Celebrating 'a gift to our community' in Spokane
New affiliate Brian Schilke and his wife Jane
In early October, several members of the FSPA community gathered in Spokane, Washington, for the celebration of Brian Schilke, one of eight new affiliates.
FSPA Director of Affiliation Beth Allen was present and shares the joy of the experience that honored Brian’s dedication to Franciscan spirituality and community. “The sisters and affiliates in Spokane invited me to visit them. They find it very meaningful to make connections between our regions. I agree!” shares Beth. “We had a wonderful time building relationships, praying, reflecting and learning about each other’s ministries.”
The commitment ceremony and celebration took place at the home of Sisters Sharon Bongiorno, Betty Bradley and Kathy Roberg. Affiliates Lola Burge and Pam Small and Brian’s wife, Jane, were also present. Sister Kathy is Brian’s companion and praises him for his “Franciscan humility, simple lifestyle and openness to listening to the inspiration of the Spirit … all flavored with a twinkle of humor. Brian is a gift to our community.”
Brian echoes Sister Kathy’s sentiment. “Thank God for the good sisters, giving me this joyous gift of allowing me to participate in perpetual adoration with them as an affiliate. I am so happy, because now I feel more in community with them when I pray. Thank you sisters. Thank you all!”
Of the FSPA community and the ministries they serve in Spokane — the spiritual collaboration, sacred relationships and Gospel living shared there — Beth says that “the sisters consider affiliates to be vital.” During her visit, they also gathered to celebrate affiliate Bill Woods, who recently passed away. “To honor him, we decided to go to dinner at his favorite restaurant and share the stories of how we first came to know FSPA. As I was listening to everyone share their sacred journeys, I felt as if I was visiting a close family over a holiday meal. These sisters and affiliates are grounded by their faith and relationships with one another.”