Luke 9:23

Published for the Lay Association of


Butterfly Symbol of the BSP of Saint Francis

          St. Francis

May 2005

St. Francis


Of Francis’ devotion to our Lady, to whom in particular he entrusted his order.

      Toward the mother of Jesus he was filled with an inexpressible love, because it was she who made the Lord of Majesty our brother. He sang special Praises to her, poured out prayers to her, offered her his affections, so many and so great that the tongue of man cannot recount them. But what delights us most, he made her the advocate of the order and placed under her wings the sons he was about to leave that she might cherish them and protect them to the end. Hail advocate of the poor! Fulfill towards us your office of protectress until the time set by the Father. (Gal. 4.2)

Celano: Second Life

COMMENTARY: by Bruce Fahey BSP

      In this month of May we celebrate Mary, the mother of Jesus, and we recall that St. Francis himself had a great devotion to her. In this devotion he called on her to protect and guide his orders, and he relied on her to help him resolve his problems. However, his love of Mary was not based on the rosary as far as anyone can tell. So whatever we read of him; however he loved Mary, he did not pray rosaries to her. St. Dominic was just starting devotion to the rosary at the time of St. Francis. Yet he wrote many beautiful prayers and salutations to her. Today, we are called to pray to her by whatever means we choose, and we are blessed now with the rosary.

      So, what does this mean to us? In its simplest form it means that we need to hold and cherish a deep love of Mary if we are to follow St. Francis, or any of the Saints for that matter. Toward this end we consecrate ourselves and our Association to her. In that consecration we commit ourselves to trust in her, and we love her. How often we pray to her: “Never was it known that anyone who fled to they protection, implored thy help, or sought they intercession, was left unaided.” In this we join St. Francis. And so, we in the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, as true sons and daughters of Mary, consecrate both ourselves and our Association to the watchful eye of the mother of God.

      Mary is first and foremost a disciple of Christ. She is the finest example of total commitment to Him and God the Father chose her in the fullness of time to give birth to his son when she had already made a decision to give her life in perpetual virginity to God. In her thinking she did not plan on taking a spouse or having children. She belonged to God. However, with the unique and wonderful gift of her immaculate conception she lived united to God’s will. Through the gift of her great purity she was empowered from birth with a unique power to perfectly love God. So, when God asked her to bear His Son, she responded to God with the fullness of her being, in perfect faith and gifted unselfishness. If God wanted it, she would be a mother "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Lk. 1:38). Little did she know the honor that awaited her, and she was not concerned about her own honor. Little did she know the wonderful gift she would bring to the world for all humanity for all time, Jesus Christ, the Savior. She was born without sin, and lived without sin, and this opened her heart to the fullness of what a human being could be and she gave this fullness to her Jesus.

      Hers is the example we need to follow. We need to give ourselves completely to God, and let Him do with us as He wills.

Bruce Fahey and Shelley, his wife, BSP Administrators
About our Lady…
by Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP

Within our family we have always held a great devotion to Mary. She was always our Queen; always our Mother; and with our deep love and devotion to our own mothers we have always had great confidence in the Queen of heaven. How often we turned to her. How often she replied. We have always said that every major miracle in our lives that was wrought by prayer, and there are many, were brought about through prayers to the Virgin Mother of God.

      The rosary was our weapon. We prayed it daily as a family, and still do. Our children prayed it from as soon as they could speak and join us. In fact, they joined us before they could speak. This prayer we kept for all of our lives with all of our children, and we are proud to say that the honor of Mary was passed to our children and we hope it will fly from them to our grandchildren. But there is so much more to be said. We are in the age when Our Lady has come to us repeatedly with messages of conversion. Through Lourdes, to Fatima, and from there to our modern age Mary is still with us. Still admonishing us to pray, fast and do penance. Most commonly now we hear of her in the unapproved apparitions of Medjugorje, which of course is always the state of such apparitions until they are over, and these are not over yet.

