AFC 2019

June 21 - 24
Sheraton Westport Chalet
St. Louis, Missouri

A Call to be Saints, Founders and Prophets:

Franciscan Writings Addressing Contemporary Issues
As we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the three volume Franciscan Sources, we invite Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF and Michael Blastic, OFM to use the lens of these writings and the values of the Third Order Rule and Life to approach contemporary issues.
We will be inspired to use our Franciscan Sources and our Third Order Rule and Life to:

  • Use a contemplative stance to heal the clerical abuse issue in our Church
  • Consider our values of poverty and humility to face institutional and material loss in our congregations
  • Engage the movement of conversion to confront the divisions of today’s society

Registration is available on the website under "Gathering"


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Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I recently heard someone say “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” As I pondered this statement I thought that this man was given a great grace and was truly blessed. Could I be able think the way he did? On a normal day there are many things that can stress me out if I let them. Most days there are so many things to do that I don’t have the time to be. Sometimes I do take in the stress but I have started praying for the grace to feel “too blessed to be stressed.”
As Lent is here I am thinking that this may be a time not to take on stress. I need to look more on the blessings in my life and thank God for them. I want to be able to see not only the blessings in my life but those in the lives of others. When I see someone who looks pretty stressed out I want to help in some small way to lift some of the stress from that person. I will give that person a blessing. I can do this by just acknowledging the person or by saying something like “You have a nice smile,” “You always do things so well,” “Thank you for going out of your way to help me.”
Listening to the news or reading the newspaper can bring on stress and negativity. I don’t want to take on negativity, nor do I want to ignore what is reality. I want to send a prayer, positive energy and a blessing to myself and others. Maybe by the end of Lent I will be able to say, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.”
Have a grace-filled and blessed Lent.
Karen Marie Lanigan




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“…we are convinced that if we can bring the saint and what she (or he!) did
back to life, we will emerge enriched in our souls and our work. Authentic holiness
and love of humanity without bounds are outside of time, they transcend every
In the midst of our AFC planning, and mentioning Saint Louis so many times (the place, in Missouri, that is!!), I think today of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. These two sentences refer to her, and can easily refer to Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi, and to so many of our founders.    We look to these people of prayerful and practical wisdom to ‘bring’ them ‘back to life’ to ‘emerge enriched in our souls and our work.’  Each of them sought to walk with ‘authentic holiness and love of humanity without bounds’ as the literal steps that we can still track in their lives, and in our own.
And so, we come to our Annual Federation Conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Franciscan Sources.  We do so knowing that what they capture in writing, when it is lived fully, will always be ‘outside of time’ and ‘transcend every culture.’   Think about those we remember, or know in this life still, whom we consider as living ‘authentic holiness and love of humanity without bounds.’  We know they would remain such at every hour and in every place. Embracing a charism and being led by the Spirit, our lifestyle teaches us this truth daily.
At the same time, the letter continues: “The message of her life crosses the eight
centuries that separate us from her birth. Nevertheless, in order to rightly understand
and evaluate Elizabeth, we cannot lose sight of the fact she is a daughter of her time,
 the thirteenth century, when religious values were the supreme ones in society.”** 
And this is why we must ‘rightly understand and evaluate’ those who are around us today.  We must ask ourselves what values are ‘the supreme ones in society’ today? And we are trying:  this year’s planning includes three contemporary issues to address in the light of our Franciscan life, as well as, both, a conference on our Franciscan values for Young Adults and a conference on Millennials for us Federation members.
Let gratitude abound among us for those who wrote, promoted, preserved and lived these timeless, yet time-bound, texts.  Let appreciation fill our hearts for those who study, sing, draw, and love today, for they assure us that the timeless values are for all.
**(“We Have Come to Believe in Love”:  Letter for the Eighth Centenary of the birth of Saint Elisabeth, Princess of Hungary, Langrafin of Thuringia and Franciscan Penitent (1207 – 2007), article 1.2)
This letter, in its entirety, is on our website:                                                                                                                                       Sr Carol sfma




We are just beginning our 40 day journey into recommitment to a change of heart, and it has me wondering — musing…   Could it be that this journey will lead to a change of mind?  Charles Eisenstein, a philosopher and author, says that “the heart knows; the mind believes.”  (  He encourages a change of mind, that is, to actually believe what the heart already knows.
I am wondering… what would it be like to let our minds follow what our hearts already know?  What would it be like to actually know, as Jesus' message tells us, that we are One; to know that loving our neighbor as our self means more than loving as much as our self; to know that our neighbor is our very self — we are One.
Perhaps this Lenten journey may lead us into the wilderness of our own hearts where we learn to change our minds; to know what our hearts already know… and to live from our hearts’ wisdom.  I am not sure how this change of mind comes about.  However, if I let myself be lured into the wilderness of my heart, and patiently stay there long enough to listen deeply to my heart, I am pretty sure that grace will lure my mind also into my heart.
This 40 day journey into our hearts, into our change of mind, never ends, of course, never stops changing our actions, our daily lives, as well.  I love to think about what the persistent practice of changing our minds can mean for ourselves, for our divided society, and for our fragile Sister, Mother Earth.
CEL Members: Theresa Darga, Margaret Mary Kimmins, Mary Litell, Joyce Shanabarger, Edith Wyss
Mary Litell




