"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Realize The Dignity Of Every Person

Fr. Mike Scanlan, TOR,
The Franciscan University of Steubenville
praying on campus before the
Tomb of the Unborn Child

Try to realize the dignity God has conferred on you. He created and formed your body in the image of His beloved Son, and your soul in His likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26).

Saint Francis of Assisi
The Admonitions
Admonition V


Monday, August 30, 2010

"Come To The Quiet" At The Portiuncula Hermitage


Become a Monastic

without having to leave your

Day Job!

Dr. Tom Ringenberg during personal prayer time at the
Portiuncula Hermitage in Jerusalem, Ohio

Dear Christian Brothers,

Having just experienced one of the most peaceful and fulfilling weekends of my Christian life, I feel led to write you and encourage you to take a fresh breath of the clean air at the Portiuncula Retreat in Jerusalem Ohio. Surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation in the hills of Appalachia, I was refreshed in God’s peace.

The initial reaction to a weekend of silence, fasting and prayer was mixed as I revel in the world’s flash of media and the madness of twenty-four hour news. I feared boredom and the lack of external stimulus. But God is good, and He provided plenty for me. Walks in the woods and fields, silent prayer and meditation, communal prayer with my Brothers in Christ, prayers of intercession, and theological discussion on the travel to and from Jerusalem, stimulated my spirit far more than my flesh has ever been stimulated.

It is my hope that Portiuncula will become a haven for those who need a fresh touch of God. I will return soon to restore my soul with peace. Join me in supporting the Portiuncula project by attending a retreat weekend of fasting, prayer, brotherhood and silence in the Franciscan Tradition.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Tom Ringenberg
Centerville, IN

Pond at Portiuncula Hermitage in Jerusalem, Ohio

Only two dates left this year!

September 17-19
September 24-26


Mocking The Poor

Once blessed Francis had gone to the hermitage of the brothers near Roccabrizia to preach to the people of that region. Now, on the day of the sermon, a poor, miserable and sick man came in search of him. Blessed Francis was moved by his distress and spoke to his companion of his poverty and sickness. His companion answered him: "Brother, it is true, he is very poor, but perhaps there in no other man richer in desire in all providence than he." The saint chided him for having spoken so uncharitably, and the brother admitted his sin. Blessed Francis then said to him: "Are you willing to perform a penance I shall give you?" "Gladly," he said. "Well, take off your tunic and go throw yourself half clothed at the feet of the poor man; tell him how you have sinned against him, and ask him to pray that God may forgive you." The brother went and did what blessed Francis had prescribed...

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 89


Friday, August 27, 2010

Suffer To Be Ruled

"The horse is a noble and useful creature; for in his swiftest course he suffers himself to be ruled, and turned hither and thither, backwards and forwards, according to the will of the rider; so likewise should it be with the servant of God, who should suffer himself to be ruled, guided, turned and bent, according to the will of his superior; nay, of all others, for the love of Christ.

Little Flowers of St. Francis
Chapter V
Of Holy Patience


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catholic Church vs. Liberation Theology

by Chris Dickson

I am appalled by the naivete of our Church being duped into anti-Christian communism. Liberation theology is a threat to free society by its undermining of the Church and its Magisterium through attempting to redefine moral issues (changing the Gospel to support theology opposed to shaping theology as a result of the Gospel.)

Ignorance is not bliss and unless we familiarize ourselves with the dangers, then future generations will demand answers as to why we threw away our freedom in lieu of communism.

To quote Gustavo Gutierrez (the "father" of liberation theology,) "There is no evil in being subversive, struggling against the capitalist system...Liberation leads to reinterpreting the Gospel...As I have witnessed the power of Marxism to provide motivation for a life of service where none existed before, I have come to a new appreciation of this part of my own history. I cannot settle for any story of America that fails to give a central place to this vision."

Again, Roger Garaudy (one of France's foremost Marxist intellectuals) wrote, "Socialism is a traditional stage in the passage from capitalism to communism." Also, "When the established order involves such injustice that millions of men are exploited, oppressed, mutilated, and humiliated by this order, a revolution, even armed revolution, can be less costly and in the long run less 'violent' than this established disorder, which has become pure violence. Of this, incidentally, many Christians are today becoming conscious, including, for example, even priests and bishops in Latin America."