      The messages Mary has been repeatedly giving our world is to do penance while there is still time! We ask on the BSP application if those applying for membership are opposed to our consecration to Mary fully knowing that if someone is not open to it they will not apply. We post a prayer on our Web site; our consecration prayer to Our Lady, and we mean it in full intent. Holy Immaculate Conception; spouse of the Holy Spirit, we offer and consecrate ourselves and our Association to thee.

      All of us need to be aware of this. Never let a day pass where you do not address the mother of God. Would you ignore your earthly mother? How much more do we hope to be blessed and guided by our heavenly mother. And she is full of pleasant and beautiful surprises.

Bruce and Shelley

Anna Ferroni
from Anna Ferroni BSP - Italy

      The prayers contained in the rosary, the Our Father and Hail Mary, have been in use all through the centuries, from the time of the apostles and disciples down to the present. However it was not until 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form. St. Dominic's work in France was hindered by the sin of the people, who as 'Christians' were the bad example blocking his apostolic work. He spent three days and nights in agonized prayer and harsh penance. After this, Our Lady appeared to him and told him that the principal weapon he was to use was to be the prayer of the Angelic salutation, the foundation-stone of the New Testament, the Hail Mary. St. Dominic went on to preach the beauty, power and efficacy of the Rosary for the remainder of his life, forming a Confraternity of the Rosary that spread across Europe for a while.

      Like most things in life, changes came about and praying the Rosary went into decline. War, pestilence and schismatic division within the church overtook Europe and lasted for many years. In 1460, Blessed Alan de la Roche, a Dominican, in the same province as that of St. Dominic, received a vision from Our Lady, urging him to re-kindle the devotion to her Psalter - the Rosary.

      St Dominic appeared to Blessed Alan as well and told him of the great results of his ministry, preaching the Rosary unceasingly, and that his sermons had borne great fruit and many people had been converted during his missions. He encouraged him to preach and pray Our Lady's Psalter. He gave Blessed Alan the history of his own revelations from Our Lady and this became the famous writings known as De Dignitate Psalterii.

      From the time Saint Dominic established the devotion to the holy Rosary up to the time when Blessed Alan de la Roche reestablished it in 1460, it had always been called the Psalter of Jesus and Mary. The 150 Hail Mary's emulated the 150 psalms in the Book of the Psalms of David. For simple and uneducated people of the time, who were unable to read or say the Psalms of David, the Rosary proved to be just as fruitful as David's Psalter is for others. Mary, in Her wisdom, had brought this simple prayer to the people of the day. Blessed Alan preached this simple but powerful prayer as “prayers going up to heaven as roses”. Thus the prayer became known as the Rosary or 'crown of roses'.

      Our Lady approved and confirmed the name of the Rosary and has revealed to several people that each time they say a Hail Mary they are giving her a beautiful rose, and that each complete Rosary makes her a crown of roses. Many saints and devout people have continued to preach the Rosary and in the early 18th century St. Louis de Montfort wrote an inspiring book, The Secret of the Rosary, and it is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it in 1715.

      Of course, in the history of the rosary, nothing stands out so sharply as its importance in the battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571). In that battle Europe was under attack by the Turks, and it was a very serious threat. The pope Pius V, future Saint, called all Christians to pray the rosary and through the power of the rosary Mary helped the Christian army to defeat the Turks and save Europe. At the time the Turks were trying to cross the Adriatic sea and they wanted to capture Vienna, which was the most important city of Europe at the time. From Vienna they could have controlled Europe, so this battle alone changed history forever. So, to thank Our Lady for the victory the pope established the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.

      On October 16th. 2002 Pope John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries of the rosary, the Mysteries of Light, focusing on Christ's ministry while on earth and these beautiful mysteries are now recited on Thursday.

Adelle Fandetti
by Adelle Fandetti

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

Our Will 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 My Will, embittering Him Who love him so much and had made him so happy.

…when Adam sinned, God made him the promise of the future Redeemer. Centuries passed but the Promise did not fail, and the generations received the blessing of the Redemption.

      (to be continued)

Adelle Fandetti pledged to live the Rule of 1221, in the BSP, for all of her life on March 21, 2005.

Congratulations Adelle! God bless you always!

Janet Klasson
A MEDITATION: by Janet Klasson BSP
From the First Reading on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

"He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Deuteronomy 8:3

     A couple of years ago, just before Lent, I took the bold step of asking God what to give up for Lent. The next word that popped into my head was “complaining”. That surprised me, not just that God would actually answer my question—and rather quickly, I might add. But what really surprised me was the implication that God thought I complained too much. I didn’t think I complained much at all. Did I? Let me tell you, those 40 days opened my eyes—just try not complaining for 40 days. It wasn’t long before I began to realize the depth of my own ingratitude.

     As I pondered the above reading for Corpus Christi Sunday, I thought about how the Israelites complained to God in the wilderness, how God let them go hungry to test them, how he then fed them with the finest bread and quenched their thirst with sweet water from a rock.

     The above verse tells us that their hunger was meant to inspire contemplation of the word of God. Instead they complained. It was meant to prepare them to witness the miracle of the bread. But yet again, Moses had to remind them of all God had done for them. It was meant “in the end, to do (them) good.” (verse 16) But, like so many of us, they were blind to the work of God in the dry and hungry times.

     "Then Moses strongly admonished the Israelites, warning them not to exalt themselves by complaining."


     In reading this, I was reminded again of why God has led me to the penitential lifestyle. Unless I know hunger I cannot truly contemplate the word. When my belly is full I am tempted to exalt myself. I begin to believe that what I have comes through my own efforts, and I complain when I do not receive all I feel entitled to. I cannot give thanks for what I have not acknowledged as gift. Self-fulfilled, I leave no room for the Word of God to make its home in me and give me abundant life.

      Jesus knew this well and made a point of showing us how to fast and pray, how to contemplate the divine, and how to give thanks to God for all things, even hunger and dryness.

      What I learn, then, is that I need to fast. Through fasting, the temptation to exalt myself is displaced by gratitude for all God’s gifts. The imperfection of my fasting shows me how little I am capable of on my own. Fasting allows the seed of humility to sprout and grow. Fasting prepares my heart for the miracle of the Bread. The Lord has done all this “in the end, to do (me) good.” He always intended to feed my hunger with the Word and the Bread, and to quench my thirst with springs of living water.

      I wish I could say that I no longer complain to God. I do, but I am more aware of it now. The penitential lifestyle gives me the dryness I need to be able to reflect on all that God has done for me. Then, as I journey through the desert, I am better able to give fitting thanks and praise to God, as Jesus did.

Janet Klasson BSP

Winnie Spencer-Dealy
Mary, Mother of the BSP
by Winnie Spencer-Dealy

“He embraced the mother of the Lord Jesus with an indescribable love because she had made the Lord of Majesty our brother and because through her we have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:10.) After Christ he put all his trust in her and made her his advocate and that of his friars.” (Bonaventure, the Life of Saint Francis, Chapter 9, paragraph 3)

      St. Francis had a great love for the Blessed Virgin, and “made her his advocate.” She was the mother of his Orders, and therefore she is the mother of the BSP as well. We daily recite a Marian Consecration Prayer, dedicating our lives to her patronage and protection. Who better to bring our petitions to, to send them before the Throne of God? Who else will He listen to, if not to His own mother?

      There is a long tradition of honoring the Blessed Virgin, from Mary prefigured in the Old Testament, to the devotion to her in the early Church, down through the ages up until the present time. Our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II spoke of her frequently in his speeches and writings, and many scholars have written edifying books on her and her role in salvation history. She is called the Immaculate Conception, the Mother of God, the Morning Star. We honor her as the Queen of Peace, and the Refuge of Sinners. Are we not all sinners before the Thrice-Holy God? We would do well to recommend ourselves to her loving care.

      St. Francis knew well the benefits of dedicating one’s life to Mary. She is an aid in times of trouble and distress, the perfect prayer partner, and even our solace in sorrows. Who was closer to Jesus than His mother? She was there His whole life, through His awesome birth, in the beginning of His public ministry and as he taught, as Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and she was there when He sent down His Holy Spirit on her and the disciples. At the end of her life, He took her, as we say, Body and Soul, into heaven to live with Him there. She reigns in heaven to interceed for us with God, to Whom she has been fully united. Who else should we have recourse to?

      We especially dedicate ourselves and remember Mary during the month of May. This is a perfect time to make a total consecration to her Immaculate Heart, or to endeavor to perform special acts of devotion to her. We can begin to say a daily Rosary if we don’t already do so, or we can dedicate 15-20 minutes to her in daily prayer. We should not be afraid to take Mary as our mother, as Jesus Himself gave her to us, as He was dying on the Cross: “Behold, your mother.” Just as He said those words to John, the Beloved Disciple, so He directs them to us as well. Mary is our mother, and the Queen of Heaven.

      I leave you with some short aspirations that we may say to Mary, throughout the day. Don’t forget your mother, she will not forget you!

      ***Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

      ***Mother of God, pray for us.

      ***Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.

      ***Mary, refuge of sinners, bring all sinners back to Christ.

      ***Queen of the Angels, assist me at all times.

      ***Name of Mary, be my aid in necessity.

Winnie Spencer-Dealy BSP

Paul Beery

“Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

        We have heard much of the legacy of John Paul the Great. We’ve heard good things about him we never heard before. Most of those in the media deserve some credit for presenting a rather positive picture of the life of John Paul II – after his death. Where were they while he was alive? It’s not my purpose to add to the luster of this good and faithful servant, but explore how a great man dealt with negativity and opposition – even from members of his flock – because of his steadfast fidelity to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

        For example, consider the following incident, which took place in a Catholic Church that, mercifully, shall go un-named. Donna and I attended Mass with an older gentleman so he could visit longtime friends from his and our former parish. Pope John Paul II had just died. In his opening remarks, the pastor pointed out how popular the pope was with young people. He then offered the microphone to whoever wanted to comment. I immediately grabbed it in my shyness, and expanded the pastor’s point with the main reason John Paul courted the young so aggressively: it was time to start over. I went back to the encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” and how alleged Catholics defied Church teaching “On Human Life” en masse, presenting the picture of a generation that for the most part would be irretrievably lost to the Church. I said John Paul’s young followers would bring reform and renewal to the Church in the future that we haven’t seen in our lifetime. Sure enough, as if to prove the point, someone soon said: “I am a gay man, and I live with another gay man. We don’t appreciate the pope’s teaching on homosexuality, and he has made us feel very uncomfortable in the Church.”

        Those of us who lived through the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath, understand perfectly how it all started. Vatican Council II, begun by a Saint, was supposed to rejuvenate the Church. Instead, it was used by dissenters as an excuse to promote their own agenda, causing a great deal of confusion, if not outright chaos. Not much was done to curtail their negative impact on the People of God. They would go on to produce a permanent split (more like a chasm!) in the Church between the faithful and those who dishonor Jesus. Permit a mild digression here, which bears on the point. Recently, I was amazed to see the following statement in an article on the papacy in a secular newspaper: “It (the fisherman’s ring) bore an image of St. Peter, a fisherman and founder of the Roman Catholic Church.” Wow! Needless to say, the paper received a correction from ‘you know who’ firmly stating that it was not Peter, but Jesus who founded His Church! (Mt. 16) This minor distinction means that dissenters are not disobedient to the bishop, the pope, or the Church, but to Jesus their Savior, founder of the Church they scorn.

       Upon the death of Pope Paul VI, John Paul took up the torch, saying: “I insist on honoring every doctrine of Vatican II.” He has been opposed throughout his term by a counter church that continues the rebellion, perfectly represented by members of the Rainbow Sash. Must be Pentecost. Instead of commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit, we will see at our altars the dissent of this unholy spirit. Rainbow Sash members publicly proclaim the Church is wrong in its teaching on homosexuality, yet come forward at Pentecost in Cathedrals across the country to receive Communion in a spectacular display of Dis-union.

        The faithful have seen such arrogant behavior for years, and plead for discipline to be imposed. End the confusion caused by hearing contradictory teaching everywhere. But when dissent is so widespread, is that even possible? I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, and am seeing matters in a different light. For example, I’ve driven a school bus for many years. It fits in nicely with Donna’s job as a teacher assistant, and our second job as caretakers. We have the same schedule, and are free to travel and do other things. I enjoy driving a school bus, until the kids get on. Apparently that’s a necessary part of the job. Wherever there are kids, the question of discipline comes up. Good kids are a pleasure to drive, bad kids drive you....

       Turns out I had a very bad experience one year. One can handle several kids that are continuously disruptive. I had eight to ten middle school kids who tested my patience every day. One or two kids, no problem; ten - uncontrollable. They never learned, never changed, because they didn’t want to. Discipline was virtually impossible, and they knew it. As children they already knew how to use and abuse the system. Original Sin proven yet again. The greatest sadness is to see the wonderful innocence of children corrupted until they barely resemble the image of God they were created to be. It’s like child abuse.

        I finally understand the position of the hierarchy: the rebellion of the Church’s children is too widespread and deeply entrenched to be overcome. There is no easy solution. The one that many would prefer, to impose some sort of doctrinal litmus test as a condition of remaining in the Catholic Church, would be very contrary to the Pastoral nature of Vatican II, and would cause a great exodus of nominal Catholics who otherwise might one day convert if they remain long enough in the presence of the holy.

        It appears Pope John Paul II, along with many others, saw this long ago. Another solution was called for. Start over. You can’t fire half the priests and catechists. Produce new ones. Catholics seduced by the Sexual Revolution will not be easily converted. The wayward loathe the complete submission to authority necessary for conversion. Produce young people schooled in purity and chastity. The Church has paid a great price trying to rehabilitate the sexually addicted. Produce holy seminarians and priests who will lead young people to fidelity and holiness, and a rebirth of the faith will take place in the Church and the world. Be like Jesus. The Vicars of Christ have followed the advice of Paul the Apostle (2 Tim. 4): "Preach the Word in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and exhort - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine... Endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill the duties of your ministry."

        Despite all His efforts, Jesus had to let His dissenting disciples walk. They knew they couldn't stay, or try to change His teaching, for He spoke with authority. Jesus proposes to the faithful like a lover to beloved: the Church continues His proposal of love to the people of this age. John Paul lived a life of great love, and spoke of Jesus everywhere to everyone. A man of God, man of prayer and holiness, he escaped personal scandal. Even to a secular world, he was a great example. And he spoke with authority. Heroes are few today, but a man who lived an authentic life under a microscope, showed us how to be a good and faithful servant in his life and in his death. He has entered into the joy of his Lord, and we were privileged to witness the drama. We eagerly await the next chapter.

       God has doubly blessed his successor, Benedict XVI, who learned his lessons well. He understands perfectly the spirit of the age. From his homily on the first Monday of the conclave: (emphasis mine)

“How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking… The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism. Every day new sects are created and what St. Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph. 4,14) Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today’s standards. We are moving towards a DICTATORSHIP OF RELATIVISM which does not recognize anything as certain, and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an ‘Adult’ means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today’s fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith – ONLY FAITH – which CREATES UNITY and takes form in love. On this theme, St. Paul offers us some beautiful words – in contrast to the continual ups and downs of those who are like infants tossed about by the waves: (he says) MAKE TRUTH IN LOVE, as the basic formula of Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love coincide. To the extent that we DRAW NEAR TO CHRIST, in our own life, TRUTH AND LOVE MERGE. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like ‘a resounding gong or clashing cymbal.’” (1 Cor. 13,1)



A retreat for All of the Faithful to be celebrated at:
Franciscan Retreats
16385 St. Francis Lane
Prior lake, Minnesota
From 4 PM Friday, July 29th to Noon, Sunday, July 31st

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn – of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis:
Celebrant at the Saturday Evening Mass

Fr. Robert Altier – from St. Agnes of St. Paul
To present three talks on the subject of Prayer

Fr. Valerius Messerich O.F.M.
First Visitor of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance

Cost: $140 - Room; meals; program
(and this includes $25 stipend for retreat masters)


(Send $25 to reserve a place at the retreat to the BSP headquarters.)

