By Susanne Mougan The Afro News Vancouver Bc
The garden at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Napier Street in Vancouver, BC; that sits like a small and beautiful oasis of shady trees, scented flowers, and sparkling pond; on Sunday August 16, 2009 provided an ideal setting in which to enjoy a celebration recognizing 80 years canonical establishment of Vancouver’s St. Francis Fraternity, Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). There was a gathering of many members of the SFO from throughout the Lower Mainland, along with a local Franciscan friar, nuns from the Sisters of the Atonement, and The Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, C.S.B. Archbishop of Vancouver Archdiocese.
Saint Francis is of course recognized by many people as the saint whose statue is placed in gardens; is associated with the ecology; who loves animals; and who inspired beloved poems and hymns such as “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”. He is, however, much more as the founder of a fervent religious movement in the Catholic Church that during the years 1209 to 1221 eventually established three Orders comprised of friars, nuns, and lay people living according to a Franciscan Rule. The secular Order has over 400,000 members and is made up of fraternities worldwide, of which St. Francis Fraternity in Vancouver is one. In all fraternities the desire is to live ‘gospel to life and life to gospel’.
Baptized and practicing Catholics, married or single men and women, and youth are welcome to seek discernment of their possibly having a call to follow in the footsteps of Francis. View online http://www.ofsnational.ca/RF_Region_OLOTA_EN.asp and search by Regional Fraternities for local contacts. In Vancouver call 604-594-0984.
The Editor and staff at The Afro News send sincere best wishes to St. Francis Fraternity for their continued growth and with many blessings.