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Germany: Fraternal Visits

During the last two weeks of November, 2017, Friar Bernhardin M. SEITHER, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany, visited four of the Province’s five friaries.

The Minister Provincial visited the friaries at Cologne, Maria Eck, Schönau and Schwarzenberg. At each location, he took time to speak to individual friars and participate in a friary house chapter—or at least a community meeting. His meetings with individual friars at the friary in Würzburg are yet to occur. However, so far, the friars seem content with their personal situation and the overall status of the Province.
These visits were conducted after the first half of the current four-year term, as a means to strengthen the bonds between the friars and their Province and to give the Provincial government a deeper understanding of the current status of the friaries.
During the last two years, a major effort has been underway to give the friars more chances to meet each other at other friaries. At the last Provincial Chapter, it was decided that all friars under the age of sixty-five would be obliged to spend about a week at another friary as a kind of “missionary experience”. So far, the feedback has been very positive about this decision. Last summer, good number of friars took part in a five-day trip to Poland. Besides visiting Cracow and Harmęże, they also went to the famous shrine of Częstochowa. Last October, the German Province conducted a big event; it convened a Chapter of Mats and invited the friars of the four Provinces (three Polish Provinces and the Province of Romania) who live and work in Germany, in their own friaries. Despite the Jurisdictional questions, which remain somewhat vague–the atmosphere among the friars was very enjoyable and the relationships were quite deep after so many years of mission together as Conventual Franciscans in Germany.

Friar Andreas MURK, Provincial Secretary

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