Chapter of Mats of the Franciscan Family of Chile

Picarquin, Chile, 12-14.11.2015

The Franciscan brothers in Chile, after meeting in their2014 elective chapter, decided in capitular agreement to hold a “Chapter of Mats”, in memory of that first chapter realized by St. Francis with the brothers. This Chapter is known in the history of the Order, as Chapter of Mats.

In this spirit, St. Francis gave it the name of “mats” because “having so many brothers in the city of Assisi, they were forced to stay scattered in the countryside around the city, in tents made of branches or woven straw (mats) or even outdoors, with no more ceiling than the very vault of heaven “(Fioretti, 18). Following the tradition that St. Francis used to animate the life and to continue the spirit of being minors among minors the Franciscan family gathered to celebrate and animate their consecrated life.

The aim of the meeting was to “celebrate and to encourage each other as brothers and sisters in Francis and Clare of Assisi, in our following of Jesus Christ, grateful for the gift of our vocation to plan together in the service of life” under the motto: “Where consecrated men and women are, there is joy … let us go out into the deep “. And so, the novelty of the meeting was that for the first time in the history of the Franciscan Family in Chile we gathered in Picarquín (sixth region). We were more than 350 consecrated women and men, JUFRA and the Secular Franciscan Order who came together to celebrate the gift of vocation and to continue to dream of the presence of God’s Reign, which is built daily.

From 12 to 14 November the brothers and sisters of the various Orders, Congregations and Lay Communities gathered to reflect on the challenges of Franciscan life for today’s world. To do this he had the presence of Friar Miguel Angel Lopez, OFM Conv. and Friar Joaquín Blanco, Mennaisian. From their point of view regarding religious life they continued to motivate Franciscan consecrated men and women to cast out nets from the depths of our lives, from mercy, sisterhood, brotherhood and minority as essential aspects of the Franciscan vocation.

Along with this discourse, time and space was given to sharing, enjoying and praying in communion with all the charisms given to the Church in the persons of all the founders of the 25 Institutes present at our meeting began.

In this process of casting out our nets, as Franciscan Family we renewed our religious consecration in the hands of Monsignors Celistino Aós, OFMCap. Bishop of Copiapo and Jorge Concha, OFM., Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago as well as Sister Paulina Etcheverry, FMIC, President of the Franciscan Family.

After these days of encounter and reflection the Franciscan Family in Chile committed its missionary work to the service of God, the Church and all people of good will.