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franciscan - January 1996

© The Society of Saint Francis, 1995

Minister's Letter

Sister Nan, Minister Provincial of the European Province of CSF, writes:

This time tomorrow, I shall be well on my way to Australia and to the Ministersí Meetings, being held in Stroud this time. I am looking forward to my first visit to Australia and as ever I wonder what will strike me! Then Iím going to spend two months in Auckland with Maureen, Phyllis and Jean Te Puna. I am looking forward to being with them again and recognise that in lots of ways, I feel a sense of belonging which comes from the familiarity of regular visits. In January, on my way home, I shall be having ten days holiday with my family in Cape Town. So here I am, poised for flight, as it were, and I find my thoughts keep returning to homes and concepts of home. For a large number of people, the very word is anathema and for all of us, there will be a wide variety of feelings, emotions and memories mixed up as we think of home. There will be all sorts of stimuli - smells, sounds, glimpses, that bring us to different times and places, to different homes. For me, as I move around frequently, I realise that I have lots of homes and also that Iím never quite settled. It is a strange feeling. But I think that when I feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, a generosity towards myself and a sense of respect towards myself (not that these are usually that clearly articulated!) then Iím at home in whichever place I happen to be. Then I feel at home inside, and can recognise that that is what is happening inside. Becoming the community, and indeed the person, God intends us to be takes place in the environment of love which is generous, respectful and non-exclusive. For me, this describes home at its best. I canít help thinking about us being the temple of God which is holy, Ďand that temple you areí. You are the place God chooses to make home in. God also calls us to share that home and, in the end, God will meet us and bring us home with tender love and joy. So all our experiences of home, staying home, being at home are, in a sense, practising for going home ultimately. Our Brother Paul, an American, before he died used to say ďMy bags are packed and ready and Iím on the platform waiting for the train to take me home.Ē May your home be a place of welcome and blessing and, as we start a new year, may God continue to bless you. f

 

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CSF European Province First Order Sisters: Registered Charity Number 286615
SSF European Province First Order Brothers: Registered Charity Number 236464
SSF Central Fund (for supporting SSF worldwide): Registered Charity Number 280238