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The Franciscan Federation Commission of Regions (COR) Executive Committee held a Zoom meeting in February.  Besides National Board/Office representation, the meeting included six (6) Region/Cluster Chairs. 
The Franciscan Federation National Office Staff is very busy planning all the particulars of the 2019 Annual Franciscan Conference (AFC) scheduled for June 21 – 24 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The conference theme is “A Call to be Saints, Founders and Prophets: Franciscan Writings Addressing Contemporary Issues.”  Sister Carol and Brother Damian reported that advertising for the conference is posted on-line, letters are being sent to vendors and congregational leaders have been contacted to nominate those members who will be honored.
 Speaking for the National Board, Sister Kathy Warren shared a continuing topic of concern, namely encouraging associate members of religious congregations to sign up for membership in the Franciscan Federation. The goal is to serve the needs of all Franciscans, including Third Order members, also, to better express our lived connections in order to attract the interest of new people to be members of the Franciscan Federation.  There is also a need for candidates who can succeed Board members on the National Board/Committees due to terms of office expiring. 
Special mention was made that the research of Sister Kathy Uhler has resulted in an invaluable history of the 25 years of the Franciscan Federation.  It is now completed, printed and will be distributed at the June AFC Conference.
As we begin the 2019 Season of Lent, Sister Joan Chittister, OSB reminds us that “Lent is about Becoming, Doing and Changing whatever it is that is blocking the Fullness of Life in us right now.”     God bless you and your Lenten Journey!
Peace and All Good,
Sister Camilla Wolfgram, OSF



The Council for Charism Services met via zoom on February 20. We continued our discussion and planning in regards to how best we can be of service in providing relevant and timely services that meet the needs of our Federation membership. Look out for some exciting news to come…. However for now, in keeping with the season of Lent and in the light of all the disruption we are experiencing in regard to the breakdown of relationships between peoples and especially with creation, let us reflect a bit on what Francis tell us about a similar situation that he had to face in his life time.

It is said that saints are models of holiness and worthy of imitation. Francis of Assisi is such a one. He has often been portrayed primarily as converted sinner, religious founder, social reformer, rebel, tenderhearted nature/animal lover, God’s troubadour, and many others. But most of all he was a mystic.

Francis’ mysticism permeated every aspect of his everyday life and enabled him to see beyond the outer form of creatureliness, to perceive the true nature of interconnectivity and relationship between all created realities. This vision of oneness or fraternitas that guided Francis in his lifetime is amazingly pertinent to our own times too.

In many ways, our world today is not very different from the world of Francis of Assisi. Though our two worlds are separated in time and space, they share some very important characteristics. Within the arena of cultural, political, social, economic, and religious structures, not unlike the thirteenth century, we are experiencing in our very own times a significant collapse of institutions and organizations. The recent economic chaos and uncertainty of the financial institutions in Europe and the United States point to a shift in the perception of the value of money and how it is controlled in addition to who controls it. Territorial boundaries around the United States and around the world are shifting and often result in hostilities and wars.

Also not unlike Francis’ time, our institutional church is embroiled in sex scandals and power struggles that have made the hierarchy lose credibility. As in Francis’ time, profit, control and power seems to be the bottom line. Sadly in some instances, even human relationships have become commodities of exchange for privileges and monetary benefits. It was his unique vision that was rooted in the overflowing relationship of a loving Triune God as Creator and in the sacramentality of God’s presence in all matter through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, that led Francis to a response that was very radical and comprehensive. He operated out of a perception of God’s abundance and universal fraternitas that was counter-cultural and which shook a fist in the face of the nascent consumerist culture of his time.

The real problem that we are experiencing at this time, I think, lies in the fact that what we really have is a crisis of perception. And the only way we can bring about a change is when, as Thomas Berry so aptly described, we can perceive of the universe “as being composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited.” Once we are aware of this intimate relationship, right action should automatically follow - right action being that we respond to all creation as equal and respected partners in the process of evolution and progress.

All forms of aggression right from petty irritations to large-scale genocides and destruction of the environment, stem from the fact that we sometimes do not like someone or something that is not like us. When one perceive that something or someone is not of the ‘I or us’, one can more easily be unaffected or indifferent to the ‘they’ destruction because there is no vested relationship there. We do not share a loving and interdependent relationship with the other.

Like Francis of Assisi, if we could but reclaim the sacredness of all God’s created realities as an integral part of God ‘s bigger plan for us, then we could begin to do the necessary ‘penance’ which according to our Franciscan traditions is that of repairing ruptured relationships – but first we need to cultivate this mystical vision. A Franciscan spirituality of relationships offers us a worldview that invites us into this inter-related way of being.

At this moment in our history, we of the Franciscan tradition who subscribe to a Franciscan charism of universal fraternitas in a special way have an amazing opportunity for nurturing a dialogue for bridge-building and peace. The seminal question we need to ask ourselves is; how can we affirm the goodness of our God in a world that is seemingly evil, or we might ask, is the world really evil?” This is the critical question! Once Francis was able to see the whole world and all of creation as the Cathedral of Christ that he was invited into and to ‘go and repair as it is all being destroyed’, his perspective and response to life’s deepest questions changed radically.

As Francis evolved in his spirituality and relationship with God, he began to see in a very real way the presence of Christ in the beauty that permeated the whole of creation. Everything thus becomes a possible encounter with God. Francis then understood that all creatures were “the bearers of the presence of God – that all possessed the same inestimable dignity and worth given by God to every creature; that all were brothers and sisters, of the one Father. A natural consequence of being aware of imago Dei within oneself, is to be aware of the God image in others and creation too. The challenge of accepting the gift of our own uniqueness, invites us to try to understand the mystery of another’s uniqueness. This awareness makes for a radical change in the relationship. As followers of Francis we must strive at all times to be present to the Presence (of God) and the demands that this relationship places on us to choose justice and the goodness of God in all things.

Sister Corinna Thomas FSPA




Executive Director Sought for
St. Anthony's Foundation, San Francisco

The St. Anthony Foundation is a nonprofit social service organization in San Francisco, California. They are best known for their operation of the St. Anthony Dining Room in the Tenderloin District.
Interested parties should contact Jenn Raley Miller at



The Franciscan Legacy from the 13th Century to the 21st Assessing the Continuing Significance of St Francis and Franciscan Traditions of Theology, Spirituality, and Action
A Conference in Honour of the 800th Anniversary of St Francis’ Meeting with Sultan Malek Al-Kamil Tues 5 - Thurs 7 November 2019 in Durham, UK

For more information and registration:

The Padua Program announces registration for the Second Cohort.
A new cohort of Padua Program* participants will begin this September at University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois
Workshop I         September 23 - 27, 2019
Workshop II        July 27-31, 2020
Who should attend?
                Mission officers and senior administrators of Franciscan institutions
What is the goal?
                To provide expertise for maintaining  Catholic and Franciscan identity in the workplace
What is the time commitment?
                Two in –person seminars of thee days each and  eight monthly webinars.
                (Mentoring partnerships are optional.)
What is the cost?
                Program cost: $3800.00.(Does not include room costs)
How to register?             
                Contact Margaret Carney OSF/ 716-485-6083
*Sponsored by The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities and the Franciscan Institute


St. Francis University, Joliet IL 
Praise God and serve with great humility!  
Sr. Mary Elizabeth Imler, OSF
Vice President for Mission  
500 Wilcox Street   Joliet, IL  60435
(815) 740-2622

Online Certificate in Franciscan Studies

This four course certificate program is designed to:

  • Provide a unified understanding of the Franciscan Tradition.

  • Prepare students to form Franciscan experiences in their personal and professional lives. 

  • Strengthen students’ relationship with Franciscan history.

  • Discover applications to everyday life situations in today’s world.


    Recommended participants:

    This course is highly recommended for faculty and staff at any of the AFCU partners who wish to feel more at home in the Franciscan lived expression of Gospel spirituality, and the Franciscan intellectual tradition.  Because of the experience of the instructors, it is also applicable for those who are leading Formation Programs for Franciscan Religious Institutes, especially for candidates new to the Franciscan tradition.  This course would also be useful for formation of those in the Franciscan Secular Order or in preparation for a life commitment of associates to religious institutes.  


    Register: or 815 740-2622



 Franciscan Mentors

 We sponsor an annual conference for those who are helping form our next generation of Franciscans.
This conference is for you if you help in the formation of
• Franciscan vowed religious
• Secular Franciscans
• Associates/Affiliates/Co-journers
• High school or university students
• Volunteers in Franciscan-based service programs
• Those with a Franciscan heart

Franciscan Mentors—Formerly Next Generation Franciscan Mentors—is excited to announce our 2019 Annual Conference. Offering wide-ranging professional development opportunities to those in positions mentoring others in the Franciscan life, we invite you to register for this year’s conference: 
The Writings of Francis and Clare: Moving from Chaos to Hope in Our World.  
Join us as Jean-François Godet-Calogeras, PhdD takes us on a journey through our primitive documents.  Walk away with practical ways of implementing this renewed knowledge in your ministry.  Meet with others engaged in the same work as you.  Reconnect with old friends and make new ones!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019 to Thursday, June 20, 2019
Pallottine Renewal Center
15270 Old Halls Ferry Rd, Florissant, MO 63034

$395 Early Registration by March 15, 2019
$430 Registration due by May 20, 2019
Registration includes meals, housing, and program
Contact Sara P. Marks at with any questions or visit the website to register: 

Inter-Franciscan Formation Programs
This program gathers Franciscan men and woman in formation (all levels) twice a year at Graymoor in Garrison, NY.  Workshops are presented on Franciscan themes led by Franciscan men and women.  


Franciscan School of Theology
Franciscan School of Theology



Please note:  All retreats and events are also located on the calendar in the "Planning" section of the new Website

Region 1

Blessed John Duns Scotus Library
125 Thompson Street
New York NY 10012

Region 1 Federation Event.  All Region members are encouraged to attend.

 Franciscan Solitude:
Wellspring of Grace

Sister Kathy Osbelt OSF
Date: April 6, 2019, Saturday
Time: 1:00 PM

If you plan to attend, please RSVP 
Siobhan O'Dwyer OFS

Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center
4421 Lower River Road
Stella Niagara, New York 14144
(Only 10 miles north of Niagara Falls)
(716) 754-7376, Ext. 2






Region 2

Franciscan Center
3010 North Perry Avenue
Tampa FL 33603

Centering Prayer Group 
Eileen Strawser and Jill Biebel
Tuesdays, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us. This contemplative practice follows Thomas Keating methods. The group will meet weekly with Eileen and Jill.  If you have any questions “and/or” are new to centering prayer email Eileen Strawser and Jill Biebel Please email to attend.  Donation will be accepted.

