February 11th, 2017 our monthly fraternity gathering included a Rite of Admission ceremony for our latest candidate. During the ceremony the new candidate is provided a “Little Red Rule Book” of the Secular Franciscan Order and given a sign of the SFO, a wooden Tau cross worn around the neck. Formation in the Secular Franciscan Order consists of three periods of prayerful discernment and contemplation called Inquiry, Candidate and Profession. Candidacy is generally a period of 18 months to 36 months after which a temporary or permanent profession into the Secular Franciscan Order is made.
February 11th, 2017 marks the liturgical anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes when the blessed virgin Mary appeared in the vicinity of Lourdes in France. The first of seventeen apparitions occurred 11 of February 1858, when 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous told her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration in Lourdes in 1870. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!