Published for the Lay Association of
The BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE
Mary, Mother of the BSP
"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 intercede 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.
Winnie Spencer-dealy OCDS/BSP
by Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
About Mary, our Mother…and resolutions to change…
On January 1 we celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of God. It is a great and beautiful feast and it comes at the end of the Octave of Christmas. Needless to say, without her ‘fiat' there would be no Christmas. She brought to us the Savior. Born a man, from a woman, in a birth which is at once divine, totally human, and a great example to us. Born in simplicity and humility, can we imagine what was going through Mary's mind and heart?
She wanted to have her baby in an Inn, as any mother would. She was rejected, and this was to become a trademark of her Son's life. He was rejected at His birth even, not just in His life and death, and she went with Him. Yet His birth, in the great simplicity of the manger, with straw for a bed and swaddling for clothing, was to be the example of His message and His mother, Our Lady, had to endure it and see through it to her calling to become the great Mother of God. That rejection, and that humility and simplicity, would always be the trademark of the Savior, who would put His focus on His Father and His work, in complete disregard of Himself, and bring His mother and earthly father, dear St. Joseph, along for the journey. He knew what He intended and that intention was there always and from even before the earth was created in His Godhead, and in His Divine and Perfect Will and that of His Father.
We can use this time to focus on Our Lady, her life and mission, her simplicity and humility, her servant-hood and desire to serve God. We need to all be like this, and our Rule calls us to be like this. Simple, humble, prayerful, trusting and pure. We need only follow it to grow in a journey that parallels, but is different for each of us, the life of the Mother of God and her Son. The life that St. Francis lived so perfectly that in one vision it was shown one of his brothers than only St. Francis could exactly walk in the footsteps of the Christ. The other Saints, great though they each were, could not do that. And our mission is to follow the Lord too, like St. Francis did, using the model lifestyle that he gave us. Not one we concoct. One we accept from the Lord through St. Francis as St. Francis did with the life of the Lord. So the chain of holiness continues. So the example goes for all of us. Woe to those who change what that Saint gave us. They have chosen to be on their own.
So the Association is consecrated to Mary, and we must love her, and we can all be confident, not just hopeful, that in that consecration she will guide us to her Son. She always does this. She always points us to Jesus, and this is the prevalent message she is leaving us these days in her modern appearances of which we all know and have heard. We must become like Jesus, like St. Francis did, and our Rule will help us to do that in a fitting way in our life where we are at. We can ‘bloom where we are each planted". Can, and will, if we prevail and persist in seeking the things of God over the things of the earth.
How often do we reflect on how much we have been given. How do we even give it up to follow the Lord? We cannot abandon the modern tools we have to do His work today, in our modern world, anymore than St. Francis could abandon the things of his day. However, we must do all we can to minimize the importance of the many material gifts we all have to embrace more perfectly this life that we have to live. This is not easy, but it should be a primary resolution for us to make, now, at the beginning of 2006, and every day hereafter. Always seeking first the Kingdom of God and promoting it in the world.
The luminous mysteries of the rosary say it all. We are baptized in Christ, thence comes our mission. We all need wine as they did at Cana, perhaps the wine of the strength to pray more, or fast, or be more charitable and less focused on ourselves. We all need to promote the Kingdom of God in a real way, and the easiest way to do that is to speak favorably always of God in this God-less world. We all will be transfigured as Jesus was, and it will happen here and now in ways we cannot see and continue into the realms of light, of God, of heaven. We all need the Eucharist, the Body and Blood, the Fire and the Love, of the Savior to become all He has in mind that we should be.
So, let's be resolved to love Mary, to abandon the world we are in as much as we can, and that is to minimize what we need to function, work and survive. Let us be resolved this year particularly to grow in our Rule realizing it is holy. Let us all trust and love God as never before. Be resolved; be holy. In Christ.
Bruce and Shelley
Insights from our Annual Report to Archbishop Flynn
Dear Archbishop Flynn...
We are entering our tenth year since you gave your approval for us to form the Brothers and Sisters of Penance as a Private Association; to live the Rule of 1221; gather in support of it; and promote it in the Church. Our 10th anniversary will be October 22, 2006.
