“I was on a fishing trip at Leech Lake in Minnesota. We had a cabin with a breezeway. Once when I came home from fishing in the afternoon there was a robin trapped in the breezeway. Since it was all glass the bird could not find the door, so I reluctantly decided I needed to catch it to release it. This I did by cornering the bird and grabbing it. I was holding it by the tail with one hand and had my other hand over its head. When I got it outside I took my hand off its head, but before I could release the bird’s tail the bird flew off, leaving all of its tail feathers in my closed hand, and flew to the top of a tall tree nearby! I was shocked. I had no idea a bird could fly without a tail! I mused on it a while, and then went fishing again.”
This experience became an inspiration to create a dove to depict spiritual growth. The things we do, such as prayer, fasting, sacraments, etc. are the power behind our spiritual life, as the feathers in a bird’s wings give it the power of flight. The things we read and study, i.e. the rule, statutes and constitutions, are there to guide us, as the tail steers a bird through the air. We can fly without a tail, but we cannot fly without feathers in our wings! The Tau cross with peace and joy were added as the heart of the dove to resound a deep Franciscan spirit.
An exercise was created to portray the dove’s message for ongoing formation within the Secular Franciscan Order. This exercise was given first to the Executive Council of the Queen of Peace Region of the SFO by Father Valerius Messerich, spiritual assistant to the SFO at that time. In the exercise, each councilor was asked to define the spiritual disciplines and resources needed to grow in holiness. The spiritual disciplines were to be put in the dove’s wings as labels on the wing feathers, each feather as one discipline. The spiritual resources were to be put in the dove’s tail, each resource as one feather also. The intent of the exercise was to make known that the spiritual disciplines of the Rule of 1221 can be lived as a viable response to living one’s profession to the Pauline Rule.
The poem Wing Song was written to explain this exercise in writing, and included in the book “Reflections in a Morning Star”. This book was given to each member of the Executive Council of the Queen of Peace Region at a Council meeting. Both the exercise and the book were pleas to the Council to encourage them to see that living the elements of the Rule of 1221 are a viable response to living one’s profession under the Pauline Rule. All of this was part of the Stella Matutina Movement, and a very important part of the history of the origins of the BSP.
Welcome to Wing Song and its dove!
Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP