It’s October 15, 2022, about 1:45pm Eastern time, and I have been elected National Minister of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States (OFS-USA) by a majority vote of the members of the OFS-USA Fraternity Council at our Chapter in Detroit, Michigan. ... I have been integrating my first vocation (marriage to Brian Bamman – 32 years) with my second vocation (OFS – 27 years) for most of our married life. My husband is a “Fourth Order” Franciscan. Service as the National Secretary was a privilege and honor, but also took up quite a bit of time, so I was ready for a break. Brian and I prayed about it and discerned that it was ok to take my name off the nominations list. What a relief! ...
Maybe the celebration of "Hispanic Heritage Month" can help all of us think a bit more about inclusivity --- and ask ourselves are we doing enough in our fraternities to be inclusive? How can we bridge that language gap? How can we be more inclusive?
I will never forget my 50th birthday. My daughter, aware of the significance of this 50-year mark, made a sign that she hung on my mailbox. It simply said, “It’s Jan’s Jubilee!” I still have that sign. It now hangs on a wall in my garage as an important reminder to always turn to God, where I find joy and peace beyond all I could ask or imagine. It was not my idea that the theme of the 2022 Quinquennial Congress would be “Jubilee,” but when Br. Bob Brady, OFM, suggested it, I was thrilled. ...
A little over a year ago, my daughter and I stopped at the “Little Church”, one of my favorite places of prayer. We prayed together before heading to the hospital for my surgery that day. It’s been quite a year since then, with many months of chemo. ... I reflect on all this because I am far from alone in having had to face trials this past year. As I prepared for this talk, it occurred to me that the State of our Order depends to a great deal on the state of each of us. We have all been through a lot. Health issues, isolation, job losses, and drastic changes in our lives, not to mention natural disasters, political divides, and social unrest. ... This pandemic has affected each of us, and it has affected our Order as well. ... So, what do we do when fears and worries surround us? We continue to pray. And we listen for God’s voice. [...]
Whether you are a friend of the Order, new to the Order, an inquirer, or a Spiritual Assistant, the Q is for you. Everyone is welcome, and you do not have to be a Franciscan to attend. Please, prayerfully ask yourself if God is calling you to the Q.
Three years ago, I made a Visitation to Tau Cross Regional Fraternity. Something happened during that visit that made quite an impact, and I have remembered it ever since. Our ongoing formation topic that day was the OFS Rule. I was interested in what the Rule meant to those gathered, so I handed out blank postcards and asked everyone to write down three words – just three words – to describe the Rule. ...
When Mike and Michelle moved in across the street two years ago, I welcomed them to the neighborhood. Since then, we take time to chat when we see each other outside. Last fall, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I let my neighbors know that I would be away a few weeks, as I would be recovering from surgery at my son’s house.
In a time when we often feel that we are weak, it is very much encouraging that the Holy Spirit wants to fill us with power.
“You cannot quarantine the Holy Spirit” she said. “In spite of the pandemic and all the upheaval, the work of prayer, peacemaking and building up of the Kingdom has continued in a thousand beautiful ways... We are moving forward in new ways, responding in faith to the signs of the times.”
As Clare once said to Agnes, “Let us be filled with a remarkable happiness and a spiritual joy!” It is an exciting time for Franciscans as, one after another, God’s gifts to the Franciscan Order just keep coming!