We have 269 members and friends in the Association as of year end 2005. Of these, 125 people either have been or are in formation. Twenty six individuals have now professed to live the Rule of the BSP for the rest of their lives. Of these, fifteen have remained active in the Association after their professions in some way and seven are in this diocese. 66% of our members and all our professed live in the United States or Canada.
Almost 10% of our members and inquirers live in the State of Minnesota. Of these, 19 are in the diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Seven of these people are active in Morning Star Chapter, the founding Chapter of the Association, which meets monthly at the Cathedral. In addition two other professed members are active in Our Lady of Sorrows Chapter in Coon Rapids, and two also in Our Mother of Divine Mercy Chapter in Austin, Minnesota.
Our Web page is very beautiful and it has won much praise for appearance and content from members, friends and visitors. Our history is summarized there. Anna Ferroni of Turin, Italy, whom you met last retreat, is our Web master. Last year we had 70,000 visits to our Web page. It is a powerful tool for evangelization and the promotion of the life of penance in our modern world consistent with the Gospel.
We have published a newsletter since 1999...and the issues from October 2003 until now are on the Web page. When time allows we will put all of the issues there as they are an ongoing formation tool for all members. We presently mail our newsletter to 330 people electronically, and postal mail to more than 30.
We have an annual retreat open to the entire diocese which has been very rich and beautiful with your celebration of Mass for us and Fr. Altier as our Retreat Master. We look forward to your presence again this year!
Financially we do not solicit funds or sell things to make money. We rely on God and the generosity of our members. We have slightly over $3000 in our treasury at this time which is adequate to meet our ongoing expenses and coming projects. Many of our members donate their time, talent, and treasure to the Association for which we are most grateful.
The Association is slowly and beautifully growing. It is a fun and holy adventure which we have undertaken at the request of the Lord as you know. We thank you for your support and blessing.
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
From the First Reading: Third Sunday in Ordinary time
by Janet Klasson BSP
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them, and he did not do it. (Jonah Ch 3:4,5,10)
Scripture does not give a detailed account of the wicked deeds that called down God's wrath upon the Ninevites. It is hard to imagine a more wicked age than the one we live in, although perhaps all generations have felt the same way. One thing is certain, God cannot be pleased by what he sees. If the Mother of God has called us to fast and pray for the sake of the world, it is because she knows that converted hearts have the power to soften the blow she knows is coming to the world.
In this reading we find a beautiful testament to the penitential power of fasting. What hope this should give to us! God relented because the people of Nineveh fasted. God is moved by fasting. But why? What is it about fasting that can move the mountain called God?
Scripture is filled with references to the power of fasting. When the disciples of Jesus had difficulty casting out demons in His name, he told them that certain demons could only be cast out by fasting and prayer. No wonder the evil one tries so hard to discourage us from this holy practice! No wonder the Mother of God asks so persistently for her children to add fasting to their prayers. The call to fasting should humble us greatly. For the power it can wield in the spiritual realm is worth infinitely more than what it costs us.
The catechism cites the triple virtues of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as outward expressions of conversion in relationship to God, to oneself and to others. Fasting puts us in a "right relationship" with ourselves by helping us to die to self, and as the Lord Jesus told us, when we die to self, then we shall live.
But fasting is only one leg on this three-legged stool, and a one-legged stool is virtually useless. Prayer must come first, so that our relationship with God may flourish. Without prayer our fasting will fall flat. And as faith without works is dead, if our prayer and fasting do not lead to almsgiving, the two-legged stool will be unsupported. We cannot please the God of order and peace unless we cultivate a right relationship with him, with ourselves and with our neighbor. All of this must flow from a complete conversion of heart.
If we look more closely at the response of the people of Nineveh to the call of Jonah, we can see that it was not their fasting alone that moved God to mercy. It was their conversion of heart that sanctified their fasting and made it effective and acceptable before God. There was no hypocrisy in it, as there was in the Pharisees whom Jesus reproved for their "show" of fasting. The fasting of the Pharisees moved God to anger, not mercy.
Therein lies the key to our fasting: the disposition of our hearts. St. Louis Marie de Montfort said, "If but a pin is given in homage, and given with a good heart, it will be enough for Jesus, who loves only the good will." The people of Nineveh had that pegged. Do we?
Whatever we give or give up, whenever we pray, let it be done with a joyful heart, filled with love and trust for the merciful God who calls us to a life of penance. May the small sacrifices we offer, united to the Cross of our Savior bear abundant fruit in this world and in the world to come. May the Lord have mercy on us all.
Janet Klasson BSP
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP
"Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests." (LK 2:14)
In the Chronicles of Narnia, written by C.S. Lewis to help children understand "Mere Christianity," there's a particularly poignant scene that refers to the Christian mystery. Aslan the lion symbolizes Jesus in the animal kingdom of Narnia, where the White Witch has "made an enchantment over the whole country so that it is always winter here and never Christmas."
One of the "sons and daughters of Adam and Eve," Lucy asks if Aslan is a man.
Mrs. Beaver replies quite sternly, "Aslan a man! Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Aslan is a lion – THE Lion, the great Lion."
"Ooh!" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly," said Mrs. Beaver.
"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you! Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
The mystery of Jesus: of course He isn't "safe," but He's good. For the Son of Man is also the Son of God, someone never be taken for granted when in awe of the Majesty of the King. He both attracts and repels. He attracts little children and those who have become like children clothed in littleness, for He is meek and humble of heart: in Him we find rest for our souls. He also has the power to cast anyone not properly clothed for the Wedding Banquet into the darkness where there will be wailing and
gnashing of teeth.
Some who come to know Jesus love Him so much they will do anything for Him: even a lifetime of penance and shedding their blood in grievous torment, for they learned from Him that there is NO GREATER LOVE than to lay down one's life for a Friend.
Others come to know Jesus, and hate Him with such a passion that they put Him to death, and seek to do the same to His faithful followers. Simeon prophesied: "This child is destined to cause the rise and fall of many in Israel." How does one account for such contrary responses? Jesus Himself knew what kind of response He would get: "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but DIVISION. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other..." Lk 12, 49, a remarkable passage. Jesus came to bring division and not peace. Wow. We're not used to thinking in those terms. Everyone says Jesus came to bring peace on earth.
Part of the puzzle is missing. Must be Original Sin. Was the Great Fall in the Garden of Eden God's Plan A? God knew mankind would fall, and graciously (unlike the angels), granted us a second (and third and so on ad infinitum) chance. Would Jesus take the form of a slave, go through His passion, suffering and death solely to show the depths of His love? Couldn't this whole thing have been arranged differently had Lucifer been given a little more humility? Apparently heaven wasn't good enough for him. Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. Pretty poor choice. No wonder he's after us like the devil. Misery loves company, one of the immutable laws of the universe. Get ready, folks, because Lucifer and his minions have no fury great enough for anyone able to resist their temptations by seeking to live in the image and likeness of their King.
Those who make Jesus the center of their lives will cause division, because their counter-cultural witness is so great. The Brothers and Sisters of Penance know the thrill of forming deep personal bonds with total strangers who also realize the only adequate response to the overwhelming love of God is to live a life of prayer and penance in union with Jesus. They also know the opposition encountered from those who will not give Glory to God in the Highest, or even from those who don't wish to respond to Him in the same way, a much more common phenomenon. How does one respond to fire? Jesus, who came to bring FIRE to the earth, will be satisfied with - a yawn?
Perhaps the two greatest virtues most lacking today are gratitude and courage. Gratitude: to see the love and blessings of God and offer Him a lifetime of service. Courage: to CREATE DIVISION in one's own family by firmly choosing the will of our heavenly Father.
How then can we be all things to all people? Wonderful as that sounds, echoing Paul the Apostle, we can't. The more radically we choose to follow Jesus, the more we will either be loved or hated, just as He was and is. In making a firm choice to stand with Jesus, will the servant be treated any differently than his Master? The world since the Great Fall will remain the same until the Second Coming, probably even through a possible chastisement. This fallen world has no love for the Redeemer, nor will it tolerate the redeemed. Why should that change? Those who speak of Toleration as though it were the greatest virtue are usually the most intolerant. Faithful disciples of Jesus are not tolerated (possible exceptions: St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa), because they carry on the work of their crucified King. Man-made religions are accepted, even lauded, because they pose no threat to the worldly. This is strikingly obvious when worldly elites see "right-wing" Christians as a greater threat than Islamic terrorists. Christianity is so threatening to them because Jesus wishes to deliberately provoke a personal encounter with every single child of God: "Go into all the world and preach the Good News, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." And every Christian must evangelize: help bring knowledge of the Savior to all mankind.
How mightily many run from that encounter! And in every direction imaginable, and with every excuse possible! Witness the fury caused by Intelligent Design. The poor Darwinians, who have basked comfortably in the theory of evolution, of a world without any need of a Creator, adamantly censor any alternative to their smug belief in a Father-less Mother Earth. The honest among them will admit that a world without God allows them to wallow in their license, especially sexual excess. Admitting even the existence of God means one must wonder: then for what purpose were we humans put on earth?
Yet we must be true to our calling. We march to a different drummer. Mankind is in need of redemption, yet can do nothing to earn it. If that realization doesn't produce humility and gratitude nothing will. And when by the grace of God we summon the courage to march faithfully with the remnant under the banner: "Fools for Christ," we must not be ashamed of causing division. We are not the reason for it. Our God has ordained from all eternity that some will be attracted and some repelled by the Christ-like merely living the simple truths. Resolved: Preach the Good News. Love Good, hate evil. Love God, keep His Commandments. Do penance. Pray always. Associate with the lowly. If the fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom, the LOVE of the LORD is the END. For the Lord is not "safe," but He's Good! And all who love to Glorify God in the Highest will know the peace that comes to those on whom His favor rests.
FIVE WEAPONS FROM OUR LADY OF MEDJUGORJE TO THE WORLD!
- THE ROSARY
Winnie Ferguson BSP—Austin, MN.
FRANCISCAN SAINTS: Saint Conrad Confalonieri of Piacenza (1290-1351)
Conrad was born in 1290 in Calendasco, near Piacenza, Italy. Little information is available about his childhood, but he belonged to one of the noblest families of Piacenza. He married Euphrosyne, the daughter of a nobleman of Lodi, when he was quite young. They lived in a magnificent palace in Piacenza.
Statue of St Conrad in Noto, Italy
One day, in 1313, when he was engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his servants to fire some brushwood in which game had taken refuge. The wind caused the flames to spread, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of burning. A poor man, who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated, was accused of being the author, was imprisoned, tried, and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken by remorse, rushed out, and before all the people acknowledged that he was the author. He went to the governor and explained that the fire was the result of a mishap of his; and he was willing to repair all the damage done.
In order to repair the huge damage of which he had been the cause, Conrad was obliged to sell all his possessions. His wife joined him in his work of amending and sacrificed her dowry to help in making restitution. The forfeiture of their properties was the turning point of their life from one of comfort and wealth to a life of prayer, penance, and service to others. The couple gave their remaining possessions to the poor.
Thus reduced to absolute poverty, Conrad, who was only 25 years old, joined a group of hermits of the Third Order of Saint Francis, living in the country near Piacenza, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares. Conrad lived such a holy life that his reputation for holiness spread quickly; he had the gift of healing. Visitors destroyed his solitude, so he fled to Rome, and thence to Malta, where you can still visit the Cave of Saint Conrad. Finally during 1343 he went to the valley of Noto in Sicily where he found another hermit of the Third Order of Saint Francis, whose name was William. Conrad and William lived a most austere and penitential life together for five years in a hermitage. But Conrad wished to be even more lonely, so he left William and went to stay alone in a cave (the Grotta dei Pizzoni) on a nearby mountain.
Conrad lived an extremely penitential life, sleeping on the bare earth and taking only bread and water with some wild herbs for nourishment. Nevertheless, he was subjected to some of the most terrible temptations of the devil.
He left his hermitage only during 1348 when Noto was stricken by an earthquake followed by black plague; then Conrad helped to take care of the sick and dying people in the hospital.
Each Friday, he used to go to Noto for his confession, and visited the church and prayed before the Crucifix. Here he was found dead on his knees on February 19th 1351. Legend says that when Conrad perceived that his end was drawing near, he went to Syracuse to make a general confession of his life to the bishop. On the way flocks of birds flew about him and perched on his shoulders as they used to do to St. Francis, and on the way back to his solitude they accompanied him again, to the astonishment of all whom he met. On the very same day he was seized with a fever. A few days later, he was kneeling before the Crucifix when he passed away.
