Br. Mark of the Five Holy Wounds, OFH says, "I was born in upstate New York in 1963 and moved to California at age 14, where I currently reside. I have been a Christian for over 26 years, having first significantly met the Lord in my Senior year of college at a Baptist University where I stayed and completed a Master of Arts degree in Religion with an emphasis on Hebrew Bible with an ambition to become a pastor. I returned to the Methodism of my upbringing and attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and earned a Master of Divinity in hopes of fulfilling my ambition. It was in seminary that I gained both an attraction to the Early Church Fathers and to the theology and work of Saint Francis which caused me to call into question many of the deadly held tenets of evangelical Protestantism and caused me trouble in fulfilling my states goals. Five years ago, at the impetus of the Holy Spirit, I began taking a serious look at Catholicism and entered the Church. I have never been happier and know I have found my true home. It especially enabled me to fully explore the path of the Poverello whom I admired so well.
The Lord has greatly blessed me through joy and sorrow; triumph and tragedy. I am the youngest of five children, four currently living, and it fell to my lot , as I was unmarried and had returned home, to provide care for my elderly parents. I lost my father three years ago and my mother began developing Alzheimer's and Dementia four years ago, around the Same time I lost my retail job. I serve as my mother's in-home care provider which leaves ample time for a life devoted to contemplation and prayer, especially the hours and the Rosary; I have even composed prayers that align with my Consecration to the Holy Wounds. I have also undertaken to Consecrate to Holy Mother via "33 Days to Morning Glory" and am in my third year making that permanent on August 15th. I am able to regularly attend Mass and I even manage to teach at my Parish and serve as an assistant Spiritual Guide for RCIA and have a heart for the poor and marginalized in my community. May God grant infinite blessings to our community as we live, grow and serve our Master."
Br. Albert Cioffoletti, OFH passed away on September 30, 2018 - May He Rest in Peace +
From his Obituary... "My life has been complete… I have enjoyed the company of loving family members and good friends throughout the years. I ask that you not be saddened by my passing, but that you rejoice and enjoy the fond memories we have shared. Until we meet again, I pray that God will bless you with good health, long life, and peace.”~ Albert Cioffoletti
CLICK HERE to read his Profile
Br. Roberto Espina, OFH says, "I was born June 7, 1958 in Gubat, Sorsogon, Philippines. My father is Benjamin San Luis Espina and my mother is Florentina Datur Ramirez-Espina. I came from a religious family who are active in church service and apostolates. We never fail to attend mass on Sundays. I finished my elementary schooling in Gubat North Central School. I attended high school at St. Anthony Academy, a catholic school run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. I was supposed to enter the seminary after high school but my grandmother who promised to financed my schooling, died. To be able to go to college, I worked in Hospicio de San Jose, an orphanage, taking care of children with special needs (deaf, blind, mute, mentally and physically handicapped) and go to school in the evening. I finished my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Adamson University in Manila and passed the board a few months later. I left the orphanage to work in Arms Corporation of the Philippines, the only company I was in, until my retirement this July 1, 2018 at 60 years old which is mandatory as per company policy. At present I am still involved in the company because they give special projects. In most of my time, I am involved in religious activities. At present I serve as a lay minister in our parish (San Jose ang Tagapagtanggol) which is under the OFM priests. I am active in the Parish Renewal Experience (PREx) secretariat conducting seminars. I am also involved in the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) in our parish and in the Loved Flock Catholic Charismatic Community. Though hectic and exhausting, I enjoyed serving for free, I feel fulfilled and I felt this as my vocation. I did not become a priest which was my chidhood dream but I am very much attracted to religious life. When my wife died two years ago I tried to apply in the seminary but I was turned down because of my age and my two children who are still minors (I have three children, the eldest has finished college and already working). Same with a fraternity of brothers, my age passed except my minor children. As a discipline, I religiously follow my prayer schedules: morning prayer, midday prayer, evening prayer and night prayer using the liturgy of the hours.
Sr. Denise Szabo, OFH says, "I was born in Flint, Michigan where my childhood parish was St Francis of Assisi. I lived in Michigan until I graduated from college and then moved to San Francisco which is where I met my husband Tom in 1976. I have been truly blessed with a very happy marriage and a loving family. In 1983 Tom and I moved from California to Jersey City, New Jersey where we currently live. We have a beautiful daughter Molly and wonderful son-in-law Josiah. I retired after working 30 years in the Development Office of The New York Public Library.
I am grateful for the time and freedom retirement allows for prayer. I strive to follow our Lord and am especially drawn to the example of St Francis. I draw much inspiration and guidance from my Spiritual Director, Sister Mary Petrosky, OFM, my Cursillo friends, my sisters and brothers at OFH, reading scripture and spiritual books, as well as meditation while sitting, walking and swimming.
I currently correspond with seven friends who are prisoners and also attempt to help out the homeless by giving them bags of food and toiletries. I pray for an increase in my love, service, patience and humility and thank our Lord for his countless blessings in my life."