Group shot of participants at monthly BSP Chapter in St. Epiphany Church, Coon Rapids, Minnesota, April 16 2005

Left to Right:
Back row: Rebecca Maness, Bruce Fahey, Leslie McLaughlin, Shelley Fahey, Paul Beery, Dorothy Winczewski, Donna Beery.

Front row: Dolores Bichsel, and Anna Ferroni.

at a joint chapter meeting of Morning Star and Our Lady of Sorrows chapters of the BSP at Epiphany Catholic Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

Anna thanks everyone for their prayers as she has recovered from her recent surgery, and is awaiting the beginning of chemotherapy.

FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Yves Hélory (1253-1303)
(also known as Ives, Ivo, Yvo of Kermartin, Yves of Treguier)

Saint Yves of Kermartin
Saint Yves of Kermartin
Treguier, France, is a little town founded in the 6th century by Saint Tugdwal, one of the seven founder saints of Brittany. The cathedral of Saint-Tugdwal has a remarkable interior and is worth the visit. The eye catches immediately the top of the ceiling, a 40-meter high arched roof. Treguier is where Saint Yves was born, October 17th, 1253. He was the son of Helori, lord of Kermartin. Since his childhood, he was truly a great lover of the Holy Eucharist. He was afraid to become a priest, because he felt unworthy to say Mass, but he was determined to become a saint. His motto was, "I must become a saint!"

In 1267 Yves was sent to the University of Paris, where he graduated in civil law. He went to Orléans in 1277 to study canon law. In his student days he began to practice austerities which he continued and increased throughout his life. He wore a hair shirt, abstained from meat and wine, fasted during Advent and Lent (as well as at other times) on bread and water, and took his rest--which was always short--lying on a straw mat with a book with a stone by way of a pillow. On his return to Brittany he joined the Franciscan Tertiaries.

In 1280, at the age of 27, Yves returned to Brittany and became the ecclesiastical judge of Rennes. After 4 years he was invited by the Bishop of Tréguier to become his "official", and accepted the offer. In this capacity he protected orphans, defended the poor, and administered justice with an impartiality and kindliness which gained him the goodwill even of the losing side. He displayed great zeal and rectitude in the discharge of his duty and did not hesitate to resist the unjust taxation of the king, which he considered an encroachment on the rights of the Church. By his charity he gained the title of "Advocate and patron of the poor".

Yves had a deep wish of becoming a priest but believed himself unworthy. Finally, he overcame his fear and decided to become a priest because of his great love for the Blessed Sacrament. Having been ordained, he was appointed to the parish of Tredrez in 1285. So, he resigned his legal office and devoted his time to his parishioners. He was in demand as a preacher, even outside his own parish. He was frequently called upon as an arbitrator. His legal knowledge was always at the disposal of his parishioners, as were his time and goods.

Yves was a model priest. He would often give the clothes off his back to beggars, and once, when he discovered that a tramp had passed the night on his doorstep, he made the man occupy his bed the following night, while he himself slept on the doorstep. He used to distribute his corn, or the value of it, to the poor directly after the harvest. When it was suggested that he should keep it for a time so as to obtain a better price for it, he replied, " I cannot count upon being alive then to have the disposal of it ".

He was as solicitous about the spiritual welfare of the people as about their temporal needs, losing no opportunity of instructing them. In great demand as a preacher, he would deliver sermons in other churches besides his own, giving his addresses sometimes in Latin, sometimes in French, and sometimes in Breton. Once he preached on the same day in five different places walking barefoot from a place to another. A turning point in Yves' life came in 1291, when he was 38. Already known for his charity and austerity, he made a more radical commitment to poverty. He gave his fine clothes - including his ermine trimmed judicial robes - to the poor of the hospital of Tréguier, and came away barefoot and in his undershirt. In this he followed the example of St Francis of Assisi, for whom he had a special devotion. It had not been an easy decision however. According to a witness at Yves' canonization inquiry, he had been thinking about it for 10 years.

In 1293 he was appointed to the parish of Louannee. There he built a hospital in which he tended the sick with his own hands. His austerities became more rigorous with time, despite his failing health. At the beginning of Lent, 1303, his health failed visibly, but he would not abate his accustomed austerities. On Ascension eve he preached and celebrated Mass, though he was so weak that he had to be supported. He then lay down on his bed, which was a hurdle, a mattress made with leaves, and received the last sacraments. He died on May 19, 1303, in his fiftieth year, at Minihy-Louannee (Lovannec), and was canonized on May 19, 1347, by Pope Clement VII. The canonization inquiry was one of the first to be fully documented in writing, and has been a boon for historians. 243 witnesses were called, with the help of a Breton interpreter, to give evidence about Yves' life, and testify about miracles attributed to his intercession. Fittingly, these included, among many examples, the reconciliation of a family who had been feuding over an inheritance.

We owe to some medieval wit the famous song about St Ives, which shows that lawyers already had bad press. The song became the slogan of lawyers then, and is still so today.

"Sanctus Ivus erat Brito, Advocatus et non latro, res miranda populo!"

i.e. "Saint Yves of Brittany was a lawyer, and not a thief. A thing of wonder to the people!"

St. Yves is now not only the patron saint of Brittany but also the patron saint of lawyers, judges and notaries, and also the patron of all people embroiled in legal difficulties or victims of injustices. Therefore, attorneys, lawyers in their black robes, and poor pilgrims, up to 12,000 people from all the world, gather on the third Sunday of May for the “Poor’s Pardon”, which takes place every year in Tréguier. They attend Mass, vespers and Benediction in the cathedral at Tréguier, and then walk in procession to the village of Minihy where Yves died. The relics of many French saints were lost in the anti-religious fury of the French Revolution. However, Yves' relics were preserved, and it is considered a great honour to take a turn in carrying them at the head of the procession.

Pope John Paul II celebrated personally St. Yves' 700th anniversary and "Poor’s Pardon" on May 13, 2003, and visited St. Yves' tomb in St. Tugdwal cathedral. He also mentioned Saint Yves in the Novo Millennio Ineunte:

"For all who exercise a legal profession, whose patron saint he is, he remains the voice of justice, which is ordained to reconciliation and peace in order to create new relations among individuals and communities and build a more impartial society. I give thanks for the shining example he offers to Christians today, and on a broader scale, to all people of good will, inviting them to walk on paths of justice, of respect for the law and of solidarity with the poor, to serve the truth and to take part in a new creativity in charity" ( A quote from the encyclical Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 50).

Submitted by Anna Ferroni

XIV. Poverty of spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:3). There are many people who spend all their time at their prayers and other religious exercises and mortify themselves by long fasts and so on. But if anyone says as much as a word that implies a reflection on their self-esteem or takes something from them, they are immediately up in arms and annoyed. These people are not really poor in spirit. A person is really poor in spirit when he hates himself and loves those who strike him in the face (cf. Mt. 5:39)."


     On 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. The initial presentations on the BLOG is linked to the book, Reflections in a Morning Star, which Bruce and Shelley published in 1994 and is part of the roots of the BSP. In time the blog hopefully will be expanded to include the writings of other BSP authors. So, don't forget to visit our website at www.bspenance.org and go visit the blog!

Mary and Child with an Angel
Mary and Child with an Angel, by Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)
painted in 1470, now in Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


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


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

Communication Center:

20939 Quadrant Avenue N - SCANDIA MN USA 55073
Phone: 651-433-2753