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Gathering to Celebrate: Ourselves and Our Franciscan Roots!
Every August our sisters come together at the motherhouse for what we call "Gathering Day." We often say among ourselves that we are at our best when we're together. "Gathering Day" is also one such occasion. Why do we gather? We like us and we like to be together--it's as simple as that. Like everyone else in our world today, we are "busy" people but it's important for us to make time to be together and to celebrate who we are and why we're here.
This year we have a very special reason to gather and to celebrate. 2009 marks the 800th anniversary of the origins of the Franciscan movement. Pretty significant, I'd say, to be part of something that long-lasting and that far reaching! Even more significant is the belief that the Franciscan message, while it has its roots in the Middle Ages, has something to give to our world and our Church today. Francis' goal was simple--exceedingly so. He wanted to live the Gospel and he wanted to let people in his world know about a God who loved them beyond measure. He wanted this, not just for the ordained, not just for those living in monasteries and convents, but for every individual of every social class everywhere in the world. And he found ways to spread this word.
So, come August 9, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia will be gathering at Our Lady of Angels Convent in Aston, Pennsylvania, to celebrate a story and a way of life that began in 1209 when Pope Innocent III approved Francis' rule. We'll be having some excellent presenters for the day: Joseph Chinnici, OFM; Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ; and Bill Short, OFM.
Making the day even more significant, two of our sisters will be renewing vows at the afternoon liturgy--recommitting themselves to living out that Franciscan message. It promises to be a day of great festivity, celebration, and sisterhood!