When last seen, in the previous post, I was in the final throes of deciding to step on the plane and go to Kenya. Here were the variables: my house was occupied by a family, my bags were packed, the mission group was financially strained, we were being given one-way tickets, the formation program was finished. A deep breath and a leap of faith, and off I went to Kenya.
It might make an interesting post to go through the thought process of how one decides to pack for a 3-year mission to a somewhat remote part of a foreign land. Will you take one razor, a pack of razors, a super-sized pack, or will you decide just not to shave? Can you buy razors there? What can you buy there if needed? There are lots of questions, practical questions you wish you asked along the way. In the end, I felt a bit like Noah: some things were packed two-by-two and others in groups of seven. (In case you are wondering about the reference to “seven”, please see Gen 7:2). Continue reading
In our previous three articles we described Francis’ part of the 5th Crusade and his meeting with the Sultan of Egypt, Al-Malik al-Kamil. We know that Francis was away at a time when the community began to grow rapidly – and not just around Assisi, but in many other parts of Italy, Spain, France, and the Germanic nations as well. While Francis was away, what happened to the friars he left behind?
Francis had delegated his powers to two vicars during his absence: Matthew of Narni, who remained in Assisi, and Gregory of Naples, who visited the communities throughout Italy. Another friar, Phillip the Tall, was entrusted with the care of St. Clare and her sisters, the Poor Ladies of San Damiano. They were given very few orders or instructions. This might seem odd, given that religious life in the 13th century was quite ordered and obedience was a topic often written about – even by Francis himself. However, the friars were not technically an ordo, a religious order – they were still a “religious movement” – albeit, a quite famous and rapidly growing one that had the attention of the Pope and the Roman Curia – both in praise and concern.