In 1515 Leo X permitted the town of Noto to appoint Saint Conrad as its patron saint, and celebrate his feast. That permission was later extended by Urban VIII to the whole Order of St. Francis.
William continued his holy life and is now venerated in Sicily as Blessed William of Scicli.
Conrad is a strong example of a converted life. God called him to conversion through hardship, and Conrad opened the door of his heart to God, and endured shame and the loss of all his properties in spirit of repentance. He grew through suffering, and turned to a life of prayer and penance.
Today and every day, Jesus comes looking for us and calling us as he called Conrad and his wife. In the midst of our lives, we may hear his call to "repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1: 15). If we want to follow Christ, we will have to leave the wide road of ease, affluence and worldly pleasures, and try to walk on the narrow road that leads to life, turning away from old habits of selfishness and sin. Are we people of the Beatitudes who humble ourselves, so that God's Holy Spirit can work his power in our lives as He did in Conrad's life?
Submitted by Anna Ferroni—Turin, Italy
The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't knowjust when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable it was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, My Lord's and mine. And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away. They're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten, scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.
And when I'm sure I just can't do it anymore, He just smiles and says... "Pedal."
Whatever your cross
Whatever your pain
There will always be sunshine.
After the rain
Perhaps you may stumble
Perhaps even fall
But God's always there
To help you through it all.
So, if you make no other resolutions this year
make one to give your life and your journey's way to Jesus Christ!
From the 3M Prayer Group
THE RULE AND MODERN STATUTES
THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE
The Rule of the Association of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis is the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221, Memoriale Propositi. The title Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis is abbreviated using the acronym BSP in these articles and statutes. The word chapter, as used herein, refers to local groups consisting of two or more members. Ministers in this private Catholic Association are those whose function is to serve the local chapter, or Association, in a leadership capacity. The Rule of 1221 is in BOLD font and the Modern Statutes in regular font. Members of the Association, while in formation or once they are pledged, live according to the statutes. These statutes have been approved by the Church, through Father Valerius Messerich O.F.M., the first Visitor of the Association.
Here begins the Rule of the Continent Brothers and Sisters. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The memorial of what is proposed for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, living in their own homes, begun in the year of our Lord 1221, is as follows.
Here begins the Rule and Statutes of the Continent (those who give up things) Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis (BSP). In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
These provisions are relaxed on Sundays and Solemnities if the penitent so chooses.
CHAPTER I: DAILY LIFE
RULE: ARTICLE 1
1. The men belonging to this brotherhood shall dress in humble, undyed cloth, the price of which is not to exceed six Ravenna soldi an ell, unless for evident and necessary cause a temporary dispensation be given. And breadth and thinness of the cloth are to be considered in said price.
STATUTES: ARTICLE 1
a. Those belonging to this Association shall dress in humble and inexpensive clothes. Subdued, solid colors, as opposed to patterns and designs, should be chosen. Colors shall be neutral shades (black, white, cream, ivory, beige, tan, camel, brown, gray, charcoal, etc.)and/or any shade of blue in honor of the Blessed Mother who is the patron of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis. The penitent should strive to have only the least expensive and minimum amount of clothing needed for comfort, employment, and utility.
b. The penitent should mix and match styles and colors so as appear indistinguishable from other seculars and to avoid the appearance of a wearing a habit. Thus penitents will do penance privately and inconspicuously.
c. For evident and necessary cause, a dispensation on clothing colors and quality may be given by the individual's spiritual director or confessor.
(Beginning this month a portion of the Rule of the BSP will be published in each newsletter.)
THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS:
XXI. The happy and the silly religious
Blessed that religious who finds all his joy and happiness in the words and deeds of our Lord and uses them to make people love God gladly. Woe to the religious who amuses himself with silly gossip, trying to make people laugh.
Madonna with Child and two Angels
by Giovanni Antonio Sogliani (1492 - 1544)
Rome, Pinacoteca Capitolina
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'
In the world, but not of it, for Christ!