The friars of the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) and the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria) together with the laity who collaborate with the confreres, conducted their annual, joint continuing formation meeting in two rounds: April 18-20 and April 21 -23, 2023. Both rounds took place at the Madonnina del Lago Franciscan Oasis in Peruse (Sicily) Italy.
The theme of the meeting was “Francis of Assisi: In Praise of Fragility.” The meetings were led by Friar Felice AUTIERI who currently resides at the Sacred Convent in Assisi. Friar Felice is a professor of Church History at the Theological Faculty of Naples and a professor of the History of Franciscanism at the Theological Institute of Assisi. Friar Felice engagingly retraced the life of our Seraphic Father St. Francis, the events of the early Order, and the steps that were necessary for the approval of the Rule eight hundred years ago. He spoke about the relational world of St. Francis and his earliest friar companions, as well as the women that were close to him, especially St. Clare and Bl. Jacoba of Settesoli. Friar Felice presented his material from a historical perspective, which allowed the participants to make comparisons with current situations. He pointed out that fragility provides an opportunity for growth and is the condition through which God’s grace operates.
There was much food for thought, and as one might expect, the participants responded in an equally engaging way asking questions and making requests for further clarification. The friars all agreed that this formation course was truly enriching. Moreover, they agreed that the various Franciscan centenaries we are celebrating have real value, not only in terms of learning more about St. Francis, but also for learning more about the many who followed him by embracing his charism and enriching it.
The days spent at the marvelous Franciscan Oasis, surrounded by nature with its stunning panoramas, the view of Mount Etna and Lake Pergusa, certainly added to the beauty of the event. The fraternal atmosphere among the friars created a great sense of family and gave the friars an opportunity to learn more about each other.
Some particularly joyful moments include: the celebration of the 60th anniversary of priestly ordination of Friar Fedele FIASCONARO (March 30); the 28th anniversary of priestly ordination of Brother Xavier BENENATI (April 22), and the name day of Friar Giorgio TASSONE, Custos of Calabria (April 23).
We are grateful to the Lord for the gift of this time spent in the spirit of fraternal communion and we thank Him for continuing to speak to our lives through his servant Francis of Assisi.
Friar Rosario TERRANOVA, Provincial Secretary