Dotted around the Umbrian landscape there are hermitages and places of retreat, some little more than caves or fissures in rock associated with the Poverello, St. Francis of Assisi. To one of these cave-retreats (‘speco’ in Italian) St. Francis and one or two friars minor would regularly withdraw from their busy rounds of preaching and their work as labourers and artisans.
In these beautiful and austere places St. Francis and the brothers would enter into solitude, praying the psalms and contemplating deeply the life of Christ.
The Franciscan life is traditionally an ebb and flow of mission and withdrawal into silence.
Here in our postulancy house in Galway the friars have their own ‘speco’, or quiet place, in the heart of a busy city. In the old church tower our little ‘speco’ helps us to connect with the ancient tradition of withdrawal into silence, so as to become more authentic witnesses to the Gospel.
The Franciscan vocation is a life of going out to others with the message of the Gospel and going inward, taking time to listen to the ‘still small voice’ that speaks to us in solitude and quiet. And this going out and returning inward is always something we do as brothers in fraternity.
If you are interested in this way of life why not make contact to find out more:
Friar Liam Kelly OFM
Phone: 087 396 0262
Postal address: Franciscan Friary, Athlone, Co Westmeath.