Charles E. Curran, no longer permitted by the Church to teach moral theology at Catholic universities, has stated,"Questions arise in the light of both the importance and the limitations of Scriptures. In the light of the most striking development has been the emergence of dissent within the Roman Catholic theological community from the teachings of the hierarchical magisterium on specific moral issues."

One cannot help but feel an air of approval when local archdiocesan newspapers print articles written by these people. Already we have seen a swing by our priests and educators away from the Church's doctrine of "norma normans non normata"(the Scriptures being the norm above all other norms by which all norms are taken) and are thus shown to question the Scripture's relevance in our daily lives.

Perhaps we need to seek the definition of a couple terms which seem to have taken on good and bad connotations in complete reversal of their intended meanings:

First of all, the term orthodoxy means "right praise," or consistency with the faith of the Church as embodied in Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, official teachings and the liturgy.

Libertaion theology, on the other hand, is defined as a new type of theology which emphasizes the motif of liberation in both Old and New Testaments and which reinterprets all doctrines in terms of that motif. Forms of liberation theology include Latin American, black and feminist.

Jesus "liberated" all of us from the bonds of oppression. Rather than reinterpreting the Gospel, perhaps we would be better served to "live it." This idea may not be popular with some in the Church today, but by returning to the basics of our faith, we will be truly liberated through the instruction of Sacred Scriptures if only we would accept Jesus as the catalyst of our lives.


Bearing The Cross Of Christ In Our Hearts

God called St. Francis and his companions and chose them to bear the cross of Christ in their hearts and to preach it in word and action. That is why they looked like and were in fact crucified men in their comportment and in their austere life, in their deeds and actions. And that is why they wanted more to receive shame and insults for the love of Christ than the world's vain honors and respect or praise; and that is why they were saddened when they were honored. And so they went through the world as pilgrims and strangers, with Christ crucified as their only baggage.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis - 5


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Small, Insignificant Man

Little Poor Friar V.V. of Jesus and Mary

Before Francis appeared before him, the Pope had had a vision that the church of Saint John Lateran was only saved from falling by being upheld on the shoulder of a small, insignificant man. He had awakened depressed and surprised, and, being wise and discreet, he had pondered long on the meaning of the vision. A few days later blessed Francis and the brothers came to him...Then when the Pope looked at Francis he compared his vision of the Lateran and began to say: "This is surely the holy and religious man by whom the church of God will be supported and upheld."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions
Chapter XII


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Father Tom Forrest Coming to Sunman, Indiana November 13, 2010

Fr. Gregory Bramlage & “Word of God” Prayer Ministry
invite you to spend a day with

Father Tom Forrest

November 13, 2010
East Central High School

St. Leon, Indiana

Father Forrest is a redemptorist priest who was ordained in New York in 1954 by Cardinal Spellman. For the first 23 years of his priesthood, he worked among the poor of the Caribbean. In 1978 he was elected director of the International Office for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He served in this capacity for six years, first in Brussels and then in Rome.

Father Forrest has traveled to, and spoken in, 104 different countries and his articles and books have been translated into a number of languages. He has met and spoken with Pope John Paul II many times and on numerous occasions has attended breakfast, lunch and supper meetings with the Holy Father.

Father Forrest has organized two Worldwide Retreats for Priests, one in 1984 and the other in 1990. At present, he is the International Director of Evangelization 2000, a Catholic effort to promote Church renewal through prayer, proclamation of the Word and the formation of a more evangelistically activated people of God. He resides in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.



Blessed that religious who finds all his joy and happiness in the words and deeds of our Lord and uses them to make people love God gladly. Woe to the religious who amuses himself with silly gossip, trying to make people laugh.

