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Franciscan Ministry Gives Back to Cincinnati

A ministry of St. John the Baptist Province, OFM, St. Francis Seraph Ministries serves those in need in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. From their website: “We believe every member of the Over-the-Rhine community has the right to enjoy the benefits of good health, prosperity, and well-being and has the capacity to contribute positively to the neighborhood. Through compassion, collaboration, and community building, we provide programs designed to achieve this vision.”
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Franciscans Reach Out to Detroit’s Downtrodden

St. Aloysius Community Center had its beginning with the arrival of the Franciscan friars of St. John the Baptist Province in 1992. Encouraged by Archbishop Vigneron, the Friars are dedicated to following Jesus by living and working among the poor through the community of St. Aloysius Parish. We are situated in a widely diverse area of downtown Detroit. We work with all of the people in the neighborhood to address needs of companionship, food, clothing, and emergency shelter. We also focus on the critical needs of the tenants of many low-income housing buildings in the area. Our parish nurse works to address health and wholeness issues within our community-at-large. After the closing of our Community Center a few years ago, we are now attempting to provide all of these services in a smaller fashion—on the streets and in the community housing areas. This ad gentes style of ministry means we are now more focused on going to the people, rather than them coming to us.
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Poverty and Peace: Saint Francis' Legacies

Francis understood Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper at a very deep level. He did not need encouragement to be a servant leader; no other way of leading would have made sense to him. Not everyone in the brotherhood came to that conclusion as quickly as he did, but he patiently led them to accept the Lord’s style of servant leadership. Before he got off his horse one day and embraced a leper as a brother in Christ, Saint Francis probably had thrown a few coins to lepers from a very safe distance. Bonaventure later wrote that Francis’s service to God began with a victory over himself. In fact, this incident helped Francis to see that what he had previously regarded as very bitter was, in fact, truly sweet.
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Thanksgiving Day

“What are you thankful for?” That question triggers reflection on this national holiday. I allow events of the past to run through my mind and I invite you to do the same.
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Inspiration for Authentically Beautiful Women

Today’s article is the 4th in a series. In this one we’ve turned the tables on author Lisa Mladnich to ask her which resources she's found most powerful in her own spiritual journey. Lisa’s response is a nice list of books, apps and online resources. Growing in authentic beauty is a life-long process, which is why mature women have an edge! Persevering over time, the intimate connection with Christ in our souls deepens, increasing our authentic beauty and making it more impactful in the world.
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All Things New: Taking Stock and Moving Forward

When I review my own life, I vividly recall periods that seemed like a lot of senseless struggle at the time, but which God later used for his own sweet purposes. As a young actress, I experienced what a lot of naive and desperate “wannabes” discover, as they struggle to make their way in the world of showbiz: moments of glory flecked into oceans of disappointment and failure. I spent many years failing to build an acting career that would pay my bills and grant me some standing in the artistic community.
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Are We Better Catechists & Evangelists as We Age?

The short answer is "it depends." But for prayerful Catholics who persevere in cultivating a relationship with God, over time, the answer is a resounding YES. First, the most radiant witness is someone in love with God. That soul connection with Christ magnetizes our personalities and fast-tracks our growth in virtue. As our souls are increasingly conformed to Christ, our ability to lead, nurture, and inspire the faith of others explodes. And in a critical sense, this empowerment all comes down to obedience.
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Joan Chittister: Follow Your Joy!

Our guest blogger today is Sharon Cross. Employed at Franciscan Media since 1997, Sharon’s current role as a project manager with the Emerging Media team alternates between producing audio books, managing the Catholic Greetings e-card website, and overseeing Franciscan Media’s online and over-the-air audio features. I have had the privilege and pleasure to both meet and work with someone whom I consider to be a wisdom figure: Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister. Our most recent meeting was to record the audiobook version of In God’s Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics. Near the end of chapter twelve, Joan recounts the following fable from the Scripture of Nature:
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Breathing Under Water: Day 5

Each in our own way, we are all breathing, or trying to breathe, while not recognizing that we are first of all “underwater”—under the water of our own untested assumptions, our cultural blindness, the compulsive neurological responses often inherited from family and childhood, our early wounding (which somehow seems to be universal), and the narcissism of our own egoic responses to almost everything, including most especially our learned defenses to that early wounding—which are almost entirely unconscious and well-practiced by now.
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Breathing Under Water: Day 4

Breathing Lessons: O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Read Psalm 139 slowly and prayerfully. Write about your feelings at being known so intimately by God. Ongoing shadow boxing is absolutely necessary because we all have a well-denied shadow self. We all have that which we cannot see, will not see, dare not see. It would destroy our public and personal self-image.
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