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franciscan - January 2001

© The Society of Saint Francis, 2000

Minister's Letter

Sister Joyce CSF, Minister of the First Order Sisters of the European Province, writes:

Dear Friends,

I am writing this immediately after the Ministers’ Meetings in California, where we gathered from all Provinces of the First Order. I am once more struck by the immense privilege and value of such meetings where we assemble in different parts of the world to support each other by sharing our joys and our agonies, to pray together, to make decisions and take initiatives about our Franciscan life as those with responsibility for leadership within our Community. On this occasion we have been looking afresh at our Rule of Life and realising that now might be the opportunity to bring something new to birth out of the ‘dry bones’ of the old.

To this end we have set in motion a process likely to take at least six years to produce what we hope might be a new Rule of Life that reflects more about our identity and our ethos as it is lived in this century than the present document does. At this stage we only know that something unperceived may come to life and my prayer is that we have faith that something good will slowly take shape, that we will trust enough to stay in the birthing process, be willing to endure the sweat and the groans and to cheer wildly when new life comes bursting forth. My prayer is the same for us sisters in the European Province as we try to discern a way forward together, as we struggle with searching questions about our future mission and witness.

In this Christmas season we do well to remember how, for Francis, the writers of the gospels of Luke and Matthew were artists who conveyed a sense of a God who became vulnerable so that we might learn the language of caring, the language of compassion. This language takes a lifetime of learning by walking in the footprints of Christ as Francis did. To this we are called: to try to bring to birth the destiny guaranteed in the gospels, the ‘living the Incarnation’, of new life and new growth, as equals through Christ in the ongoing, cosmic creative process of God. f


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