scarcely ten, he began his spiritual apostolate. He loved to teach catechism to the poor children of Castelnuovo, and on Sunday evenings he would gather the children and, standing on a chair because he was of small stature, he would repeat for them the sermon he had heard that morning in church.

Wanting to become a priest, Joseph studied at the seminary in Turin, and was a perfect student, humble, devout and always ready to help other students. His companions gave him the name of "the new Aloysius" (remembering St Aloysius Gonzaga) on account of his angelic purity. He was ordained in 1833 at the age of twenty-two. After Ordination, he entered the ecclesiastical college of Saint Francis in Turin, which housed 60 young priests. At the college Joseph became a Franciscan Tertiary. Three years after his ordination, Cafasso was appointed professor of moral theology. Ten years later, when the Rector of Saint Francis College died, Cafasso took charge of the college and was appointed as Rector which position he held until he died.

There was a church dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi attached to the College. Don Cafasso was given charge of the Church and spent long hours each day hearing Confessions in it. He was a kind but very austere man, who was very approachable. The fame of his holiness attracted penitents there for spiritual direction and confessions. He gave preference to working men and to servant girls if he ran out of time.

Joseph Cafasso was the spiritual director to St Joseph Cottolengo and St John Bosco. It was through Joseph's encouragement that Saint John Bosco decided his vocation was working with boys, and Saint Joseph Cottolengo founded a hospital for the poor based only on the help of Divine Providence. Bosco and Cottolengo were Franciscan Tertiaries too, on Cafasso's advice. Cafasso promoted the Franciscan Third Order tirelessly.

Besides performing all his duties as professor, rector and pastor, Cafasso also wrote and published a great deal; directed spiritual retreats; and preached and delivered conferences. He also sought out the poor in their homes and trained the young priests under his charge to visit them and help them. But his special apostolate was to prisoners, especially those preparing for execution.

He visited the prisons at least once a week, and some of them once a day, and spent long hours there. He was called the "Priest of the Gallows" because he attended the condemned prisoners right up to their deaths, hearing their confessions, encouraging them, listening to them, staying with them the entire night before their executions, even accompanying them in the cart to the place of execution. He offered up penances and mortifications for the salvation of their souls and spent much time before the Blessed Sacrament praying for each one of them, that none might be lost. He was not satisfied with merely converting them but endeavoured to make them Saints. He exhorted them to accept capital punishment with resignation and told them that if they did so with perfect dispositions, they were in a state to go directly to Heaven without passing through Purgatory.

Being a Franciscan Tertiary, Joseph lived a penitential life. Don Bosco testified to the fact that St. Joseph Cafasso never once indulged himself in food or sought to satisfy any personal taste, but said, "The body is insatiable; the more we give in to it, the more it demands." Joseph fasted every Saturday even as a child, and from the time of his Ordination, every day was for him a fast day.

For breakfast he took only a little bread without coffee or milk; for mid-day meal he took soup and a little bread but no fruit or sweets of any kind. When he became Rector, he began by waiting until dinner was nearly finished before he came; then he took a little bread and wine as he passed through the Refectory on his way to visit in the College Chapel.

In spite of his many duties, he was able to find long hours for prayer. The secret of how he was able to do the work of several men and to do it well, and at the same time to find long hours for prayer lay in the fact that he spent little time eating, and little time sleeping. He was always last in the Church each night and was first up in the morning. After a long preparation, he began his Mass each morning at 4:30 a.m. He spent no time idly. He had taken two vows: one to do what was most perfect, the second to waste no time. St. John Bosco stated that in the thirty years that he had known him, he had never known him to waste time.

Joseph always appeared to be aware that his life was to be a short one, and used to say: "Our rest will be in Heaven." When he was completing his forty-ninth year his health was still good, and to judge by appearances one would say that he had many years still to live. He himself was aware that such was not the case. He made his preparation for death on the first Sunday of May, 1860 and devoted the whole day to it. He made his Confession as if it were to be his last, received Holy Communion at Mass as Viaticum, and received Extreme Unction in spirit as if he were a dying man. He recited the prayers for the dying and kissed the Crucifix as if it were the moment of expiring. But Our Lady appeared to him and told him he had been given another month to prepare for death.

His last illness began on June 9th as he was hearing confessions. He was obliged to go to bed and, on the third day of his illness, finding that he had still a little strength left, he got up and spent a few hours in the confessional until he became quite exhausted. He died on June 23, 1860. St. John Bosco, preached the homily at his funeral. Pope Pius XII proclaimed him a saint in 1947. No one could ever measure Joseph Cafasso's great influence on people and works in the Church.

"We are born to love, we live to love, and we will die to love still more" had been his motto.

Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy

TOUCH OF HUMOR: Catholic Squirrels

There were three country churches in a small Texas town: the Presbyterian church, the Methodist church and the Catholic church. Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

squirrel
One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

The Methodist group got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creations. So, they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

It was only the Catholics who were able to come up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

From the SPARROW: Faith Beyond Intellect

     If I could understand, if I could observe and conclude all things, I would not need faith. The power of faith is that it reaches beyond the bounds of our finite minds.

     A man told me that he was concerned that he did not believe. I told him that if he did not believe, then why does not believing concern him? He stood there in disbelief.

