On June 17-22, 2022, the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania conducted a Spiritual Chapter at the Sf. Francisc de Assisi Friary in Roman, Romania. To better logistically manage the Chapter, due to the large size of the Province, the Chapter was divided into two parts. The first part was celebrated June 17-18 and the second, June 21-22.
Despite so many friars of the Province being scattered around the world, the number of participants was quite high. Even those far-off confreres, who for obviously valid reasons were unable to participate in the Chapter, remained nearby, through their prayer, fraternal affection and their curiosity to know how the event went.
Friar Guglielmo SPIRITO was the speaker at the Chapter. He came from Assisi to joyfully and enthusiastically share some of his spiritual and fraternal experience. We offer him our heartfelt thanks for this! He began his lectures by first talking about St. Joseph, the patron saint of our Province. He inspired us to reflect on our personal and communal identity, and the way we live fraternity. He was convinced that St. Joseph looks upon his chosen Province with kindness, that indeed, St. Joseph chose our Province in order to place it under his protection. He looks after our Jurisdiction as he looked after Jesus. As Jesus grew under the gaze of St. Joseph, so too, are we inspired to make a leap of qualitative growth under the gaze of our beloved patron.
Thus, Friar Guglielmo invited us to seriously reflect on the path we have taken since we joined the Order until now. The reflection was to make us more aware of who we are and where we are now, on the path of our qualitative maturation. St. Joseph’s gaze rests on each of us; he regards us as his own through his Son. How do we feel? Do we truly experience the fatherhood of our patron, beyond that of God and our founder St. Francis? Do we feel that we are children in the Son we follow, or do we feel abandoned? Friar Guglielmo said we should put more faith in St. Joseph; he carries us in his arms with our frailties and our vulnerability; he patiently waits for us and guides us in our growth.
In a time where fatherhood seems to be in short supply, we need to rediscover the fatherhood of God, St. Francis and St. Joseph. Such a rediscovery should lead us toward a deeper sense of sonship and spur us on to grow toward effective spiritual fatherhood.
Friar Guglielmo’s ideas, and the questions he posed for personal reflection, received a lot of positive feedback in our group and community discussions. One of the benefits of this Spiritual Chapter was a greater awareness of the place that St. Joseph occupies in the life of the Province and in every friar, in the rediscovery of our identity, namely, of being beloved sons in the Son, and brothers, looked upon with love and benevolence.
During the second part of the Chapter, the friars were able to witness the fruits of the Province’s recent history as several fine friars celebrated their 25th anniversary of priesthood. We thank the Lord for this Chapter and for all the gifts that He gives to the Province. Moreover, we implore His divine blessing, through the intercession of our patron, St. Joseph, upon each friar and the whole Province. Peace and All Good!
Friar Lucian HORLESCU