Saint Francis of Assisi
The Admonitions
Admonition XXI


Monday, August 23, 2010

Sublime Humility

In their pride, the demons take flight at the sight of the sublime virtue practices by those who are truly humble.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Bonaventure, Major Life


Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Draw From Secret Prayers

"The preacher must first draw from secret prayers what he will later pour out in holy sermons; he must first grow hot within before he speaks words that are in themselves cold."

Saint Francis of Assisi

Celano, Second Life

Chapter CXXII


Franciscus Christificatus


Thief that has leaped Heaven's star-spiked wall!
Christ's exultant bacchanal!

Wine-smears on thy hand and foot

Of the Vine that struck its root
Deep in Virgin soul, and was

Trained against the reared Cross:

Nay, thy very side its stain

Hath, to make it redly plain

How in the wassail quaffed full part

That flown vintager, thy heart.

Christ in blood stamps Himself afresh

On thy Veronical-veil of flesh.

Lovers, looking with amaze on

Each other, would be that they gaze on:
So for man's love God would be

Man, and man for His love He:
What God in Christ, man has in thee.

God gazed on man and grew embodied,

Thou, on Him gazing, turn'st engodded!

But though he held thy brow-spread tent
His little Heaven above Him bent,
Thy scept'ring reed suffices thee,

Which smote Him into sovereignty.

Thou who thoughtest thee too low

For His priest, thou shalt not so

'Scape Him and unpriested go!
In thy hand thou wouldst not hold Him,

In thy flesh thou shalt enfold Him;

Bread wouldst not change into Him...ah see!
How He doth change Himself to thee!


Saturday, August 21, 2010


Athanasius comments: "For Anthony [St. Anthony of Padua] did not heal by issuing commands, but by praying and calling upon the name of Christ, so that it was evident to everyone that it was not he who did this, but the Lord manifesting his compassion to men and, through Anthony, was healing those who suffered." (Matthew 17:19 and John 16:23-24)

Vita Antonii 83-84


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Most Profound Subjection And Humility

After the general Chapter of Assisi, at which more than five thousand brethren assembled from every province, the holy father sent them two and two to preach the Word of God in all countries. Many of them returned to him complaining sorrowfully that some bishops were opposed to them and would not allow them to preach in their dioceses....At which the blessed father, filled with holy indignation, exclaimed, "O my brethren, you know not the will of God, and you seek by your foolishness to rob me of the conquest of the world. For our Lord Jesus Christ wishes that I should overcome the world by the most profound subjection and humility, and that I should perform the great work drawing souls to him by example of my lowliness. My brethren, you will convert all by your words, if you humble yourselves before all by your actions. Those who cruelly persecute you will be converted to Christ by the example of your patience, and will desire to kiss the very ground on which you walk..."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Miscellaneous Writings of St Francis


Thursday, August 19, 2010


The Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage and Retreat Center

needs your prayers!

Thank you


Pace e bene!

Rebuking A Sad And Gloomy Face

St. Francis used to censure those who went about with gloomy faces, and once rebuked a friar who appeared with a gloomy face, saying, "Why are you making an outward display of grief and sorrow for your sin? This sorrow is between God and yourself alone. So pray Him in His mercy to pardon you and restore to your soul the joy of His salvation, of which the guilt of your sins has deprived it. Always do your best to be cheerful when you are with me and the other brethren; it is not right for a servant of God to show a sad and gloomy face to his brother or anyone else."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Mirror or Perfection - 96


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Please Support The Portiuncula Every Time You Search The Internet Or Shop On Line

Please help us duplicate this Portiuncula Chapel
found on the campus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville

What if the Portiuncula Hermitage earned a penny every time you searched the Internet? Or what if a percentage of every purchase you made on-line went to support our cause? Well, now it can!

GoodSearch.com is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half of its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up!

Although this may not sound like a lot of money, if only 1000 of our supporters use GoodSearch.com just 5 times per day for the year, the Portiuncula Hermitage would receive over $18,000 towards its mission of spreading God's love!

It's easy. Just download the GoodSearch – Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage and Retreat Center toolbar at:

Website owners can also help by adding a customizable badge to their homepage or blog.