Following St. Francis Through Lent In The Footsteps of Jesus
Tues., March 19, 10 am - 1:00 pm                        
Bob Griffiths, Chaplain
Lent is far more meaningful than giving up chocolate. 
Scripture and St. Francis show us what it’s really about. Francis lived his adult life walking in Jesus’ footprints, loving and serving others, especially the least among us.  He believed that we come to God by walking in those footprints all the way to the cross and leaving ourselves behind.  We will explore together how we may come closer to this ideal. Bob is a Chaplain at Pines of Sarasota.  
Register with full payment $25 by March 15.  Fee: $25 (includes lunch).
Holy Week Retreat
Thu., April 18, 9 am – Sun, April 21, 9 am
Fr. Tom Hartle, OFM
Holy Week gives us so much to ponder and reflect on.   Can we take the time to go deep into our heart and enter into this transforming love? The choice is ours… our Savior is already here waiting for us at the gateway… are we ready?   Please register early with a non-refundable deposit $50.  
Balance due by April 12.  Fee:  $244/Single, $238/Double/Religious, or $140/Commuter
Women In The Bible: Forgotten Women of the New Testament
Tues., April 2, 10:00 am - 1:30 pm
Sister Anne Dougherty, OSF
We hear a lot about the Mary’s, for example—Jesus’mother, Mary and Mary Magdalene, the sister of Martha.  But how about Lois and Eunice, Phoebe and Lydia, and many others who are overlooked or forgotten? What might they teach us? How can they inspire us?
Register with full payment $25 by March 29.  Fee: $25 (includes lunch).
Is The Cross The Center Of My Life?
Tues., April  9, 10 am - 1:00 pm                                             
Bob Griffiths, Chaplain
A self-examination and discovery of the meaning of the Cross in our lives.  To live the cross-bearing life is to continually ask God “What needs to be crucified in me?”  Our lives need to be an emphatic “no!” to apathy on our life journeys by reminding ourselves that there is a greater community, a wider mercy, an ever-deeper mystery in this gift of life that we live.  Bob is a Chaplain at Pines of Sarasota.
Register with full payment $25 by April 5. Fee: $25 (includes lunch).
Silent Directed Retreat- June 2019
Fri., June 14, 3 pm – Thu., June 20, 1 pm             
A directed retreat is a one-on-one experience with a spiritual director who meets with the retreatant each day to reflect on the interior movements of their prayer and to discern with the director the presence of the Spirit. Silence is observed throughout the 6 days.  The only communal gathering is the daily Liturgy of the Eucharist. Fee: $400 Balance due by June 7. Requests for a particular director are honored as far as possible.  

McGlinn Spirituality and Conference Center
The Canticle Gift Shop
460 St. Bernardine Street
Reading, PA  19607-1737 

484-334-6807     Fax:  484-334-6808
Visit our Website or Facebook for more details.


The Franciscan Spiritual Center
609 S. Convent Rd.
Aston, PA 19014

More information about the following programs can be obtained from our website:
Weekend Programs: 
March 22-24, 2019 HIV/AIDS Caregivers:  Spirit Alive, Bernadette Kinniry RSM, Br. Bob Thornton OSA ($70)
May 3-5, 2019, Amazing Grace: Our Poverty, the Sacrament of God's Abundance, Mercedes Rojo OSF ($190)
Day Programs:
March 11, 2019, Day of Prayer:  Journey of a Celtic Heart, Carmel Boyle
March 27, 2019, Lenten Day of Prayer:  "The Wounded Healer", Clare D'Auria OSF
April 9, 2019, Professional Day for Spiritual Directors:  The Healing Power of Spiritual Experience:  Gifts of        Savoring and Spiritual Direction, Maureen Conroy ($55)
May 1 2019, Eco-Spirituality:  A Contemplative Walk, Julia Keegan OSF
Spirituality of the Wisdom Years: 
Midweek Retreat:  April-  9-11, 2019, The Holy Cross Walkers, Rose Mary Eve Holter OSF $80
Day Program:  Spring into a Full Life:  A Potpourri of Spiritual Practices, May 7, 2019 ($30)
Morning &/or Evening Program Series:
Bio-Spiritual Focusing I:  Inner Listening, Weekly, Mary Walsh OSF, March 7 to March 28, 2019, 9:30 to 11:30 AM OR 6:30 to 8:30 PM ($75)
Bio-Spiritual Focusing II:  Inner Listening, Mary Walsh OSF, Weekly from May 1 to May 22, 2019 9:30 to 11:30 AM or 6:30 to 8:30 PM ($75)
T'ai Chi Chih. Christa Marie Thompson OSF,  8 Thursdays beginning February 21, 2019 from 6:30 to 7:45 PM ($75)
Yoga, Maryanne Williams, Weekly from March 4 to May 13 2019, 7:00 to 8:30 PM ($75)
Women's Awareness Salon:  Seeing the Sacred in the Ordinary, February 7, March 7, and April 4, 2019            from 10 AM to Noon ($15 per session)
Men's Spirituality Group Gatherings, 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each Month 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM (free will              offering)
Centering Prayer Group, (third Saturday of each month), Julia Keegan OSF, (free will offering)
March 14, 2019, Taize Prayer:  Lenten Theme, Andrea Likovich, (free will offering)
April 10, 2019, Celebration of the Passover Seder, Rabbi, Nathan Martin, 6:30 to 7:30 PM (free will offering)
Annual Charism Day: 
April 7, 2019:  Lead us to the Water:  Lent and the Call to Discipleship, Tom Kendzia, 1 to 4 PM ($30)
Other Events:
March 11, 2019, Celtic Spirituality, Carmel Boyle ($40 includes dinner at 5:15)
April 8, 2019, "We are Surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses" (Heb 12:1) The Communion of Saints,                   Maureen Conroy RSM, ($30)
Longer Retreats:
April 18-21, 2019, Triduum Retreat ($175)
May 17-23, 2019, Preached Retreat:  "When the Holy One leads us where we do not want to go", Fr. Tom        Hartle OFM, $475
June 10-16, 2019, Guided Retreat:  "In the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit", Anne              Amati OSF, $475
June 10 to 16, 2019, Franciscan Solitude Extended Experience (at Clare House and the Hermitages), Jean        Ustasiewski OSF ($475)
July 14 to 20, 2019, Guided Retreat:  "A Spirituality of Film (Part Two):  Portraits in Holiness", Michael                  Laratonda FMS, $475
July 22-28, 2019, Guided Retreat:  "A Retreat with Thomas Merton and Henry Nouwen", Fr. Anthony Ciorra, $475
August 2 to 8, 2019, Directed Retreat, Mary Walsh OSF, Kathleen Gannon OSF, Marion Lynch OSU,                   Theresa Firenze OSF, $475
August 12-18, 2019, Guided Retreat:  "Once Upon A Time":  Parables of the Magic Kingdom, Clare D'Auria         OSF, $475
August 25 to 30, 2019, T'ai Chi Chih Retreat, Antonia Cooper OSF $425

