Nine friars celebrated their First Profession at the International Novitiate in Burlington, Wisconson, USA on 2 August – the Franciscan Feast of Our Lady of the Angels.
Among them were Brothers John Paul Carroll from Ireland and Kes Watson from England.
In the Franciscan tradition we make our vows “into the hands of our minister and servant” – as we offer ourselves to the Lord. Kes took his vows before his Custos, Patrick Lonsdale, and John Paul before his Vicar Provincial, Joe Condren.
The next stage in the formation journey for these two friars will be joining the post-novitiate community in Athlone friary in September and the beginning of study in Maynooth College.
As friars and friends gathered together for this wonderful occasion, the tone of the day was set from the first reading. The first line of Isaiah 61:1-3 read “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.”
The novitiate year, the second year of formation, is one that was described by many throughout the ceremony as a personal journey about faith and learning who you are. Those journeys can be overwhelming at times but with the help of God’s presence, it can also be a gift and a way to learn how to better serve him in everyday life.
Director of Novice, Brother Jeff Macnab, OFM stated, “The work we have done this year is the start of a story. Today may mark the end of a wonderful chapter but you are far from the end of the book. Going forward, share your story and grow from your experiences but don’t forget this chapter you’ve built together for it will be what you build upon.”
The Profession of Simple Vows is an important milestone in the life of a Franciscan Friar. It marks the end of a year-long novitiate period for the nine men who professed vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. After each novice did so in front of their Ministers, they in turn received a cord with three knots symbolizing those vows.
August 2nd is a special day for Franciscan’s as it is the of The Portiuncula. The Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi (The Portiuncula, meaning “Little Portion”) is the small chapel in the valley below Assisi. It became the birthplace of the Order of Friars Minor and also the Poor Clare nuns, as it was here where St. Clare entered into religious life. A most suitable feast day on which to celebrate the gift of these brothers to the Franciscan family.