The foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Mother Francis Bachmann, once wrote, “He who does not attempt something gains nothing.” She wrote these words in a letter to her sisters in Syracuse who had been separated from the Philadelphia community when local bishops had a need for sisters in New York. Mother Bachmann wrote to share the good news of the recently founded St. Mary’s Franciscan Hospital. In a time when the community was feeling great pain over the separation of the sisters unable to return from other dioceses, they still managed to look at a future that held the promise of something new. We loosely translate her words today to say, “No risk, no gain.”
Franciscans have lived boldly since the time of Sts. Francis and Clare in the 12th and 13th century. The Franciscan Volunteers follow in the footsteps of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia by joining them in their lived expression of the Franciscan charism—lived in today’s world with all its beauty and flaws–saying “yes” to God’s continued call. “No risk, no gain” reminds us of our roots, calls us to the margins, and urges us to move forward with grace-filled hope for the future.