So please, make a commitment to browsing the Internet with GoodSearch.com with the Portiuncula Hermitage as your designated charity. Set it as your homepage, or bookmark it so using it becomes a habit.

As well, you can earn money for the Portiuncula Hermitage by doing your online shopping through GoodShop.com. It is a new online shopping mall which will donate up to 37 percent of each purchase to the Portiuncula Hermitage. Hundreds of popular stores, including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, Macy's and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop.com and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting our valuable mission.

By simply surfing the web with GoodSearch.com and shopping with GoodShop.com you can raise much-needed funds for the Portiuncula Hermitage!


Pax Et Bonum!


Welcome To The Portiuncula Healing Ministry

"Only say the word Lord, and I shall be healed"

We are a

Franciscan Prayer Ministry

located in Jerusalem, Ohio.

Through prayer and Adoration before our Eucharistic Lord, we seek His awesome power, grace, and mercy, to bring His divine healing and peace into your life.

Simply e-mail your Prayer Requests to:

We encourage you to participate in our

Healing Services and Retreats

Thank you for visiting.

Pax Et Bonum!


We Take Our Cell With Us

Brother Leo's Cell at the Eremoci Carceri

Wherever we are or wherever we are going, we have our cell with us. For Brother Body is the cell, and the soul is the hermit who dwells in it, meditating there and praying to God. Therefore, if the soul does not preserve quiet and solitude in its own cell, of what profit is a cell made by hands?

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 80


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Franciscan International receives $10.8 million from Mavis Khoo

TheCatholicNews -

E-mail Print

SINGAPORE – A donation of 5 million Euros (S$10.76 million) was made today by Mavis Khoo, Chairman of the Goodwood Group of Hotels, to Franciscans International, a non-governmental organization at the United Nations, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. The donation was made through the Franciscan Friars in Singapore.

Ms Khoo donated the fund in the name of her philanthropic mother, the late Rose Marie Khoo, who had a deep commitment to charitable work and concern for the under-privileged during her lifetime.

The donation comes at a time when the Franciscan Friars commemorates its 50th year of presence in Singapore.

This 5 million Euros donation will take the form of an endowment fund, aimed at furthering the charitable works of Franciscans International.

It will be distributed across Franciscans International’s worldwide organizations in Bangkok, Geneva and New York. The donation will help about 1.2 million Franciscans worldwide in its work for the poor.

The Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization with General Consultative status at the U.N. that serves the global community by bringing spiritual, ethical and Franciscan values. An endowment fund is a permanent fund that exists in perpetuity or for a defined period, and the earnings and interest from the fund is used to carry out the works of Franciscans International around the world. The nature of the donation allows for it to have a much greater impact over a long period.

The charity is supported by the freewill offerings of Franciscan communities and partners, and champions causes related to justice, peace, care of creation and the promotion of human rights.

Father John-Paul Tan, Parish Priest at the Franciscan-run Church of St. Mary of the Angels, said, "This timely donation will be instrumental in furthering the Franciscan ideal of ‘loving concern for the poor, care of creation, peacemaking and addressing the causes of poverty’. It will help alleviate the situation of the poor and marginalized, and further, provide impetus towards driving the social causes of peace and justice, which is in accord with the Franciscan vision of global fraternity."

"This is an invaluable contribution in the memory of Mrs Rose Marie Khoo as it will go the distance to help the under-privileged in the society. We also appreciate this gesture by Mavis Khoo for extending her valuable support and unwavering belief in the Franciscan spirit of serving the poor and needy," added Father John-Paul Tan.

In further acknowledging the donation, Father John Celichowski, OFM Cap, President of Franciscans International, reiterated: "We are deeply touched by the philanthropic contribution made in the name of Mrs Rose Marie Khoo. We like to extend heartfelt thanks on behalf of all at Franciscans International for the generous donation and commitment towards helping the community. This will help us carry forward our vision to provide help to the less-fortunate in the society."