Centering Prayer – Group Session of Quiet Prayer
3rd Saturday of each month from 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Cost:  Free will offering
A group gathering for those who have been practicing centering prayer.  In the space of one hour there is a short reading or instruction, a 30 minute period of quiet centering prayer, 10 minute walking meditation, and a 20 minute concluding quiet centering prayer.  We close with the Our Father.  Prior to or after this hour there can be time for supportive discussion and encouragement around centering prayer for those who wish.  For those interested who have never experienced centering prayer, the Franciscan Spiritual Center offers a Fall and a Spring one day introduction to Centering Prayer.
Facilitator:  Julia Keegan OSF

Contemplative Mornings at Clare House 
About the event:


If you are looking for a quiet place for reflection you might want to consider booking one of our hermitages for a few days. They are comfortable and right on the edge of the woods so you can truly be one with nature.

To explore it further or make a reservation call Sr.Donna Roccio, OSF at (610) 558-6157 or email at


Clare House
If you ever wanted to take a small group (not more than 6) away to a quiet space surrounded by woods for a nice retreat experience you might want to explore Clare House. It's a little farm house in the woods that is part of our Spiritual Center. There are stairs so it is not handicap accessible. 

To explore it further or make a reservation call Sr Jean Ustasiewski at
 (610) 558-5372


St. Francis Center for Renewal
395 Bridle Path Road
Bethlehem PA  18017
Tel: 610-867-8890


Rejoice & be Glad! A Retreat for Religious

August 4-9, 2019
$400 pp Single Occupancy  Deposit: $100
RETREAT DIRECTOR: Father Greg Freidman, OFM


In his 2018 Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis commented on each of the Beatitudes in the light of today’s needs in our world. He notes at the start of Chapter Three:

There can be any number of theories about what constitutes holiness, with various explanations and distinctions. Such reflection may be useful, but nothing is more enlightening than turning to Jesus’ words and seeing his way of teaching the truth. Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So if anyone asks: “What must one do to be a good Christian?”, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount.[66] In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. [63]

Region 3


 Chiara Center 
A Franciscan place of spirituality
        4875 La Verna Road
       Springfield, IL, 62707


Chiara Self-Guided Retreats

Chiara center can help create sacred time away by providing resources from trusted spiritual leaders. Choose your retreat journey at Chiara Center using the audio or DVD series to create your own retreat. Retreat must be a minimum of three days and two nights. Arrival times flexible.
Cost: 3 days, 2 nights:  $240 inclusive of guest room, meals, retreat resources including CD/DVD player. Each additional day is $65 inclusive of meals.
Visit web site for brochure. 


Encountering Clare of Assisi: Her Inspiring Wisdom for Today's Challenges A Conference Retreat

 August 4-9, 2019   
Sr. Kathleen Warren, OSF - Presenter
Cost for this retreat is $600.00 for overnight guests and $380.00 for commuters.
As our culture considers the necessity, value and blessing of the feminine in our world, many are beginning to look anew at Chiara of Assisi with an exciting clarity that befits her name. Even though she humbly referred to herself as the little plant of Francis, new scholarship is revealing an imaginative, committed and powerful woman who worked alongside Saint Francis in the 13th century. Along with Francis, Clare’s words and lived-examples of leadership served to animate a new way of understanding the gospels and how the church might take them to heart with renewed fervor and love. During this conference retreat, we will explore the remarkable life of cofounder of the Franciscan movement, particularly through her own writings and consider her profound relationship with God and Agnes of Prague. Retreatants will leave with a sense of how Clare’s life resulted in a most poignant spirituality that speaks well in our time.

