Yesterday a number of local Secular Franciscans - from Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse regions - gathered in Hilton for a workshop on the new SFO formation program/document, For Up to Now (acronym FUN). The title comes from something St. Francis said: "Let us begin, for up to now we have done nothing." The program was put on by leaders of the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha region, to which my fraternity belongs. (I wonder if our name with change later this year when she is declared a saint?)
Although about a document, the workshop actually offered a nice review of key Franciscan ideas and Franciscan spirituality - so it was like a mini retreat.
There were some good points raised, including a reminder that being a Secular Franciscan is a vocation, not just being a member of a group we can just take or leave. It's a response to a calling. One person noted that when she was young she had thought about becoming a religious sister, and had been encouraged by sisters to think about it. Years later, after she had become a Secular Franciscan, she met one of the sisters who had encouraged her to consider religious life, and who happily proclaimed when learning she was now a Franciscan that she had answered that long-ago call.
As another person observed of one becoming a Secular Franciscan, "This is professing to a way of life."
I need reminders like that. I sat there thinking about ways I need to keep growing and learning as a Franciscan. One of the points brought up several times was the need for more study of two of the great Franciscan theologians, St. Bonaventure and Blessed Duns Scotus. I must admit my own ignorance when it comes to them.
I bought a copy of the document. Reading it will be a good way to continue my own formation. I think I could read these and other Franciscan documents again and again for the rest of my life and still keep on learning more.
On a practical level, when I look at my own fraternity, I'm one of the youngest members. I'm a teacher. I can imagine at some point when I'm a more seasoned Franciscan that the local leaders might ask me to play a "leadership" role in some capacity in the fraternity, and formation might be a logical area for me.
Whatever God wills.
- Pax et bonum