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St Francis had a vision for the modern age to pursue justice, peace and loving care of creation.
Franciscan Footprints Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare – by Helen Julian CSF PB, ISBN 978 0 85746 811 6, £8.99...Read More
Following Christ in the ways of Francis and Clare – by Helen Julian CSF
PB, ISBN 978 0 85746 811 6, £8.99
‘You could think of it as arriving at a party,’ writes Helen Julian CSF at the start of her new book about the followers of St Francis and St Clare: ‘I’m standing next to you and telling you about the people gathered in the room. Then you can decide who you’d like to get to know better.’
Of course, current circumstances mean that party-going is a distant dream, but readers will still want to get to know these fascinating characters better. Here are nearly 100 beautifully told stories of men and women who have followed in the footsteps of St Francis and St Clare through eight centuries. They come from across the world and from every walk of life: there are kings and queens and shoeshine boys; aristocrats, farm labourers and women whose families were too poor to provide the dowry needed to join the Poor Clares.
Helen Julian has woven a rich and satisfying tapestry, discovering threads which connect and echo across the centuries, including for today’s uncharted waters a whole host of Franciscans who lived lives of seclusion, isolation, ill-health and enclosure: from St Clare herself, her sister Agnes, Giles (Francis’ companion), through Veronica Giuliani, Joseph of Cupertino and Camilla Battista da Varano, to the 20th-century hermits Sister Gabriel and Brother Ramon.
This small book covers a great deal of ground – not only in time but in the grouping of the various men and women into Anglican founders; thinkers and writers; mystics and spiritual writers ; social care, social justice; martyrs ;missionaries and preachers ;pastors ;simply living. This enables the reader to realise the depth and scope of what these Franciscans did in their lives. Indeed Helen Julian CSF quotes from St Clare as follows :
‘she said that they had been called to be like mirrors, in which people could look and see Christ. A mirror doesn’t exist to be looked at for itself; its whole purpose is to reflect back accurately what is in front of it.’
This is a challenge for all Franciscans throughout time and today. Can we be a Mirror to the World ? This is a question which many of the people in this book have tried to answer. You too can try and answer the questions posed at the end of every Chapter. This could be a very useful exercise in exploring your interest in Francis and Clare. The very different themes of the chapters will resonate in different ways to you depending on your particular view. I see much debate ensuing.
I am not a theologian and read simply to learn and explore to develop my understanding of what it is to be a Franciscan. There were many names in this book with which I was not familiar with and it widened my perspective and put others into context.In this time when challenges abound this book reminds us how important it is to be servants of our communities in every way. However this is not an easy task and I was heartened with the honest comment that Helen Julian makes in the book in that she throws at us a perspective that says we can fail, but demonstrates as one door closes another opens.
At the end of the Chapter on Pastors Helen Julian writes –
‘When that door opens and someone appears, I always send up a silent prayer, ‘Lord, let me listen with your ears and respond from your heart.’
There is no doubt that the Franciscans in this book did so. Can we follow in the Footsteps ? Read the book and ponder…
About the author
Helen Julian CSF is an Anglican Franciscan sister and priest, serving her community as Minister General. She has written three books for BRF and contributes to BRF’s New Daylight Bible reading notes and to Holy Habits Bible Reflections and Group Studies.
A son of a rich merchant, a playboy, a soldier, a prisoner of war all of these and then life changed. Francis had a call from God to ‘rebuild his church’. Francis forsook his previous life and lived instead a life dedicated to God. Read more….. Other heard his message and came to join him. This was the very beginning of the Franciscan Orders.
The San Damiano Cross you see on the left was hanging in the church where he heard the call. It now hangs in the Bascilica of the poor Clares in Assisi.
Find out why St Francis is so relevant to our lives today and explore how we continue, lay, ordained, single, in committed relationships, to live out Franciscan principles in fellowship in this world. See if God is calling you to join us.
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Day Twenty Seven — The Second Note (continued)
The Third Order is a Christian community whose members, though varied in race, education, and character, are bound into a living whole through the love we share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. In our relationships with those outside the Order, we show the same Christ‐like love, and gladly give of ourselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice.