On May 13-14, 2023, after a bit of a wait, and some understandable anticipation, the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, finally paid a visit to the Monastery of Montone, in the Italian Province of Perugia. The community had long been expecting his visit, at which time he would, as a brother and father, listen to and share the joys and hardships of our community journey, a journey, which in recent days, has certainly been full of plans, hopes and wishes.
Ever since Friar Carlos began his term as the head of the Order, he has been an eloquent and almost decisive voice for our monastic community, during the many steps the Lord has called us to take. He has stood by the sisters from the start, believing that weakness is not an obstacle to the Lord’s plans, mindful that “my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
On Saturday afternoon, Friar Carlos calmly and attentively listened to what the sisters wanted to say. He accepted their proposals and ideas, unafraid of the work that might lie ahead, and confident of the charismatic unity that binds the friars to the Poor Clares. He assured them of his presence and support.
After dinner, Friar Carlos, attended by his personal secretary, Friar Silvano BIANCO, talked about the ups and downs of the Order around the world. He spoke about the wonderful and enthusiastic vocations flowering in Asia as well as the declining numbers in Europe and the West. This decline has led to some downsizing and closures, but it has also allowed new and sometimes prophetic experiences to blossom. He talked about the nameless friars throughout the Order who are scented with the perfume of holiness, friars who have suffered sudden illness with faith and acceptance, and friars who have put their own lives at risk, persevering in solitude or living under persecution.
On Sunday, Friar Carlos presided over the morning Mass. Friar Silvano concelebrated. In his homily, Friar Carlos talked about the meaning of the Easter season, which is a time of gathering the harvest. He pointed out that the greatest gift of this sacred time is the descent of the Holy Spirit. “The real fruit is not what we accomplish,” he said, “it is the Holy Spirit, and what He can do in us.”
At the end of the Mass, Friar Carlos blessed some icons of the Holy Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. Francis and St. Clare. The sisters created the icons for the church of the St. Francis Friary, which belongs to our friars in Zahale, Lebanon.
Later that morning, the Minister General listened to more of what the sisters wanted to say. His visit concluded with a hearty and fraternal lunch.
The sisters promised to pray for Friar Carlos and his General Definitors, with the hope that the common ground and charismatic communion between our Orders will continue to grow, to the praise and glory of the Kingdom of the Lord!
Poor Clares of Montone