As my time here at St. Bonaventure University quickly draws to a close, the things I will cherish most are the new friendships I formed in the past few weeks. Apart from spending more time with my OFM Brothers, who will be joining me in the Novitiate next month, I’ve met some other truly wonderful Brothers and Sisters from the other branches of the Franciscan family tree.
I was so happy to study, recreate, reflect, and pray with women religious, particularly my Franciscan Sisters (both Poor Clares and Third Order), whose daily living of the Gospel, each in their own unique ways, inspire me to live out my own call for the Evangelical life. In her Rule, St. Clare gives us a passage from St. Francis in which the latter saint promises to provide, materially and spiritually, for the cloistered community at San Damiano:
“Because by divine inspiration you have made yourselves daughters and servants of the most High King, the heavenly Father, and have taken the Holy Spirit as your spouse, choosing to live according to the perfection of the Holy Gospel, I resolve and promise for myself and for my brothers always to have that same loving care and special solicitude for you as I have for them.” (RCl 6:3-4)
And yet, whenever I see our Sisters, I am the one who consistently feels loved, cared for, and nourished by their prayers and concern. I feel especially blessed to have met three Poor Clare Sisters from the Philippines, whose joyous laughter and constant kind words encouraged and motivated me to persevere in my vocation. The Filipino Poor Clares introduced and welcomed my Brothers and me to the Filipino community here in Olean; and through their generosity and kindness, we were able to share in our universal fraternity and in the joy of table fellowship. I am truly blessed to be given such wonderful Sisters!