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Are you restless or hungry for more in your life? Are you seeking wisdom or looking for inspiration? The gospel gave guidance to Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi as they followed the footprints of Jesus some 800 years ago. The witness of their lives and values continue to inspire those of us on a spiritual journey today. Join Sister Michelle L’Allier and her guests for a time of shared reflection and conversation.

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Sep 7, 2021

Join Franciscan Cojourner Cathy Nelson as she breaks open the beauty of belonging, the music and mystery of the God’s love poured out in Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the invitation for us to respond in love.  

From Cathy’s interview: “It became clear that we were not going to be having another baby, but that I was going to be birthing music. And there you go. So now I have had a lot more children. And just like a child, they're born, you shape them, you form them and then you have to let them go. One of the hardest parts about being a composer is when somebody else plays my song and I don't like the tempo or the style, or it's like, no, no, no, that's not how it goes. I remember that saying about giving children wings. You can no longer control anything. And so I can't control my little baby songs or my, let's say my adult songs. They need to move on and, in a sense, have a life of their own. …

My journey is one of an ever broadening and deepening understanding of this mystery that we call God…. In terms of contemporary reality, with all the divisiveness I think Franciscan spirituality does call us to an ever-expanding inclusiveness, to understand that no matter where you have come from, no matter what part of society you are in, no matter what part of creation you are in, that you belong. I really think that is one of the core values, Franciscan values, that incorporates care for the poor, care for the earth, speaking out for the powerless.  Action based on contemplation because in the contemplation we think about what we're going to do in the context of the whole. I really think an expanding sense of inclusiveness and it's what we need right now in our country, in our world. …

God's intent is love, not condemnation. How do I share that love? So the wisdom is reflecting on, how am I being called to share the love of Christ with others? And Francis said, Christ has shown me what is mine to do, now...  I'm paraphrasing... It's up to you to know what is yours to do. I think the wisdom is understanding that since we all function within a web of relationships, we each have an individual charism or giftedness that is to be shared.

But with the understanding that all that I have is from God, which is the basis, I think, of Franciscan poverty, humility, that the wisdom in the concept of poverty is not that I have to be wanting for food, but it's that I know that everything I have is a gift and that God has a special way to use my particular charisms.”

For a full transcript, please include episode number and email:



Newman Centers: What is a Newman Center? For further information:

Secular Franciscan Order: USA site: A general history:  

Rochester Franciscan Sisters: located in Rochester, Minnesota:

Francis and Clare sources: for a searchable database of early documents and further resources see the Franciscan Intellectual-Spiritual Tradition (CFIT) website:  Hardcopy sources are available at:

Regis Armstrong on Saint Clare: in addition to the above CFIT source, early Clare of Assisi documents are available in hard copy: For more about Franciscan Friar Regis Armstrong:

Ilia Delio wrote ‘Simply Bonaventure: An Introduction to His Life, Thought , and Writings’:

Cathy noted in her interview that this book “has a lot in it about the Trinity. And that just blew my mind, talking about God as the fountain fullness. This idea of love flowing out into the form of Jesus. And then the love between them flowing out as the Holy Spirit, and that they're a community of love.” See:

Richard Rohr: a Franciscan friar, prolific author and presenter; here is his bio:

Cathy Tisel Nelson: Cathy’s website ( includes her Franciscan songs:  

Engaging Franciscan Spirituality (EFS): an educational and formational program sponsored by the Franciscan Life Center; currently on a year of sabbatical. Some information is here:

Incarnational Christology of Franciscan theology: Some short informational articles, including Custodian articles #1 and #12, are good beginning reading; see:

Spiritual Directors and Spiritual Direction: Spiritual directors accompany individuals or groups in deepening their spiritual lives and their relationship with God. See interview with Teresa Blythe:; for further exploration, listen to Sister Michelle at: