Franciscan Footprints

St. Francis and St. Martin de Porres: Two Saints Shown with Animals: Part 1

Saint Martin de PorresWhen you look at most quick bios of Saint Martin de Porres, you don’t see any reason to connect him with animals.  However, he is often depicted with a broom, dog, cat and mouse.  In most hard copy biographies, the animal stories relay how Martin “devoted himself passionately to taking care of others….If men came to him, he took care of him; if animals came to him, he gave no less attention.”  In the majority of cases, Martin did not go in search of animals1.  It seemed like instinct would bring wounded animals to his infirmary, where St. Martin would fix them up and allow them to rest in his room until they were cured.  From dogs to cats to mice and turkeys & chickens, St. Martin was always welcomed warmly by the animals, as they greeted him with joy, as if grateful for his charity.

From EWTN’s website:
St. Martin de Porres, a Dominican Mystic
Feast Day: November 3
Born: December 9, 1579, Lima, Peru
Died: November 3, 1639, Lima, Peru
Beautified: October 29, 1837 by Pope Gregory XVI
Canonized: May 6, 1962 by Pope John XXIII

Read more: St. Francis and St. Martin de Porres: Two Saints Shown with Animals: Part 1

2016 Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus

St Teresa & piilgrimSince I attended Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church & School – which my parents are now parishioners – not to mention my baptismal name is “Tracy,” a derivative of the name “Teresa,” it is easy to understand the devotion I carry to this Carmelite Doctor of the Church.  From the church’s website, here’s a quick synopsis of this great saint:

Saint Teresa is among the most important figures of all time for Catholic spirituality. Her works - especially the four best known (The Life, The Way of Perfection, The Mansions and The Foundations) - together with her more historical works, contain a doctrine which encompasses the whole of the spiritual life, from the first steps right up to intimacy with God at the center of the Interior Castle.

Read more: 2016 Feast of Saint Teresa of Jesus

2016 Feast of Saint Francis

Feast of St Francis Table CenterpieceHappy Feast of Saint Francis!  As you know, for us Franciscans, October 4th is a BIG deal!

First of all, in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the day a person and/or saint begins their eternal life, rather than their birthday.  In the church calendar, Saint Francis’ feast day is October 4th, even though he passed onto eternal life the evening of October 3rd.  The death of Saint Francis is quite the story….FrancisCorps, in their 2012 blog, describes it as Saint Francis Embraces Sister Death.

In the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis, how do we celebrate and prepare?

We began with a novena to St Francis, starting on September 25th.  Last Friday we held a “community” reconciliation service, with readings and prayers related to Saint Francis.  On October 3rd, we abstain from meat and fast and, on the evening of October 3rd, we celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis with a special service.  On October 4th, we celebrate!  Of course, the biggest celebration is the Mass, as a solemnity!  Then, there’s a festive meal at noon.  Furthermore, we decorate both our convent chapel and the main hospital chapel for the feast, and even our dining room table in honor of Saint Francis.  This year, we have a “St. Francis Statue Garden” theme (see image.  This was an early version of the centerpiece.  It kept evolving as each Sister added their own statues to the garden!)

Read more: 2016 Feast of Saint Francis

The Sixth Spiritual Work of Mercy: Bear Wrongs Patiently

First StationEach month, during this Jubilee year, our community decided to focus on & practice one particular work of mercy.  This month, September, is “To Bear Wrongs Patiently.”  As I thought about this, I began to think, well that’s an opportunity just waiting to be plucked here in community life!

When you live with other people, you learn their peculiarities.  Over time, you may notice annoying habits or irritating noises they make.  Maybe the other person is moody or seemingly ungrateful.  Or someone else feels you’re not doing your share of the work.  It’s an environment just asking for learning to bear wrongs patiently!

Since my name in religious life became Sister “JOY” Marie, as you’d expect, I find myself pondering “perfect joy,” and how to live this through my actions and life.  Remember Saint Francis’ story to Brother Leo about what is perfect joy?  For Saint Francis, according to Fr Bill Short, OFM, perfect joy is, “The ability to endure mistreatment & not to be disturbed; patiently & non-violent; based on love for the other who is mistreating you1.”

This is the merciful act of “bearing wrongs patiently,” is it not??

Read more: The Sixth Spiritual Work of Mercy: Bear Wrongs Patiently