Connections keep us alive

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
Keeping the Sabbath
June 9, 2023
Growing Older
June 30, 2023

by Sr. Joan Jurski, OSF

Every four years we, the Sisters of St. Francis, gather together for what we call the Chapter of Mats. It is a meeting that brings us together for recommitment to our Franciscan way of life. This year we celebrated June 21-23. The origin of the Chapter of Mats begins with St. Francis.  As the brotherhood expanded and Friars went out to different countries to preach the Gospel Francis felt it necessary to bring the brothers together periodically to nurture their spirit and relationships. There were no motels or hotels so the friars gathered around the chapel of Our Lady of the Angels in the woods and laid out their mats. It became a time for sharing joys and woes and rekindling their spirits. When Francis was still alive he offered spiritual guidance.  Mats are no longer our mode of rest.

When we met this year, we celebrated an anniversary, the 800th anniversary of the first Christmas live celebration at Greccio, Italy. Remember it was the time Francis brought together the village and the animals and enacted the first Christmas. The people came together and celebrated.

Today it seems families and friends live farther away from each other than before; Jobs and other reasons draw us further apart. So anytime families and friends come together, it is good. Relationships are renewed. It can be a time of great joy and renewal of life memories. It can be a time to grieve together, it can be a good time to reconcile with each other. It can a be a time to learn or it can be a time to just have fun.  Memories shared can nurture our joy, our lives.
Family and friends coming together is so important. Connections keep us alive and well. When was the last time I connected to my family, my friends? How do I see each person created and loved by God?

The same can be said about my relationship with God. How often do I connect? Am I in a relationship that is alive and well?  Do I have those special times when I have conversations that keeps me alive and well? Or am I disconnected from God? Perhaps prayer and other religious rituals are no loner a part of my life. My Baptism made me a child of God, my First Communion brought me in closer union with Jesus. Let’s connect with God and family and friends! It’s good for soul and body.

Sister Joan Jurski


Sister Joan Jurski recently retired as the Director of the Regina Retreat and Conference Center after ten years.  She continues to guide mini-pilgrimages on the campus for visitors several times each year. Sister Joan was a teacher for 28 years and served in a variety of pastoral ministries for over 25 years. "Through each ministry - teaching, serving the homeless, parish and justice work, and spirituality, my service has been about people and living the message that 'Joy is the echo of God's light,'" she says.

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