     Further, I told him, I did not accept his assertion that he did not believe. For if he had no concept of a supernatural Being, who created the world with purpose, then what was all this outrage of his against the injustice of life. The actual substance of the universe is not moral, and neither are plants and animals. So why be surprised that in nature whoever is bigger and more powerful survives? Certainly these and similar thoughts were not lost to St. Francis as he prayed and meditated on the creatures of God.

It is only due to an inner conviction in our hearts, shared by every human being, that we know that there is a Judge; that there is right and there is wrong. And so when we see a wrong we demand an explanation: "Why is this not the way it is supposed to be!" This itself is believe in God.

     Faith is an intuitive knowledge, a consciousness of a higher reality, a glimmer of the infinite within our finite human being. To approach the One who created intellect, requires a sense which is beyond intellect—we call this faith! If I could understand, if I could observe and conclude all things, I would not need faith. The power of faith is that it reaches beyond the bounds of our finite minds.

     Great faith of a simple mind is not so impressive. Simple faith of a great mind is. Perhaps the simple person just hasn't asked the right questions. Perhaps faith is more a matter of convenience for him.

     There is the dramatic scene in the life of St. Francis where he gives all his possessions, even his clothes, back to his father and declares that from then on he had only one father, and that was His Father in heaven. A simple mind could not have made such a leap of faith out into the unknown of the future. The faith of St. Francis was not self serving, but founded on a truth beyond the self, therefore it was absolute, it was unshakable, down to the last detail. And very infectious. The great number of Franciscans who, over the last eight centuries, have lived his Rule of Gospel living, speaks eloquently to this last point of just how infectious the Poverello's actions were to us who have followed the man with the simple faith and the great mind.

Robert Hall BSP

SEVEN SPIRITUAL WEAPONS FROM ST. CATHERINE OF BOLOGNA

  1. DILIGENCE
  2. DISTRUST OF SELF
  3. CONFIDENCE IN GOD
  4. REMEMBRANCE OF THE PASSION
  5. MINDFULNESS OF DEATH
  6. REMEMBRANCE OF GOD'S GLORY
  7. FOLLOWING JESUS INTO THE DESERT

From: Lisa Drago BSP

THE RULE AND MODERN STATUTES
of

THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE

Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

of
          St. Francis


RULE: ARTICLE 2

2. They shall wear their outer garments and furred coats without open throat, sewed shut or uncut but certainly laced up, not open as secular people wear them; and they shall wear their sleeves closed.

STATUTES: ARTICLE 2

a. Visible undergarments such as socks or stockings may be of solid neutral colors or blue. Clothing that is not visible may be of any color or pattern.

b. Men's ties should be simple, conservative, and tasteful and may be patterned and of any color or color combination provided that the ties are subdued in appearance and not "flashy."

c. Colorful ornamentation and fancy jewelry are not to be worn unless a dispensation is given by the individual's spiritual director or confessor. Engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, and any other similar adornments, and tasteful and unostentatious religious jewelry such as medals are permitted.

d. For special events, traveling or vacations, etc., or items received as gifts, a dispensation is given herein for the wearing of earrings, other jewelry, and clothing that falls outside the Rule. Questions on this should be directed to your spiritual director or confessor.

e. Perfumes, after shave lotions, and so on may be used lightly. Unscented hair sprays, soaps, lotions, and so on can be chosen at the discretion of the penitent.

f. Female penitents may use cosmetics. The use of extensive makeup is discouraged.

g. At all times in public, a simple cross or crucifix should be visibly worn. The style chosen is up to the individual. If a penitent is already wearing a religious habit of a First, Second, or Third Order community, the habit of the Order is sufficient. A penitent can be excused from the wearing of a cross, crucifix, or habit if to do so may endanger the penitent's life or impede the penitent's manner of earning a living.

RULE: ARTICLE 3
The sisters in turn shall wear an outer garment and tunic made of cloth of the same price and humble quality; or at least they are to have with the outer garment a white or black underwrap or petticoat, or an ample linen gown without gathers, the price of an ell of which is not to exceed twelve Pisa denars. As to this price, however, and the fur cloaks they wear a dispensation may be given according to the estate of the woman and the custom of the place. They are not to wear silken or dyed veils and ribbons.

STATUTES: ARTICLE 3
a. All clothing and accessories must be modest, simple and inexpensive, and in conformity to the estate or employment of the person and custom of the place.

b. Penitents should attempt to furnish their homes and surroundings according to these same guidelines. However, the following of this section of the Rule must not create more work or inconvenience for penitents or other family members.

THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS:
XXII. The talkative religious

Blessed that religious who never says anything just for what he can get out of it. He should never be "hasty in his words" (Prov. 29:20) or open his heart to everyone, but he should think hard before he speaks. Woe to that religious who does not keep the favors God has given him to himself; people should see them only through his good works, but he wants to tell everybody about them, hoping he will get something out of it. In this way he has received his reward, and it does not do his listeners any good.


Madonna with Jesus: the famous Pieta of Michelangelo
Pieta
by Michelangelo, sculpted in 1499
Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica

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

"Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
(Matt. 19:24)

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


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