Join Franciscan Sister Patricia Forster as she reflects on her response to God’s calling to open doors between cultures and generations, to live a value-based life in simplicity, humility, and service.
From Pat’s interview, reflecting on four basic values of the Third Order Regular in the Franciscan family: Contemplation and Prayer: “I like to talk about the difference between, and also the need for, both/and. I think there is a way of praying that would be called devotional, such as the rosary, or meditation, which be focusing on Scripture. And then another way of praying, which is called a contemplative quietness, and that's going into a deeper consciousness. The latter is something that seems more focused on wisdom and listening to God and waiting and waiting. And the previous one is much more focused on, I need salvation, God, you are my Savior, my Redeemer. But they're all prayer, and very important prayer. The Eucharist is prayer also, and we put the Eucharist at the center of our lives. … If there's anything that I would wish for, it would be that every person would take at least 10 minutes a day to be totally quiet and pray. That means listen to God from the inside. …
Conversion and that conversion is to God and to neighbor. Or it is also a way in the olden language of community life of saying, Looking for God's will. … We're made in the image and likeness of God, and so we are going to come into contact with another person, many persons every day, all the time, and they're going to be different than us. That means that we are open to change. And we might be in a particular job that tomorrow we're told you, you no longer have a job here. … So we're asked to make changes over time”
Poverty: “In exchange for their service, they may accept anything necessary for their temporal needs. So much of what we need is for our ministry. It's not for ourselves. Granted, we all have to live and eat, but we do, we give beyond, we give what we have extra to the poor in many, many different ways. We have a simple home. … We accept up to 17 girls in our Casa Franciscana, and when I watched those gals, you know, they have maybe one dress, a couple outfits. They plain and simply don't have money to have a lot. And their environment is so poor that to catch up with other students takes time. … It's pretty exciting where poverty can move to a stableness and a human development that knows God and gives thanks to God.”
Minority: “To believe that everything that we do is only important because the Lord wants it done. Because we are serving the Lord, that's minority to be serving the other. To be humble, to be accepting, perhaps to even reject commercialism and stay with simplicity. … to be humble, to be one with those who are on the street, to be one with. Francis has had many stories in which he was one with. He had come, you know, from the merchant class, he came from a middle-class. He really did not come from the poverty people, but he could see what the world was like and how the poor were not getting what they needed. So, he gave himself to that.”
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Values of the Franciscan Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular: for a brief summary of the four core values: Conversion, Contemplation, Poverty, Minority, see: https://franciscanfriarsloretto.org/about/tor-franciscan-values/.
Eucharist: For an exploration of the mystery of the Eucharist, see: https://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/the-sacraments/eucharist. And a reflection on its relationship to our response to God’s call: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/transformed-in-the-eucharist.
Breviary: Sister Pat notes that it is “a public prayer service” with psalms, antiphons, readings. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breviary. The Third Order Regular of the US have a Franciscan Morning and Even