Portiuncula - Related Content

Doorways to celebration

Thursday, August 4th 2016 12:12 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


Like an ice cream cone in the sunshine the days of summer continue to melt, one after the other. It’s already the beginning of August and time teeters in the remaining liminal space of the season before we enter into the coolness of autumn.  

This week the FSPA community is celebrating two historical threshold crossings: 138 years of perpetual adoration and the 800th anniversary of the Feast of Pardon. Both events are guideposts and require faithfulness, perseverance, humility, conversion and the willingness to take the next step through the doorways of life. 


Sister Gertrude Daugherty rings in 138 years of FSPA perpetual adoration

Rejoicing in the 138th anniversary of FSPA perpetual adoration we are reminded of the very breath that sustains our congregation. Adoration is a holy exchange of the breathing of prayer and movement outward in ministry. Each year we renew the promise of perpetual adoration as we follow the legacy begun by Mother Antonia Herb. 

Eight hundred years ago in Assisi, Italy, long before our congregation came into existence, St. Francis procured from the pope pardon of sins for all who passed over the threshold of the church of Portiuncula. As pilgrimages were difficult and very expensive at that time such absolution extended to all Franciscan churches throughout the world, inviting focus of one’s heart not limited to those who could afford to take a journey. As a Franciscan congregation we invite that forgiveness through the doors of Mary of the Angels Chapel on August 2, the Feast of Portiuncula, every year. 


A Portiuncula procession into Mary of the Angels Chapel

And so this past Sunday, reflecting in the silence of our hearts, we processed to the chapel doorway in St. Rose Convent. The heavy, gilded doors swung open and with joy and song we stepped through them. We reveled in the deepening of our relationship with God and our commitment to this Franciscan way of life.  


Celebrating the Feast of the Pardon, FSPA process into Mary of the Angels Chapel 

Are you aware of thresholds—those symbolic of love and acceptance and forgiveness—in your life? Are you ready, in discernment, to cross them? How will you celebrate the deepening of your relationship with God in these moments?


Listening, exploring and discerning like Francis

Friday, October 4th 2019 10:00 am
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA


"God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration ..."


Icon of St. Francis of Assisi by Sister Maryam Gossling

Today’s Gospel acclamation, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart,” is timely as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. 

If you are familiar with the life of St. Francis of Assisi, you may recall that while he was out one day, roaming the countryside near Assisi, Italy, he stopped at a church to pray. Praying before the San Damiano Cross in a deteriorating church — Portiuncula — Francis heard God say to him “rebuild my church ...” 

After hearing these words, Francis had to decide whether or not he was going to listen to the request. It took him a while to figure out what exactly those powerful words meant. He didn’t understand what God was asking of him. Thinking it was a literal task, he gathered stones to rebuild by hand the crumbling chapel. In time, Francis realized the call was much deeper. His search for clarity led to conversations with his family, friends, the bishop, the pope, the local mayor, and many others. Men saw his joy and flocked to join his way of life, a pathway that lead to the establishment of a new religious community with a new rule of life approved by the pope. It all began with a few words he heard in prayer, his inclination to trust God and to begin searching. Francis was by no means perfect: he made mistakes and learned throughout his life journey. Conversion is one of the values of Franciscan tradition!

Like Francis, you may receive inspiration or a call from God in prayer. Moving from the idea of discernment to actually living into it requires motivation to discover its true meaning. For example, feeling called to religious life offers much to explore throughout religious communities: evangelical, apostolic or monastic orders, Franciscan, Dominican, Benedictine spirituality (among others), geographical locations and ministerial opportunities. Simultaneously delving into your own gifts and talents helps to discover where you feel a connection. The opinions of family and friends also provide fodder for reflection. Each new discovery leads to next steps and bigger questions. 

No matter where discernment takes you, carry today’s Gospel acclamation, Psalm 95:8, as you journey forth: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” God will be with you each step of the journey to guide, to listen and to offer continual inspiration, no matter where the exploration leads.  

Are you willing to listen and explore?

Are you discerning religious life? Walking with someone who is? We invite you to share this link, www.fspa.org/showmeasign, and join the conversation.

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