Florida Friar Shares Concern for Allegany Sisters’ Franciscan Center

Roy Gasnick, OFM Friar News

The following report was submitted by a friar who wishes to update newsletter readers about the financial needs of a 40-year-old retreat house on the west coast of Florida.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Holy Name Province has been closely associated with the Franciscan Center, run by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, in Tampa, Fla., since it opened in 1970. The Province has supplied friar priests as chaplain retreat associates for almost the whole time of its existence, ceasing in the early 1990s.

Some mighty fine friars assisted there over the years including Seraphim Sullivan, OFM, Jim Jones, OFM, Jim Haggerty, OFM, Bill Bried, OFM,Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, and others who helped out in various other unique programs either as retreat directors or on various “as needed” programs. These included Donon McGovern, OFM, Stephen Doyle, OFM, Justin Bailey, OFM,Thomas Hartle, OFM, Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, John Anglin, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, Emmet Murphy, OFM, and myself among others. Currently Andrew Reitz, OFM, is chair of the Franciscan Center’s board of directors.

royAfter Vatican II, the Franciscan Center truly became a national center for Franciscans with its annual “Franciscan Gathering” for Franciscans of all branches of the family to explore and debate one or more facets of the retrieval of the original Franciscan charism. Those were indeed exciting and challenging days, both for the Center and our Province.

But the Tampa Franciscan Center now faces some difficult times. Sr. Catherine Cahill, OSF, writes in her current fundraising letter: “Now, more than ever, we need your help. While our fees are kept low, the economy in Florida has taken its toll on the Center. It is a time when the Franciscan Sisters and the Board are looking seriously at the future of the Center.”

Let us Friars Minors not forget how much the Allegany Franciscan Sisters have done for us ever since we assisted in their founding at St. Bonaventure University, then-College, in Allegany and especially those daunting sisters in Tampa who helped us to come to grips with some of the basic elements of Franciscan renewal after Vatican II.

Sr. Catherine can be reached at: 3010 North Perry St., Tampa, FL, 33603-5345.

— Fr. Roy, a resident of St. Anthony of Friary in St. Petersburg, is a former instructor at St. Bonaventure University. He was communications director of the Province from 1969 to 1985.