Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Franciscan Saints: Franz Jägerstätter

Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant and devout Catholic, was executed for refusing to serve in Hitler’s army.

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And (Equal) Justice for All

I’ll never forget watching news footage in late 2014 as Robert P. McCulloch, prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County, Missouri, announced that the grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown Jr., 18, the previous August in Ferguson. And like many, I suspect, I was conflicted.

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St. Francis and Pope Francis: Our Environmental Teachers

I’ve read several reviews of Mariel Hemingway’s memoir, Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family. One of her strategies for steering clear of the tragedies that plagued her family and maintaining a balanced, healthy life struck me as a practice that would benefit many of us. Her strategy is spending as much time in nature as she can. She hikes, bikes, swims, and enjoys being outdoors. It may seem like a small point, but the benefits can be great.

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Humility and Truth: A Conversation with Wendell Berry

As I wrote my book, Wendell Berry and the Given Life, there were many questions that came as I reflected on his work. Some were answered in continued reading, but others still lingered. With paper and a postal stamp, using his preferred mode of communication, I sent Berry six questions whose answers I thought would be helpful for readers to move from reading into the practice of creatureliness.

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Followers of Saint Francis: Making Right with God and Nature

The rugged beauty of the windswept Maine coastline instilled a keen sense of care for creation in Benjamin Vail, OFS. Growing up in Brunswick, Maine, Vail says he found himself “surrounded by the ocean, forests, and farmland.”

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The Realities of Resurrection

Christ is risen! It is the Easter season and, at least in the temperate climes of the Northern Hemisphere, signs of resurrection are everywhere. Flowers bloom, trees leaf out, birds sing: the green world awakens once again.

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The Sacrament of Baptism: A Good Place to Start

We commonly say that the sacraments are signs that effect what they signify. That’s a fancy way of saying that they do what they say they do. When we pray the words—and do the prescribed actions using the appropriate objects—we bring about a promised result. Sounds kind of like magic, but it isn’t a question of magic, but of faith, since the “automatic” aspect of the sacrament is the promise of Jesus to do something wonderful in our lives. This presumes a certain integrity or truthfulness in the sacraments.

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