Franciscan Friars of Renewal minister on campus, talk on Franciscan charism

Photo by Mary-Grace Byers

Theresa Balick

Staff Writer

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) ministered at Franciscan University of Steubenville by presenting a series of talks Thursday, Friday and Saturday to students in the Fireside Lounge in addition to their presence on campus.

“There’s a charism at work … at this university,” the Rev. Gabriel Emmanuel Monahan, CFR, said in a talk Saturday. “There are particular graces available for you as students.”

Monahan gave the final talk Saturday at 10 a.m. to around 15 students. He said there are three important moments in the life of St. Francis of Assisi that define the Franciscan charism and can teach students to more fully live out their academic vocation.

Monahan said the first monumental moment of Francis’s life was when he encountered a leper. Monahan related this moment to his own life by telling a story about a sickly woman in Honduras who taught him how to be a son of Mary. He said that people who are not naturally attractive are often those that can teach the deepest lessons about God.

“Who … on campus am I interiorly not drawn to, and is the Lord inviting me to recognize what is bitter and go there?” Monahan asked. “That’s going to be a transformation of my own heart because I’m doing something that I’m not drawn to on a human level.”

Monahan said that Francis’s Portiuncula chapel in Assisi proves it is important for students to use their hands to glorify God in practical tasks other than schoolwork, such as baking bread or planting a garden.

Finally, Monahan said to live out the vocation of a college student while also discerning for the future, whether that discernment be about vocations, majors or service.

“If I’m looking at discernment, whatever that is,” Monahan said, “I’ve got to pay attention to what brings my heart to life.”

Sophomore Abigail Hanson said that she loved the way Monahan applied Francis’s life to the students.

“Sometimes (at) Franciscan … (we) can lose the charism that we have as students,” Hanson said. “It was a very needed reminder for me at least … especially in discernment of vocation.”

The Rev. Angelus Montgomery, CFR, gave two talks Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m on the importance of intimacy with Christ being the focus of the spiritual life. Both talks were in the Fireside Lounge.

The Rev. Gabriel Mary Bakkar, CFR, spoke to participants of Missions of Peace on the Ignatian discernment of spirits Friday morning. The CFRs also offered a holy hour for Missions of Peace Friday evening.

The CFRs’ visit was sponsored by the Missionary Outreach office at Franciscan University.

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