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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 in 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 guest, ordinarily on the first and third Tuesday of each month, for a time of shared reflection and conversation.

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Nov 16, 2021

Join Secular Franciscan Carolyn Townes as she tells her surprising story of the Spirit of God leading her to Franciscan life born out of loss, lived in community, and dedicated to bringing Gospel values into the world.


From Carolyn’s interview, referring to experience after death of a loved one, and 9-11 in New York City: “I like to exude laughter and happiness and joy, and to be working in the realm of grief and loss was just very antithesis to me and I couldn't, I couldn't even fathom it. But I realized that once you walk the path of grief and loss, that joy does come. And joy is that deep abiding feeling that's within you. That it's not the same as happiness. So you can experience grief and joy at the same time.”


“I even went to grief counseling and they kept saying to me, it will get softer. It won't get easier, but it'll get softer. And I remember thinking, how can it? It's just so heavy. It's so hard. But walking through it, I can see that. I wanted to help others to know that as well, that it does soften. You grieve to the extent that you loved; it's just a different expression of love. But to know that that loved one will never be on the same plane again, that you'll never see them, that I think is the heaviness.


“You don't realize how many people are grieving who are just walking down the street. And you don't know what's heavy on their hearts until you have a conversation with them and realize that they're going through something. So I always live with the idea of, just be gentle with people because you don't know the journey they're walking through.”


“The work of women in transition was to talk through. I love when women come together, they can share their stories. First they know: I'm not alone. There's somebody else out there with a similar story. And there's someone else out there who has been experiencing something like what I've experienced. And so to get that collective voice in the room, we can all then move from those pain points to that sense of joy and laughter….”


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




Secular Franciscan Order – USA: International Secular Franciscan Order: Another interesting resource:


The Rule of Life of the Secular Franciscan Order:


What is the Mass?


What are the Sacraments?


What is Eucharist and Real Presence?

What is a ciborium?


What is RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults?


Order of Friars Minor, First Order of Franciscans: Three main branches of this part of the Franciscan family include Observant, Conventual and Capuchin friars.


What is a Secular Franciscan fraternity?


Saint John the Baptist church, ministered to by the Capuchin Franciscans:


Father Mychal Judge:


Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, 31st St, New York City is an amazing center of service and faith:


Grief: There are many forms of grief, and many ways of grieving. Seeking out support in friends, spiritual companions/directors, counselors, support groups can help us process and work through loss and find ways forward in our lives.


Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for Secular Franciscans in the USA: Here is an example of a blog post by Carolyn:  


What are Catholic Social Teachings (CST)? A short video summary of CST:


Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet:

“(…) have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions

themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”