On July 3 we recalled the beginnings of the Capuchin reform on the anniversary the of bull Religionis zelus (1528) of Pope Clement VII, by which Matteo da Bascio and those who would join him were granted to restore the ancient observance of the Rule of St. Francis. Others soon joined Matteo and the original group, called at first the Friars Minor of the Eremetical Life.
In this way, we are invited each year to celebrate on this day the birth of the Capuchin Family. This year the date fell during the meeting of new provincial ministers and custodes in Frascati, where they participate in a series of presentations related to their office.
Various representatives of different institutes affiliated to the Capuchin Order were present: the Capuchin Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, the Capuchin Tertiaries of the Holy Family, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Christ, the Capuchin Tertiaries of Our Lady of Sorrows, and the Capuchin Sisters of the Mother of the Good Shepherd. The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Incarnate Word were also present by means of a message, as were many monasteries of Capuchin Poor Clares, who promised to be joined to the event in prayer.
In the morning, after the introductions, the Vice General Secretary of Formation, Br. Jaime Rey, gave a conference on the theme: The unity of Franciscans and the Capuchin reform: remembering the bull Ite vos on the way towards celebrating the V centenary of the Capuchin reform. Beginning with the concept of unity as a ‘polyhedron’ (cf. Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium 236), Br. Jaime explained how the search for communion within diversity and respect for the particularity of each reality becomes a motivation for our being a spiritual family. Beneath this idea there is a Christian and Franciscan anthropology that was highlighted by various points.
With the new ministers who were meeting in Frascati, the General Minister presided at the Mass to thank the Lord for the gift of our wonderful Capuchin family. The gospel for the feast of St. Thomas gave a fine tone to the reflection and a link to the strong contemplative and apostolic dimensions of the Capuchin reform.
A festive lunch was a lovely occasion of fraternal encounter and sharing. In the afternoon the meeting continued with talks on two important Franciscan events of this past year: the ‘generalissimo’ Chapter of the Umbrian Franciscans and the Congreso de la Escuela Superior de Estudios Franciscanos in Madrid.
Each congregation noted their own identity and work through a sharing animated by the General Secretariat of Formation, in which our unity as brothers and sisters of one family was also evident.
Br. Leonardo Ariel González