June 22, 2020 – In the milieu of the coronavirus, there has been significant uncertainty about when or whether the Franciscan Spiritual Center could open safely. We do not feel we can safely welcome outside groups until there is a vaccine for the virus. The earliest predictions for its availability are January 2021. Sadly, this deeply impacts the functioning of the center.
For various reasons, we have made the difficult decision that the Franciscan Spiritual Center building should close permanently. We want the ministry to continue and would love to see it refashioned. Group gatherings, though not large ones, could take place in various other locations in the future. Clare House and the hermitages will remain open; spiritual direction will continue to be offered; and the website will remain.
It is particularly important during these challenging times to be able to offer spiritual support to our sisters and brothers. We call on the Spirit to enlighten us as something new is envisioned.
This decision is painful for us all, especially our sisters who minister at the Franciscan Spiritual Center. We thank our sisters, Sr. Christa Thompson who provides extraordinary leadership, and Srs. Helen Budzik, Clare D’Auria, Marie Angela Presenza, Julie Keegan, Jeanne Nisley, Margaret O’Brien, Jean Ustasiewski, and Mary Walsh whose many gifts nurture the life of the center. Their Franciscan hospitality has blessed all who entered that sacred space. Please pray for our faithful presenters, retreat directors, and the many program participants whose spiritual lives have been nourished over the years. They, too, will be impacted by this decision.
Living in uncertainty is challenging for all of us. Uncertainty teaches us to live in the present moment, awaiting each day to see where we are led and how we can be of service. This is the trust we give to one another each day. This is the new normal for all of us. We trust in God’s word from Revelations 21:5: “Behold I make all things NEW.” Stay tuned to the Franciscan Spiritual Center website as we await this NEWNESS to unfold.