Oldenburg Franciscan Center


Lenten Series: Holy Visionaries For Today
Thursdays , March 7 th – 28th 6:30pm – 8:00pm
$15 per session/$55 for all
March 7th – Rev. Matthew Landry (Pastor & Spiritual Director) Henri Nouwen Fr. Henri (1932-1996) is a widely known and beloved priest, author, spiritual director, and soul friend. His writings are an encouragement to continue our journey in prayer, silence, solitude, and vulnerability. Join us as we begin our Lenten journey, allowing Fr. Henri’s writings to draw us deeper into the heart of Jesus

March 14th - Rev. Matthew Landry (Pastor & Spiritual Director) Saint Oscar Romero The Salvadoran Archbishop is a voice for today. Saint Romero (1917-1980) was just canonized in October of 2018, but his influence spands across time. Join us as we discover God’s call for our lives by reflecting on and praying with Saint Romero’s words and life.

March 21st & 28th - Bill Tonnis (Singer/Songwriter, Author, Pastoral Minister) Walking with Thomas Merton: From Death to Life – Parts One & Two We will reflect on the many "dyings" and "risings" of our lives. Bill will speak about the impact of Thomas Merton on his journey to finding his true self. He will share his songs and lead us in a session of Centering Prayer.

Retreat With Hildegard of Bingen
Saturday, March 23rd 9:30am-2:30pm
Presenter: S. Olga Wittekind, OSF (Retreat Director)
Cost: $45 includes lunch
A Benedictine nun of the 12th century, Hildegard was a mystic, musician, pharmacist, gardener, and Abbess. Her experience of God as “Light” began as a young child living as an anchoress. We can draw much inspiration from her visions, writing and images! Come spend time with this Holy woman and new female Doctor of the Church.

Boundless Compassion Book Circle
Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 8pm
Presenter: S. Marj English, OSF
Cost: $85 includes book
Join our “Circle of Compassion” as we journey through Joyce Rupp’s book Boundless Compassion. Come and learn how to live more compassionately in your life. This book will inspire and motivate us to grow this “most basic and essential human attribute.”

Women’s Day: Women of Light
Saturday, April 6th 9:00am-3:00pm
Keynote: S. Norma Rocklage (Retreat & Spiritual Director) Breakout: Anne Buening (Pastoral Minister) Breakout: S. Ann Vonder Meulen, OSF (Artist & Retreat Facilitator)
$50 includes lunch/2 for $90
St. Clare, whose name in Latin is CLARA, LIGHT, was truly a brilliant spiritual light to the people of the 13th century as well as to us in the 21st century. She shines as a model of indescribable joy which comes from finding one’s treasure—a life lived in total dependence on a God who loves us unconditionally—and “selling” all to buy it!

Holy Week Retreat
April 18th – 21st
Retreat Facilitator: S. Olga Wittekind, OSF (Retreat Director)
$350 includes overnight, meals and spiritual direction
Spend time in silence and reflection during this Holy Week. Experience the liturgical celebrations in the Sister’s Chapel along with daily Spiritual Direction with S. Olga.

Shadow Retrieval Work: What Does Your Shadow Project?
Saturday, April 27th 9:30am – 2:30pm
Presenters: S. Olga Wittekind, PhD & Claire Sherman, PhD (Clinical Psychologists)
$45 includes lunch/ $65 includes CEUs & Lunch
This workshop will help us identify Shadow figures both, Negative & Golden, that we project onto others. We will explore the process of Shadow Retrieval Work and the benefits of bringing into our awareness what we project. By owning the aspects of ourselves that we have disowned and projected onto others, we can evolve towards Wholeness and Individuation.

Painting a Rock Mandala
Saturday, May 25th 10am – Noon
Presenters: Margaret Partin (Artist) & Jennifer Perry (OFC Program Coordinator)
$20 includes rocks and art supplies
A mandala is an ancient symbol that represents the universe. As a sacred symbol, they can be used for meditation, prayer & healing. Join us for a quiet morning of reflection and creativity. Create your own rock mandala for your prayer and meditation space. No experience required!


 Portiuncula Center for Prayer

9263 West St. Francis Road
Frankfort, IL  60423  815.464.3880 to register and for program details.

Date:  Monday, March 11    Time:  9:00 a.m. - Noon    Fee:  $25
Dates:   Mondays, March 11 – April 8 (five-week series) Time: 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.     Fee:   $100
Friday, March 15   Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  Fee:  $25
Date:  Saturday, March 16    Time:  9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.    Fee:  $40


Date:  Monday, March 18    Time:  9:00 a.m. – Noon      Fee:  $25

Date:  Monday, March 25           Time:   9:00 a.m. - Noon            Fee:  $25


Sisters of St. Francis

St. Francis Spirituality Center
200 St. Francis Ave
Tiffin OH 44883
Ph. 419-443-1485

Note:    Private retreats or individually directed retreats can be scheduled for 1-8 days in length.  For more information regarding available directors, accommodations or cost, contact St. Francis Spirituality Center.
            Meditation classes and day-long retreats are also periodically available.  See the website for current offerings.

Assisi Within:  A Vicarious Pilgrimage 
May 19-25, 2019. (Sunday 4 PM – Saturday 1 PM)
 Retreat/Pilgrimage Leaders:  Sr. Patricia Ann Froning, OSF and Sr. Roberta Marie Doneth, OSF
Cost: $490.  Commuter: $350
Visit places dear to the hearts of Francis and Clare through visual presentations, rituals, reflection time, and sharing. 

Individually Directed Retreat    
June 16-22, 2019 (Sunday 4 PM – Saturday 1 PM) 
Directors:  Sr. Patricia Ann Froning, OSF;  Sr. Roberta Marie Doneth, OSF; Sr. Edna Michel, OSF.
Cost $495.  Commuter $365.
Retreatants meet individually with a director each day.  Optional prayer rituals. 

Eucharist:  Diamond in our Midst  
July 14-20, 2019 (Sunday 4 PM – Saturday 1 PM)
Director:  Sr. Edna Michel, OSF  
Cost: $490;  Commuter: $350. 
Drawing from the experiences of human life, this retreat will focus on various facets of the Eucharist.  Two conferences daily, time for reflection and optional sharing times. 


Regina Spirituality and Conference Center
Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania
6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania, OH  43560
For more information contact:

Sister Joan Jurski, 419.824.3528,

Seeking the perfect setting for solitude, prayer, individual or directed retreats?
In the spirit of Francis and Clare our lovely campus provides indoor space and gardens for spiritual experiences on 89 peaceful wooded acres.
21 Overnight Rooms
Two Hermitages - reserve for a day, a weekend or a week
Daily Liturgy at Queen of Peace Chapel
The Portiuncula Shrine Chapel, Grotto and several other shrines
While on campus visit All Good Things Art & Gifts! Or visit us online at


Tau Center
26W171 Roosevent Road
Wheaton, IL 60187


Region 4
Rochester MN Franciscans
Assisi Heights

1001 14th Street NW
Rochester, MN 55901
507-280-2195 or email:

Monday, MAY 6 – Saturday MAY 11:  Guided Retreat with Direction :“Pursuing Timeless Essential Franciscan Questions and Lived Responses,” presenter: Mr. Rick Dietz, MA
The presenter will look at several questions St. Francis of Assisi asked of himself. How did Francis and early Franciscans answer these questions and live their lives. How are other Franciscans today responding to these questions. What have been our own lived responses to these timeless essential questions?
Morning conference and opportunity for daily spiritual direction.
Retreat fee: $400 (Includes meals and lodging). Commuter rate available.
Sunday evening, JUNE 16 – Saturday Morning, JUNE 22:  “Seek First the Realm of God,” presented by Father Tony Gittins, CSSp
Seeking to identify some of the major building-blocks of our religious lives, we will look at our call to ongoing conversion; ask whether we are growing in age and wisdom; and identify the essence of spirituality. We will ask: “What is ‘this’ Jesus asks us to do in this memory?”; and are we people of hope?” These and other topics will be shared during the week.
Retreat fee: $450 (Includes meals and lodging). Commuter rate available.

 Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls
116 Eighth Avenue Southeast
 Little Falls, MN  56345          

Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center

3560 Hwy 51 North
Arbor Vitae, WI 54568

For more information on these retreats see


Shalom Spirituality Center
(formerly Shalom Retreat Center)
1001 Davis Street
Dubuque, Iowa 52001

Call: 563-582-3592
Monday, March 11, 6:00PM-8:00PM
Five Years In Heaven: An Unlikely Friendship
A Dinner & Discussion With Author John Schlimm
Hosted At Shalom Spirituality Center
Co-Sponsored By Clarke University
Offering: $25

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30PM-8:30PM
Participatory Art Night
Check-In Begins At 6:00PM
Facilitators: Mary Potter Kenyon & Artist John Schlimm
Offering: $15

Wednesday, March 13, 7:00PM-8:00PM
"The Art of Doing It All"
Held At The Jansen Music Hall On Clarke's Campus, 1550 Clarke Drive, Dubuque
Free. No Registration Required.

Thursday, March 14, 6:30PM-8:00PM
Book Discussion
Book: Five Years In Heaven by John Schlimm
Held At Shalom Spirituality Center
Co-Sponsored By Clarke University
Facilitators: Mary Potter Kenyon & Author John Schlimm 
Books are available for purchase at Riverlights Bookstore.
Offering: $6

Friday, March 15, 6:00PM-8:00PM
Vegan Cooking With John Schlimm 
Held At Convivium Urban Farmstead, 2811 Jackson Street, Dubuque
Co-Sponsored With Convivium
Facilitators: Author John Schlimm, Local Vegan Beth Putnam, & Convivum's Chefs 
Offering: $15 For Demo & Discussion. 
Add $15 For Dinner ($30 Total).

Centering Prayer Group
Monday, March 18, 7:00PM-8:00PM
Quiet, wordless prayer together followed by reading a piece relate to contemplative prayer or contemplative worship — newcomers welcomed. 
Offering: Freewill

Spring Breakfast: “Magical Memories: 30 Years Of Shalom"
Tuesday, March 19, 7:30AM-8:30AM
Help us celebrate the beginning of Spring by meeting friends for a scrumptious array of your favorite breakfast treats and enjoying a discussion about magical memories of Shalom from over the years.
Offering: $10

Book Discussion: “Educated”
Tuesday, March 19, 6:30PM-8:00PM
In this coming-of-age story, Tara Westover is the youngest child of a fundamentalist Mormon family living in the foothills of Idaho, who goes from an isolated & homeschooled existence to earning her PhD from Cambridge.
Offering: $6 (Books available for purchase at Riverlights)

The Heart Of Compassion Weekend Retreat
Friday, March 22, 7:00PM—Sunday, March 24, 11:00AM
This retreat will include meditation, short talks, experiential exercise, and group discussion. We will explore compassion in a journey from the head to the heart, directed by social worker Ellie Hyatt. 
Offering: $200 Guests / $140 Commuters

Do No Harm: Living Life As Your Best Self Mini Yoga Retreat
Saturday, March 23, 8:30AM-12:00PM
Facilitated by two local certified yoga instructors. Includes exercise, personal time, and reflection. Open to students of all levels.
Offering: $20

Prayer Project — Coffee, Conversation, & Intentional Prayer 
Tuesday, March 26, 9:00AM-10:00AM
This prayerful series invites you to be intentional in how you seek God.
Offering: Freewill

Mini Writing Workshop: Expressive Writing Science
Tuesday, March 26, 6:30PM-8:00PM
Science has proven that expressive writing can contribute to emotional and physical health. It can also lead to publication. Writing exercises are included during the workshop.
Offering: $10

Film Screening: “The Sultan And The Saint”
Thursday, March 28, 6:30PM-8:00PM
Two men of faith — the itinerant Christian preacher St. Francis, and the King of a Muslim Empire — bucked war, distrust, and propaganda to find friendship and common ground.
Offering: Freewill

Bible Art Journaling
Saturday, March 30, 1:00PM-4:00PM
You don’t have to be a trained artist to learn the techniques of Bible Journaling as a form of expressing God’s word and faith.
Offering: $20 

St. Anthony Spirituality Center
300 E Fourth Street
Marathon, WI 54448

The Franciscan Spirituality Center
920 Market Street,
La Crosse, WI 54601


Serenity Retreat: Emotional Sobriety
 March 22-24
presenter: Susan Seeby, CSA. This closed retreat is for men and women who are members of a 12-step fellowship and are active in their recovery from alcohol or drugs. We’ll look through the lens of the Prayer of St. Francis to explore the next frontier of “emotional sobriety.”

Iconography Retreats
 with Phil Zimmerman. Learn the sacred art of painting (writing) Byzantine-style icons. St. George and the Dragon, May 19-25; St. Peter and St. Paul (advanced students only), July 14-20; and St. Joseph/St. Nektarios (choose one), September 22-28. Full: $625, six nights’ stay, all meals and materials; Commuter: $505, includes lunch and supper, and materials. Fee includes a $150 nonrefundable deposit.

Region 5

Il Ritiro
Franciscan Retreat Center
P.O. Box 38 ~ 7935 St. Francis Ln.
Dittmer, MO  63023


Tau  Center
Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

335 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis MO 63122

Region 6

Franciscan Spiritual Center
2512 SE Monroe Street
Milwaukee, OR 97222
Ph. 503-794-8542 Fx. 503-794-8556

Lenten Quiet Day
Date: March 13th
Time: 9:30am-2pm
Leader: Larry Peacock
Cost: $35- 50 sliding scale
Easter will come, but first we journey through the last of winter and the troubling questions about giving things up and facing our temptations. Lent is a threshold time, a time to listen for the traces of God who moves in the ordinary and in the depths of our hearts. Lent is God’s gift to us, another chance to be fully alive and see beyond darkness and death to the brightness of Easter. Come for this day of mostly silence where we will begin with meditation, receive some prompts for the silence and after lunch conclude with sharing and encouragement to move gently through Lent. Please bring a sack lunch.

The Coast, The Missions, The Landscape and Prayer:
Discover California’s Franciscan Missions ~ May 13-20, 2019
Since 2008, the Franciscan Spiritual Center has led pilgrimages and retreats to holy places.  More than simply a “tour,” pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, a holy wandering in “foreign places” that invites the people, place and culture to seep into us.  As we move from the clutter and busyness of our ordinary lives into a deeper awareness of God, we listen for guidance or courage or confirmation from the Holy One for the journey.
Join us on this pilgrimage to Northern California.  Experience the beauty of Carmel, the historic charm of Sonoma in the California Wine Country, the vibrancy of San Francisco, the hills and trails of San Juan Bautista.  Immerse yourself in the rich stew of 500-years of mixing indigenous, colonial, and religious cultures.  Franciscan friars and the Missions had a huge impact on California and its people.  Planning to establish each mission as a self-sustaining utopian community, their stories blend great beauty and great pain.  Junipero Serra’s missions may not have turned out as he conceived them, yet they continue as vital sacred places surrounded by big cities or charming towns.
Pilgrimage leaders, Eileen and Mark, will guide the journey with ways to prayerfully enter and reflect on the day.  Two beautifully located and peaceful Franciscan Retreat Centers offer us evening hospitality for a gentle community rhythm of engagement and reflection.

Dates:  May 13—20, 2019
If you are interested in attending this pilgrimage in California, please contact us soon.
This land package, based on double occupancy is $3390.
All of this and more can be found on our website:

Becoming an ”Elder”
Date: June 29th
Time: 9:00am—4pm
Leader: Sr. Celeste Crine, OSF
Cost: $55-85 sliding scale
Be the much needed example of today’s increasing population of 60+years. As we move into our wisdom years, we can slide into becoming a ‘retired senior’ or consciously choose to live our life in its fullness. Regardless of physical, mental or health changes our conscious choices make a difference. Join with others, seeking a deeper meaning during this time of life. Consider some stepping stones and practices that guide us in our ongoing life. Through presentation, reflection and sharing, you will discover the meaning of becoming a Contemplative Elder in today’s society.

Franciscan Renewal Center
5802 E. Lincoln Dr.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Make the Franciscan Renewal Center a part of your sabbatical. Spend time in an atmosphere of quiet beauty and a space to develop a stronger sense of spiritual self-awareness and consciousness. Rest and take time for reflection; create your own program from our many workshops, courses and retreats. We are happy to offer you a wide variety of options to nourish your mind, body and spirit. Call 480.948.7460 to plan your stay.


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