BURLINGTON, Wis. — This weekend, Abraham Joseph, OFM, professed his first vows as a Franciscan alongside two of his brothers in the novitiate chapel at St. Francis Friary.
Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, received Abraham’s vows on Aug. 2, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula. During the ceremony, each novice resolved to live in chastity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, embrace voluntary poverty and offer the sacrifice of obedience. Following his provincial’s acceptance in the name of the brotherhood, each newly professed friar received a knotted cord and signed the Book of Life.
Abraham was one of three novices from North American provinces to make his simple profession this weekend. The other friars were Br. Maxwell Klug, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province, and Br. James Seiffert, OFM, of St. Barbara Province.
“My experience in the novitiate helped me deepen my faith and my understanding of Franciscan spirituality,” Abraham said. “It prepared me very well to freely consecrate my life to the service of God’s kingdom.”
Abraham, who was baptized two weeks after his birth, credits his mother with sharing the Catholic faith with him.
“As an adult, I looked more profoundly into the teaching of the Church and the Word of Christ. Consequently, I committed myself to live my Christian faith seriously,” said the Haiti native of his vocation. “Making profession is one more step toward reaching the strongest desire of my heart, to imitate Jesus Christ the way St. Francis did.”
He thanked the friars of Holy Name Province for their support throughout his formation thus far.
“One of the greatest things that I have in my life now is the love and support of my brothers from Holy Name Province,” he said. “They made me feel welcomed. The brotherhood is genuine and delightful.”
In addition to Scott Brookbank, OFM, guardian of St. Francis Friary, other Holy Name Province friars in attendance included Provincial Councilors David Convertino, OFM, and Fred Dilger, OFM, as well as former Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and vocation director Brian Smail, OFM. Also there was Fr. Sergiusz Baldyga, OFM, general assistant for formation at the OFM Curia. Some 50 guests were present overall. Many friars from other English-speaking Conference provinces attended, because they were in the area for the interprovincial meeting taking place from Aug. 3 to 6 in Racine, Wis., less than an hour from the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate.
“We also had good attendance from the retired friars of Queen of Peace Friary, Assumption Province’s retirement home on the property,” said Scott. “Ten retired friars attended.”
Following his profession, Abraham is taking a brief vacation before moving to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., to begin studies at The Catholic University of America.
The novitiate will welcome the next class of novices — including Daniel Beckham, Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, Abel Garcia and Christian Seno — on Aug. 15.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.