Living in uncertainty is challenging for all of us. Uncertainty teaches us to live in the present moment, awaiting each day to see where we are led and how we can be of service. This is the trust we give to one another each day. This is the new normal for all of us.
In the milieu of the Coronavirus there has been significant uncertainty about when or whether the Franciscan Spiritual Center could open safely. There has been little hope that a vaccine would be ready before January 2021. Complicating this timeline is a strategic plan by the congregation to sell the motherhouse property. Congregational leadership has made the difficult decision that the Franciscan Spiritual Center building should not be used. Clare House and the Hermitages will remain open. Spiritual Direction will continue to be offered and the website will continue.
We have loved our ministry immensely and given our all. We would do anything we could to keep it alive but it is not possible at this time. Our grief over this decision is enormous. You have been family to us for more than 20 years. Your precious presence and the love and trust you have given us has blessed each of us in ways that you cannot even imagine. You have touched our employees and our sisters deeply. We have been mutually blessed by one another. You have enabled us to live out our mission in the most rewarding and tender of ways.
As we reflect on our life’s journey at the Franciscan Spiritual Center, we identify, remember and reverence each of you, who have journeyed with us. This journey has been filled with years of grace, growth, loving relationships and many blessings. Goodbyes are as much a part of life as the seasons of the year. The word goodbye–originally “God be with you” or “Go with God” – was a recognition that God was a significant part of the going. Praying “Goodbye” was a blessing of love. Anything that brings God-ness or Goodness into our lives is a blessing (adapted from Praying Our Goodbyes by Joyce Rupp OSM).
You have blessed us in countless ways. May you know the sacred and holy that is a part of you. You have loved us. You have shared our life journey. You not only made us more human, but blessed. You have become a part of us. We are nourished by you and in some way, we are a sum total of all of you who have shared life with us.
Thank you for the beauty of your lives and for deeply touching our lives. “You are ever a part of our lives. All the GOOD you have done will live on in our hearts.” (from The Thanksgiving Song, Weston Priory). Our prime gift at the Spiritual center is HOSPITALITY which is difficult to provide virtually. We live in and with HOPE as we transition into virtual experiences and identify new ways of providing our spiritual ministries. We trust in God’s word from Revelations 21:5: “Behold I make all things NEW”. Stay tuned to our website as we await this NEWNESS to unfold.
As God allows us, we desire to set aside a time in the future to celebrate the time that we had together as the Franciscan Spiritual Center. We hope when we are able you will be a part of helping us celebrate life together.
The one thing we know is that our God is making many house-calls these days. As our God visits each of you, may you be reminded of our love and how much we miss you. Life is not the same without you. But living with uncertainty in this present moment is our best trusting response to you, to our world and to our God. May we do it with grace, trust, and deep love.
Your Sisters at the Franciscan Spiritual Center,
Christa Marie Thompson, Marie Angela Presenza, Clare D’Auria, Helen Budzik, Mary Walsh, Jean Ustasiewski, Jeanne Nisley, Julia Keegan, Margaret O’Brien