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A Look At Communication from the Perspective of a Secular Franciscan
Living in the 21st Century
Don Grant ofs

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OVERVIEW - The means by which people share information today has changed considerably since the time of St. Francis. Social media websites and applications allow users to create and exchange user-generated content on the Internet. In the 21st century, the worldwide Franciscan family is making effective use of social media to communicate information about the Franciscan way of life. Creating opportunities for dialogue at all levels - provincially, nationally and internationally - requires more attention. As ways to communicate become more varied and complex, we need to remind ourselves that as Franciscans, we seek simplicity in our lives and desire meaningful, two-way communication with our fraternity brothers and sisters.

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Slide 01: "A Look At Communication from the Perspective of a Secular Franciscan"

Slide 02: To begin we will consider this question, “How did members of the Franciscan family communicate with each other during the 12th Century?” An exchange of letters  and travel by foot or horse to meet people in person come to mind here. 

Slide 03: This is a painting of St. Francis and his brothers at Orte in 1209, after their meeting with Pope Innocent III. A few days before, the Pope had given oral approval to their early rule. After spending some time at Orte praying and discussing what to do next, the brothers continued their walk to Assisi.

Slide 04: Countryside view near Assisi, 2014.

Slide 05: Mountain path used by St. Francis & his brothers.

Slide 06: This map gives us some understanding of the distances walked by the Friars Minor when visiting villages and hermitages in present day Umbria, Tuscany, and the Marches. Note the scale at the top. The journey from Orte to Assisi would be about 120 km. The journey from Assisi to La Verna, where St. Francis received the Stigmata, would be about 130 km, and the journey from Assisi to Greccio would be about 100 km. By comparison, the distance from Vancouver to Hope is 160 km.

Slide 07: St. Francis wrote several letters/documents during his lifetime. Here is a list of his letters for which we have known copies.

Slide 08: This is an enhanced image of the parchment sheet on which St. Francis wrote his blessing Brother Leo. The text in red was written by Brother Leo.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
The Lord bless you!

Slide 09: What are the traditional ways Franciscan fraternities within the BC Coastal Region have been communicating with their own fraternity members and neighbouring fraternities?

Slide 10: St. Francis of Assisi fraternity monthly meetings usually include a a presentation and/or discussion topic.

Slide 11: In August, the St. Francis of Assisi fraternity hosts a summer picnic, to which local fraternities are invited. For a number of years, the Transitus of St. Francis Service has been hosted by the St. Anthony of Padua fraternity in Richmond.

Slide 12: In December, the St. Francis of Assisi fraternity hosts a Christmas dinner, to which lfamily members & friends  are invited. 

 

Slides 13 - 15: Every spring & fall, members of BC Coastal fraternities have the opportunity to come together at Chapter of Mats meetings.

Slide 16: In June, members from all BC fraternities have the opportunity to take part in the Annual Retreat at Westminster Abbey.

Slides 17 - 18: In May, 2014, the St. Clare of Assisi fraternity in Coquitlam hosted a special Day of Retreat.

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Slide 19: Since the time of St Francis, the Franciscan family has grown immensely in diversity and numbers and today has a global reach.

Slide 20: In the 21st century, what are the ways Franciscans have been communicating with other Franciscans and the worldwide community? 

Slide 21: In the OLOTA region, there is an Elective Chapter of Mats every three years. In 2013, the Chapter took place in Surrey, BC. Delegates from fraternities in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba took part in this 3-day event

Slide 22: In September, 2014, OFM JPIC delegates from North & South America, including Andrew Conradi, met in Bogota, Columbia. Because it is very expensive to bring delegates from around the world to one location, members of the Franciscan family are using other methods to communicate with each other.

Slide 23: Internet Communication options for Secular Franciscans in the 21st Century include Email, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Skype, Smart Phones, Tablets, Twitter, Websites & YouTube. No doubts these options will increase in number and complexity in the coming months & years.

Slide 24: The Home page of the Ordo Fratrum Minorum (Order of Friars Minor) website includes links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & iTunes. Note the icons at center-left.

Slide 25: Image of the Order of Friars Minor Facebook page.

Slide 26: Image of the Order of Friars Minor on Twitter page.

Slide 27: Image of the Order of Friars Minor on Youtube.

Slide 28: Image of the Order of Friars Minor on iTunes.

Slide 29: Image of the Home page of the Poor Clares Sisters website.

Slide 30: Image of the Poor Clares Sisters website showing some of the countries where Poor Clares Sisters monasteries are located. There are also links to these monasteries.

Slides 31: Image of the Home page of the Poor Clares Sisters in Mission.

Slide 32: Image of the Home page of International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order (CIOFIS) website.

Slide 33: Image of the Home page of the OFS National Fraternity of Canada website.

Slide 34: Image of the Home page of the Franciscan Voice Canada website.

Slide 35: Image of the Home page of the Franciscans of Western Canada website.

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Slides 36 - 41: Images of pages from the OFS OLOTA Region restricted website.

Slides 42 - 47: Images of pages from the OFS OLOTA Region non-restricted website.

Slide 48: Image of the Home page of St. Mary's fraternity website in Calgary, Alberta

Slide 49: Facebook page of the Little Portion fraternity in Victoria, BC

Slide 50: What is dialogue?

Dialogue is a special kind of discourse that enables people with different perspectives and worldviews to work together to:
• Dispel mistrust and create a climate of good faith
• Break through negative stereotypes
• Shift the focus from transactions to relationships, creating community
• Make participants more sympathetic to one another even when they disagree
• Prepare the ground for negotiation or decision making on emotionally-laden issues
• Expand the number of people committed to decisions on challenging issues 

Slide 51: How is well is the Franciscan family engaging in dialogue regionally, nationally & globally in the 21st century?

Slide 52: How well are you currently engaging in dialogue with other Franciscans locally, regionally, nationally & globally?

Slide 53: What do you need to do to improve your dialogue with Franciscans locally, regionally, nationally & globally?

 

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