The Saint Francis Foundation was “born” in 1993 ! We are celebrating our big family's 25th birthday in 2018! At that time , we embarked on the way of Serving love , to the call of our Lord Jesus Christ , in the spirit of Saint Francis, with his guidance. Not only did we get our name from our Patron Saint , but also our guidelines, our everyday decisions ! Because we look upon on our lesser brother Saint Francis as our spiritual leader of our community over the years , during that time we took in close on 6000 children, in 83 locations providing them with bread and reassurance , this is why we would like to consecrate 2018 in his honour!
Which are those main guidelines , that lead us in the past 25 years , and that we would like to continue to follow? In this reflection I would like to use three thoughts to set us as guide- posts in front of us :
1. Saint Francis only adored God, who saw him fit to present him with brothers, whom he loved very much. During the last 25 years my entire pastoral, pedagogical work was about the children , the colleagues entrusted to me into the presence of the living God. Together with our father Saint Francis I believe and profess , that God not only exists, lives but He also would like to enter into a relation with us that is a personal, living relationship, father-child, loving-engaged . God loves us infinitely , the purpose of our life is to reciprocate this personal, teeming ,boundless love , this is why our everyday work with the children, with the authorities, support, everything should be determined, brightened by our relation with God ! If we progress successfully on this road , then everything else will fall as a gift into our lap , but if we get bogged down here and we start to drift towards different goals then everything will turn into no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. within and around us. We learnt from Francis that the purpose of our earthly life is to adore God with a child-like love, to live together with others in harmony , to build God’s kingdom to one another’s joy, that kingdom where we all have our place, role, task !
2. For our father Saint Francis simplicity, poverty are not a burden but God’s precious gift, freedom, that is a prerequisite for our joyous lives, happy soaring. The Saint Francis Foundation in the very beginning was
very “free” as we had nothing and this way day after day we could experience divine providence, God’s Fatherly care. Even though we never took up any loans , we were never indebted , yet just like as the birds of heaven God provided us with our daily food . These meals at times turned out nicer, tastier at other times they were simpler, more meagre but thank God we can say that we always had plenty and we never had to do without. We set out with our father Saint Francis’ words: “ if they do not pay you for honest work then turn to your heavenly Father’s laid table “ that is beg humbly , and I would like that we stay at this plain table . We never asked a lot from anybody because we felt, if many can help us with little, as much as they can do without , then surely we solve our financial problems with that . Looking back after 25 years I give thanks to God and His trustworthy disciple our father Saint Francis , that I could walk the miraculous way of the gospel and I pray that all that is superfluous for us we do not hoard but passing it on , the wall of simplicity ,poverty may protect our houses, our homes !
3. I always admired Saint Francis, that the difficulties of life, , worries , problems never broke his high spirits, serenity optimism. During the 25 years I realised that there is not a single problem , worry , difficulty that can be solved easier in a bad mood, sadly than with optimism , light heartedly. Our father, Saint Francis’ precious legacy for us , his valuable gift meant for us, God’s redeemed child ’s happiness, serenity , love of life ! Looking back like this , I am grateful for this beautiful gift because this was the only way that made it possible to face up to the difficulties, hopelessness , and to stay afloat during the years amidst the worries, difficulties . The same way as the lead in a tumbler always helps to reposition it , Saint Francis’ serenity , his joy for life due to our state of being redeemed , helped us also amidst the many worries and difficulties to get back on our feet and move on , on our way of life .
I believe that these three gifts of our father Saint Francis can be the token of our big family’s future . In as much as one by one and together as well we can adore God , who not only presented us with a calling but with brethren as well , whom we have to love very much and if we can live up to this humbly , simply, joyfully , then under God’s sky, heaven there will always be room for our foundation , for our houses serving the children , for our educational/training centres .
Our Lord Jesus Christ can be followed in many ways , we embarked on the road shown by our father Saint Francis , and looking back 25 years later we feel that we walked on the right track and this is why we would like continue on this beaten track walked by the saints.
With the love of a lesser brother in Christ,
Böjte Csaba OFM
translated by dr kalotay eszter