Student Friars Reflect on Commitment

HNP Communications Friar News

DANVILLE, Calif. — Province friars Lawrence Anderson, OFM, Fred Dilger, OFM, and Juan de la Cruz Turcios, OFM, recently took part in a solemn vows retreat sponsored by the OFM English-speaking Conference here. 

Held at the San Damiano Retreat Center from June 28 to July 25, the event brought together 10 friars from OFM provinces throughout the United States, Croatia and Canada. The 30-day retreat gave friars who are nearing the completion of their initial formation time to reflect on their decision to commit themselves to the Order. They considered the gift and the responsibility of an OFM way of life.

Francis Di Spigno, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., the Province’s director of post-novitiate formation, and Thomas Hartle, OFM, of Butler, N.J., who frequently gives retreats, were guardians for the retreat. Thomas also served as spiritual director. Retreat masters from the Province were Robert Lentz, OFM, and Thomas.

The retreat created an atmosphere of prayer, devotion, fraternal sharing, encouragement and challenge to foster a whole-hearted response to vowed life. Solitude, rest and prayer were encouraged as a welcome change to busy schedules. 

The retreat had three components: listening, awareness and reflecting. During the listening phase, the group read Engaged Spirituality by Joseph Nangle, OFM, published in 2008.

During the awareness phase, called “Christianity and Aesthetics,” Robert helped participants explore the presence of beauty — a central value in Franciscan spirituality. 

The reflection portion allowed participants to work with spiritual directors Thomas and Sr. Doris Gerke, OSC. 

The retreat was structured in a way that participants could live in the “spirit of prayer and devotion” (Cf. Rule 1223, 5:2) and reflect on the solemn profession of vows to a Franciscan way of life. It has been an inter-provincial and inter-obediential collaborative ministry for almost 15 years, Francis said.

The gathering closed with Mass on July 24. Lawrence, Fred and Juan will profess solemn vows Aug. 22 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City.