This donation comes as a result of Ms Mavis Khoo’s long association with the charitable works of the church and the growing relationship between her and the organization. Ms Mavis Khoo commented, "I believe that the fund will go towards helping the underprivileged, needy and vulnerable. I hope to continue with the legacy of my late philanthropic mother, who was committed to charitable work during her lifetime. In keeping with my mother’s commitment to donate funds for activities related to worthy causes, I wish to continue her legacy by distribution of funds centred on areas of great personal interest and passion.

This valuable donation marks the continued commitment of individuals who champion social causes with their philanthropic mindset and capability, and thus, help contribute meaningfully for the betterment of the society.

FRANCISCANS INTERNATIONAL (FI) is a non-governmental organization with General Consultative status at the United Nations, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. It operates under the sponsorship of the Conference of the Franciscan Family and serves all Franciscans and the global community by bringing spiritual, ethical, and Franciscan values to the United Nations and international organizations.

It closely follows the tradition of Saint Francis and Saint Clare, striving to put Franciscan ideals into practice at the international level. FI is guided by the saints’ loving concern for the poor, care of creation, and peacemaking. As the poorest people are being exploited in systemic ways, and global peace is increasingly threatened, Franciscan commitment is needed more urgently than ever, FI said.

Franciscans around the world run schools, hospitals, Justice and Peace offices, shelters, and specialise in many services for the poor. Their programmes at FI bring grassroots Franciscans to the United Nations forums in New York and Geneva, influencing international human rights standards and bringing witness to human rights violations.

FI is supported by the freewill offerings of Franciscan communities and their partners. A large part of its funding comes from individuals who support Franciscan work for human rights, care for creation, and peacemaking. FI’s advocacy programmes are designed in response to Franciscan needs worldwide. n

SINGAPORE – "I was very surprised," said Father John-Paul Tan, in response to a question on the donation. "To me, it is providential," he added.

He explained that it came about when he was sharing with Mavis Khoo his work with Franciscans International and how he had been tasked to look for funding. "I was sharing about the idea of a foundation as a structural way of ensuring long term dependable funding so that planning and programmes will not be affected by uncertainties," he said.

Ms Khoo then asked for more information about the foundation and offered to assist in setting it up.

Ms Khoo, a parishioner of St. Mary of the Angels, and her family have been friends of Father John-Paul and the friars for many years. Her mother Rose was also a Catholic.

The new Franciscans International – Rose Marie Khoo Foundation expresses in some ways Ms Khoo’s friendship with the Franciscan world and is significant because this in turn will help their work with the poor around the world, said Father John-Paul.

Make My Heart Your Dwelling Place

We should make a dwelling-place within ourselves where the He can stay, He who is the Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Chapter 22


Mystic Monk Coffee: Order Through the Portiuncula and Donate to Birthright (a loving alternative to Abortion

The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming

Mystic Monk Coffee is roasted by the Carmelite Monks, a Roman Catholic monastery in the silence and solitude of the Rocky Mountains of northern Wyoming. The monks live a hidden life of prayer and contemplation in the pursuit of God. The monastery is inundated with young men who seek to leave everything to pray for the world, in a tradition at least a thousand years old. It is the monks’ great joy and privilege to share the fruit of their life with you in every cup of Mystic Monk Coffee.

The Monk Master Roaster

Br. Java is the master roaster who meticulously roasts beans in small batches. His philosophy is that each roast must be not only the labor of his hands, but a master roast of the highest quality. Br. Java is passionate about obtaining the perfect roasts for you. He carefully roasts only the finest gourmet beans under conditions that will make each roast consistent and smooth with a taste that will make your taste buds tingle. With experience and perfection, Mystic Monk Coffee is a coffee to savor and enjoy – with or without cream.

The Legend of the First Mystic Monk

Coffee is a product perfected and loved by monks from its beginning. When a monk of old heard the anguished tale of a shepherd who had sleepless goats, he himself discovered growing on shrubs the berries, which had such a wonderful affect. Delighted at his find, the ingenious monk boiled the beans in water and drank the resulting coffee. He found in his discovery a hot drink that could keep his eyes awake even amidst the midnight vigils and unceasing prayers of the monastic life.