Br. Pedro Oliveira Pinto, OFH lives in Portugal and says, "I was born into a wonderful family that taught me to love life, family and all living things, respect others, be honest, have fun, laugh, learn from everyone, appreciate all, be interested in all things, enjoy nature, explore the world, and treat others as you would enjoy being treated. It has also taught me to share my gifts with others and to have a kind heart. Those factors have all played a part in how I live my life . I believe in balance, honesty, respect, compassion, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and enjoying life to the fullest. I do not laugh much as I cry, but both have a place in my life. Experiencing pain and suffering builds character , teaches lessons, and enhances the feelings of joy. I'm patient and like to teach and share what I've learned and my past experiences.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
Br. Charles Allen, OFH says, "I write on various Biblical and theological topics, including social issues. I am active with my local Catholic parish and with the Rosary Confraternity. Daily prayer and living the Gospel is of the utmost importance to me. I try to embody Pope Saint John Paul II's words, "Your ability to communicate the gospel will depend on your adherence to the faith of the Apostles." In addition to a Catholic educational outreach, I operate a Sacred Heart group which promotes daily prayer, Sacred Heart chaplet, prayers for others and their intentions, praying for the local pastor’s intentions, promoting respect for life and defense of the unborn, promoting respect and reverence for the blessed presence of Christ in the Host, a renewed commitment to Catholic tradition, personal study and devotions."
Sr. Elizabeth Collins, OFH says, "My name is Elizabeth Collins I attend Saint Gabriela Catholic Church here in Charlotte...North Carolina. I graduated from a Benedictine university Belmont Abbey College and majored in Educational Studies. I love animals... I have one dog named Francis and a cat name Kitty and a Pet raccoon named Luigi who has 3 babies right now I am raising. I feed all kinds of birds and animals on my property... God bless you!!!"
Sr. Jeanne McKillop, OFH says, "I am a widow. I was married 38 years when my husband passed away from cancer. I enjoy the company of my three daughters, two great son-in-laws, my grandson and my cat - they keep me busy. I live in a beach community and enjoy the ocean. I have a BA degree in American Cultural Studies and another in History. I love to read and listen to music. I look forward to spending my days with friends in conversation and laughing myself silly. I thoroughly enjoy the slower pace of old age that allows me time to appreciate Gods handiwork. "
Br. Robert Brown, OFH says, "I was born and brought up in Scotland but I have now lived forty years happily with my family in England. Recently, I completed over twenty years as an Honorary Chaplain in a Psychiatric Hospital as a lay-volunteer. Though I was born and brought up as a Presbyterian but I have been an Anglo-Catholic since living in England. St Francis came into my life thirty years ago through the influence some Irish Franciscan Sisters who befriended our family. I have followed the poor little man of Assisi ever since being inspired by his spirituality. Assisi drew me as a pilgrim several times and I consider it very special and a very blessed experience. Professionally, I am a Chartered Engineer, however, when I retired I read for a degree in Theology. Ten years ago I considered myself as a Contemplative Franciscan and have converted my garage into a ‘sacred-space’ where I pray, write and spend time in the presence of God. After Theology, I studied Latin and New Testament Greek, but lately, I realised that languages have become increasingly difficult for me now that the ageing process has blessed me further to travel light-footed into extra time. So I spend more time each day, weather permitting, in the garden among God’s wonderful creation. Prayer, Study and Work are the three principal ways I share my devotion to our Lord and are an integral part of my rule-of-life, which I adhere to on a daily basis after saying the Office. I subscribe to the Liberal Democrats politically and keep a healthy interest in world politics. For this reason, I follow the activities of ‘Pace e Bene’, who are likewise non-violent people. I am blessed with many friends who, likewise, treasure solitude as a means of advancing the spiritual life. Saint Francis has been for me a continual source of joy in the Holy Spirit. My vocation is enhanced by being a member of the Order of Franciscan Hermits, which has encouraged me to reach out to my other brothers and sisters, sharing with them the Franciscan love, fraternity, and spirituality we have in common, as we journey together, as solitary pilgrims along the pathway of life."
Pax. ….. Robert <°))><.
Br. Rick Mathis, OFH says, "I was born in a small farming community in south Florida where I attended the local Methodist church and attended the local Baptist run high school. I have had a rather eclectic work life over the years, from a radio announcer to a crime scene investigator to a facilities manager. I began questioning my Protestant faith while still in high school in the 70’s after being introduced to the lives of the saints, especially St. Francis of Assisi and St. John of the Cross (whose name I took upon joining the Catholic Church). I credit them, along with our Holy Mother, with leading me on my faith journey. It was not a quick trek as I was not received into the church until 1995. However, since that time I have attempted to study the faith, especially the writings of the saints. I have also recently moved to the Santa Fe area in New Mexico, yet I am not sure if this is the final landing spot that God has in store for me. Although there have certainly been the ups and downs in my walk with Christ, in the last few years I have been drawn to a lifestyle which includes long segments of solitude,prayer and study, while still allowing for my social justice work. I am still seeking God’s direction in how this will ultimately play out. In the meantime, I continue to pray for guidance."