800 Years Radiant: Franciscan Night Shines at Rotary Lights in Celebration of Nativity Tradition

12/13/2023 11:43 am

In celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Nativity tradition begun by St. Francis of Assisi in Greccio, Italy, collaborative efforts between the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the Franciscan Spirituality Center, Viterbo University and Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, invite us to festive joy. The tradition, rooted in St. Francis’ desire for a simple and visceral nativity scene, has a global resonance. 

La Crosse Tribune captured many elements of the celebration in the article, "Campus Connection: Nativity scenes salute 800th anniversary of Christmas at Greccio."

In the Tribune story, Sister Laura Nettles shares her sincere inspiration from visiting Greccio numerous times. She highlights the significance of the Incarnation for Franciscans, expressing that there is a unique significance in being present in the same places St. Francis once walked, making his narrative come to life. 

Franciscan Night at La Crosse's Rotary Lights took place on Dec. 10, featuring a performance in the ice castle, crèche wooden ornament distribution and presentations of St. Francis and St. Clare. FSPA Director of Affiliation Michael Krueger, who portrayed St. Francis at Rotary Lights, was joined by FSPA Affiliate Cindy Sjolander portraying St. Clare. Affiliates Priamo and Meg Paulino also took a shift, embodying the saints at the event. This collective portrayal added depth and authenticity to the festivities, embodying the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare within the celebration of the nativity tradition. 

And Sister Marlene Weissenbeck's work on the FSC community nativity scene mural, "For Unto Us a Child is Born," also part of the crèche anniversary celebrations, is featured in the article as well .

For more on the 800th anniversary, including celebratory events yet to come, visit fspa.org.

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