Welcome from Fr Stephen

“Every creature is a divine word because it proclaims God.” Bonaventure

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Franciscan Schools Australia (FSA) website.  We are proud of this site for your use.  We will be regularly adding to what is available for you here so that these pages become a living and working ‘creation’.  We sincerely hope that what you and your school find here will enable your community to grow in your awareness and love of our Franciscan Story. 

I am reminded of some words uttered by St Bonaventure in a homily …. “Every creature is a divine word because it proclaims God.” 

Some powerful thoughts from Bonaventure and a reminder to all of us that in our encounters with colleagues, students and parents we are in fact encountering God.

As you draw on the information and resources contained in this website, remember that they will help you to ‘proclaim God’ in your community.  

St Bonaventure was a very dedicated and popular teacher because he wanted his students to know all they possibly could know about the God who created them.   FSA wants you to use these resources creatively so that people in your community will learn to love the God who created them.  Like Bonaventure, we hope that you will lead your community to discover the divine presence within them. 

Welcome to 2024

This is a big year. Over Easter we set off on the first ever FSA Pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi – an exciting time for those participating – I would like to think that this is an opportunity for all of us to go,  thus I ask you to join us in prayer and accompany us in spirit as we set out on this ‘new beginning’ of making Jesus real through the experience of Francis and Clare in Assisi and Rome.

In August we invite all communities to join FSA in Brisbane for our 2024 Conference “In Our Own Backyard” over the dates 21-23 August 2024.

We have a fabulous program that will weave together the story of the oldest living culture – Aboriginal Australia, 2000 years of Christianity, the 800-year-old Franciscan tradition and our Australian story as we look at the Church historically and today. Additionally, you will love the fraternity of being with other Franciscans!

Can you consider sending some staff for great professional and spiritual development?

FSA would love to see you all at the conference. It is suitable for Leadership Teams, Board members, teachers and school officers. Everyone is welcome!

This year we celebrate 800 years Francis received the Stigmata:  being marked with the wounds of Christ.  Simply put, we all experience the marks of Christ – how we deal with them is the opportunity we all have in moving towards resurrection.  It is a reminder to us of how deeply St Francis wanted to imitate Jesus.  At La Verna with the stigmata, as Bonaventure recalls, “the true love of Christ transformed the lover into the very image of the beloved” (LM 13: FF 1227).

In celebrating the Centenary of the Gift of the Stigmata, we are invited to restore the dimension of prayerful and contemplative silence in our daily lives, the silence that places us in the stillness of our hearts.  Maybe in Staff Prayer introduce or re-emphasise silence in our prayer.  People feel uncomfortable in being still but it grows on you. 

After receiving the sacred stigmata, “Francis came down from the mountain, bearing with him the likeness of the Crucified, depicted not on tablets of stone or on panels of wood carved by hand, but engraved on parts of his flesh by the finger of the living God”.  After times of silence we ‘come down’, we are able to re-enter the ordinariness of life and deal with the ‘stuff’ around us with a new peaceful lens. 

Remembering and celebrating Francis being touched by the Crucified One inspires us to come out of ourselves and go forth “touching Christ’s suffering flesh in others” (Gaudete et Exsultate 37) at the same time, we allow ourselves to be touched and challenged by the dramatic instances of pain and suffering we see afflicting so many of our brothers and sisters around the world.

In this anniversary year, let us open our eyes and our hearts to embracing the pain many in our Community carry.

Enjoy this website and all it offers.

Franciscan Schools Australia is here to help you, so please contact us for any assistance you need.  We would love you to share with us how you are living the Gospel within your Community and we also welcome any ideas you have to help us to assist others.

Lots of blessings to you.

Stephen ofm

Stephen Bliss ofm [National Executive Coordinator]