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The gift of the Stigmata of St. Francis on its eighth Centenary

Ongoing formation in the General Curia

28 February 2024

On Tuesday 27th February, in the Fraternity of St Mary Mediatrix of the General Curia, a permanent formation meeting was held on the theme: "The gift of the Stigmata of St. Francis on its eighth centenary". The meeting was led by Br William Short, Director of the College of St Bonaventure - International Centre for Franciscan Research and Studies. 

In the first part the topics of gratuitousness and gift were discussed. Br William took as a reference the figure of Giacoma Frangipane de' Settesoli, known as "Brother Jacopa", who offered as a gift what Francis and the friars needed. Other characters from the life of St. Francis were also analysed: the woman of Machilone and the thieves of Borgo San Sepolcro. At the end of the exhibition, the friars divided into groups explored the culture of gratuitousness and gift, so that they significantly characterize living together. Those present also talked about how to encourage concrete gestures of selfless service, which can express and realize the gift of oneself. 

Subsequently, the themes of dialogue and mercy were addressed. Regarding the first, Br William chose the passage by Tommaso da Celano on the relationship between Brother Leo and Saint Francis: «On La Verna a companion of Francis, in the hope of being freed from a serious temptation "of the spirit", wished to have a writing from the saint's hand... At the end he added the friar's blessing, and said to him: "Take this little paper and keep it carefully until the day of your death." He was immediately free from every temptation, and the writing, preserved, later did wonderful things.» 

Br William then spoke about Francis and the Stigmata: after having received them, he praises the creatures and later, as a response to the gift received, he descends to show mercy in service to the needy. In the groups, the friars shared how to foster, in the fraternity, an attitude of true dialogue, which allows listening, understanding, knowledge and mutual acceptance. Those present reflected on how to control words and judgments, so that they always "touch" others with mercy and compassion. 

The meeting ended with the sharing of everything that was discussed in the groups.

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