The secret of coffee continues to keep monks ever alert and vigilant for their prayers, but now Mystic Monk Coffee shares the hidden, master roasts of monks with all who seek a delightful cup of coffee.

Monks are passionate Perfectionists

The monastic life is one of ordered perfection, which you will taste in every bag of Mystic Monk Coffee. Passionate about perfection, no challenge is too great for Br. Java and the monks, if it will result in a Mystic Monk brew suited for the most discriminating coffee drinker. The Carmelite monks have mastered the ancient art of roasting coffee, laboring with steadfast determination to make each cup of coffee simply superb. Taste the monastic perfection in each brew, which makes all the difference.

Please remember to keep our pre-born in your daily prayers!

To Order Direct, simply click on the Mystic Monk Icon at the very top of this page!

Please remember that when you buy Mystic Monk Coffee through the Portiuncula Hermitage, ten percent of all our commission sales are donated to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion.)

Fra Chris


Living For The Benefit Of Mankind And Not Self

le Piccole suore (the little sisters) VV of Jesus and Mary

Eventually, St. Francis and his first followers arrived at the valley of Spoleto, still full of good dispositions, and there they fell to debating whether they should live among the people or seek refuge in solitude. Francis, who was a true servant of Christ, refused to trust in his own opinion or in the suggestions of his companions; instead, he sought to discover God's will by persevering prayer. Then, enlightened by a revelation from heaven, he realized that he was sent by God to win for Christ the souls which the Devil was trying to snatch away. And so he chose to live for the benefit of his fellow men, rather than for himself alone, after the example of Him who was so good as to die for all men.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Bonaventure, Major Life



Monday, August 16, 2010

Virtue and Vice

Where there is Love and Wisdom,
there is neither Fear not Ignorance.

here there is Patience and Humility,
there is neither Anger nor Annoyance.

here there is Poverty and Joy,
there is neither Cupidity or Avarice.

here there is Peace and Contemplation,
there is neither Care nor Restlessness.

here there is Fear of God to guard the dwelling,
there no enemy can enter.

here there is Mercy and Prudence,
there is neither Excess nor Harshness.

Saint Francis of Assisi
The Admonitions
Admonition XXVII


Can You Afford Just $5.00 A Month For The Love Of God?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It's times like these that tempt Catholics to throw in the towel and give up on the culture of despair.

Greed and corruption have wreaked havoc on our nation's economy. Euthanasia just received Washington State's stamp of approval. And all the pro-life victories of the past decade are now in jeopardy. It's the perfect storm for despair. But despair is the last thing we should do.

In troubled times, Christ calls us to pray, to trust in his perfect will, and to cooperate with his grace.

Ultimately, Christ calls us to hope. He calls us to remember that for Christians, peace does not rest on who wins an election or on the value of our stock portfolios, but in a loving God who “in everything...works for good.”

Of course, God doesn't just call us to hope. He gives us reasons to hope and signs of the good things to come.

I truly believe one of those reasons, one of those signs, is the Portiuncula Franciscan Hermitage and Retreat Center.

While many other Catholic institutions have sold out to the culture of death, the Portiuncula, along with a few others, has fought steadfastly for a culture of life. It has faithfully stood alongside the Church, forming men and women capable of true leadership and committed to bringing Christ to the culture.

But the Portiuncula Retreat Center can't be built alone. To build, we need your help! And that is why I'm writing you today: To invite you to join me in helping our culture through these troubled times by helping build the Portiuncula Retreat Center.

United in the Roman Catholic tradition and obedient to the Magisterium of the Church and the Bishop of Steubenville, we are committed to our Lord and Savior in the Scriptures, the Eucharist, the Sacraments of the Church and in our Brothers and Sisters.

With God's grace and your help, I believe past Portiuncula retreatants and those soon to follow in their footsteps will lead our culture and our country out of these troubled times.

That is why I invite you to share the work of these Catholics and the Portiuncula Hermitage that is forming them.

First, allow them to pray for you.

Prayer is the lifeblood of the Portiuncula Hermitage, and the Franciscan family would be honored to include you in their prayers. Please e-mail your most pressing intentions to: hermitage@parallax.ws

Everyone at the Portiuncula will pray for your intentions before the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and at Mass.

In turn, please pray for the Portiuncula, that it might continue to form leaders who can be salt and light to our world.

Finally, I would be grateful if you supported the work of building the Portiuncula Chapel with a generous financial contribution.

Your support of the Portiuncula will make it possible for the sons and daughters of the Church to grow in faith during their retreats, and become the courageous Catholic leaders the world desperately needs.

Today, I want to ask you to become a partner in the Portiuncula's mission to build the Portiuncula Retreat Center by simply donating $5.00 $10.00 or $15.00 a month.



Or mail your Alms to:

Portiuncula Hermitage
% 508 South 16th Street
Richmond, IN 47374

Please, become a part of the Portiuncula Hermitage's work today. Don't let this chance to turn the culture around pass you by.

Pax Et Bonum!

Fra Chris


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ozark, Ohio - Begging For Stones!

Catholics in Monroe County, Ohio are being asked to collect all their field stones and drop them off at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery on Ozark-Eddy Bridge Road so that we can duplicate this Portiuncula Chapel located at the Franciscan University of Steubenville

Francis set to begging for stones with which to restore the church of San Damiano. He called to the passers-by: "Whoever gives me one stone will have one reward; two stones, two rewards; three stones, a treble reward!"

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions

Please note : We are begging our Catholic brothers and sisters in Monroe County, Ohio to round up all their field stones and dump them into the woods next to the Immaculate Conception Cemetery on Ozark-Eddy Bridge Road (in the direction of the large white house towards Woodsfield). These stones will be used to erect the Portiuncula Chapel.



Franciscan University of Steubenville

Silence Is God's First Language

Pond at the Portiuncula Hermitage in Jerusalem, Ohio

"Silence is God's first language, everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God."

Thomas Keating
Invitation to Love


Become A Living Prayer

Often, without moving his lips, St.Francis would meditate for a long time and, concentrating, centering his external powers, he would rise in spirit to heaven. Thus, he directed his whole mind and affections to the one thing he was asking of God. He was not then so much a man who prayed, as a man who had become a living prayer.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano - Second Life - 95


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Franciscan Tau Cross

The first recorded reference to the TAU is from Ezekiel 9:4, "Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter "T".

At the Fourth Lateran Council, on November 11, 1215, Pope Innocent made reference to the TAU and quoted the above verse in reference to the profaning of the Holy Places by the Saracens. It is widely accepted that St. Francis was present at the Fourth Lateran Council and that he heard the words of Pope Innocent III when he said, "The TAU has exactly the same form as the Cross on which our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and only those will be marked with this sign and will obtain mercy who have mortified their flesh and conformed their life to that of the Crucified Savior. From then on, the TAU became Francis' own coat of arms.

Francis used the TAU in his writings, painted in on the walls and doors of the places where he stayed, and used it as his only signature on his writings.

St. Bonaventure said, "This TAU symbol had all the veneration and all the devotion of the saint: he spoke of it often in order to recommend it, and he traced it on himself before beginning each of his actions."

Thomas of Celano, another Franciscan historian writes, "Francis preferred the Tau above all other symbols: he utilized it as his only signature for his letters, and he painted the image of it on the walls of all the places in which he stayed."

In the famous blessing of Brother Leo, Francis wrote on parchment, "May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord show His face to you and be merciful to you! May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace! God bless you Brother Leo!" Francis sketched a head (of Brother Leo) and then drew the TAU over this portrait.


Where did the TAU come from and what does it mean? (Rhymes with "How") Simply and basically, the TAU represents the Cross. It is also the last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. However, the two major influences on Francis concerning the TAU were the Antonians and the Fourth Lateran Council.

St. Francis borrowed the TAU and what it meant to him from the Antonians. They were a religious community of men founded in 1095 whose sole function was to care for lepers. They were disbanded as an Order by the Church in the 1500's because leprosy was no longer a problem and many of the religious orders had fallen into Theological problems. On their habit was painted a great TAU cross. Francis was very familiar with these men because they staffed the leper house in Assisi and the hospital of St. Blase in Rome where Francis went to stay. This is now the church of San Francisco A Ripa.

Every time you see St. Anthony, "the Abbot or Hermit" in art, he is portrayed with the TAU.

St. Francis was exposed to the TAU through the direct influence of the Antonians, but the greatest influence of all that made the TAU so dear to Francis, whereby it became his signature, was the Fourth Lateran Council.

Pope Innocent III opened the Council on November 11, 1215, with these words: "I have desired with great desire to eat this Passover with you." (Luke 22-15.) Innocent announced that for him, for the Church, and for every Catholic at the time, the symbol they were to take as the sign of their Passover was the TAU Cross.

He incorporated into his homily the statement from Ezekiel (9:4) that the elect, the chosen, those who are concerned will be marked with the sign of the TAU. He explained that this Passover is a three-fold Passover.

Every Catholic must be involved in this triple Passover: A Corporal Passover, a Spiritual Passover and an Eternal Passover.

These became some of the most precious themes of Francis' preaching. He must have taken them so deeply to heart that when Pope Innocent III ended his homily with "BE CHAMPIONS OF THE TAU", Francis evidently took that as a personal statement and made the TAU his own symbol: a symbol for his order, his signature, painted it everywhere, and had great devotion to it for the rest of his life.


Plunder the Riches of Heaven

Original Tunic worn by St. Francis at the time of his death

"A thief climbs a ladder to break into the vault where treasures are stored. The soul, too, ascends the secret contemplation to plunder the riches of heaven."

St. John of the Cross


Friday, August 13, 2010

Prayer of Saint Francis

LORD, Make me an instrument of your PEACE.
Where there is hatred, let me sow LOVE.
Where there is injury, PARDON.

Where there is doubt, FAITH.

Where there is despair, HOPE.
Where there is darkness, LIGHT.

And where there is sadness, JOY.

Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to CONSOLE.

To be understood, as to UNDERSTAND.

To be loved as to LOVE.

For it is in GIVING that we receive,
That we are pardoned
And it is in dying

That we are born to ETERNAL LIFE.


Thursday, August 12, 2010




He crouches in the chapel, on his knees,
With matted hair that hangs in dusky strands;

Apart and strange, among the little bands

Of worshipers, for he is not as these.

Alone! and yet a deeper vision sees

That near this alien with his grimy hands,

That Little Poor Man of Assisi stands,

As Giotto painted him upon a frieze.

I knew one luminous Italian spring!

"Your province? Is it Umbria?" I ask.

The weariness falls from him like a mask,

And all his visage is a shining thing,
As though some deathless master of his race

Inscribed a sudden message on his face.


Unlike Many Franciscans Today, Saint Francis Worshiped The Creator, Not Creation

St. Francis praised the Artist in every one of his works; whatever he found in things made, he referred to their Maker. He rejoiced in all the works of the Lord's hands, and with joyful vision saw into the reason and cause that gave them life. In beautiful things he came to know Beauty itself. To him all things were good. They cried out to him, "He who made us is infinitely good." By tracing his footprints in things Francis followed the Beloved wherever he led. He made, from created things, a ladder to his throne.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano - Second Life - 165


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gossipers Are Biting Fleas

Hating detractors deeply and more than any other kind of wicked men, Francis said that they carried poison on their tongues and infected others with their poison. Gossipers, therefore, those biting fleas, he avoided when they were speaking, and he averted his ears, as we ourselves have seen, lest they be defiled by hearing such things.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Celano, Second Life



St. Clare Feast Day - August 11


St. Clare's Tunic and Mantle found in Assisi

Saint Clare was born in Assisi in 1193. She followed her fellow citizen, Saint Francis, in a life of poverty and became mother and foundress of an order of nuns. She led a life that was austere, yet rich in works of charity and piety. She died in 1253.

God of mercy,
you inspired Saint Clare with the love of poverty.
By the help of her prayers
may we follow Christ in poverty of spirit

and come to the joyful vision of your glory
in the kingdom of heaven.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.