Clare of Assisi

A Saint for Today

August 11th is the Feast Day for St. Clare. Friar John takes this opportunity to send a big thank you to the Poor Clares and explains why Clare is the patroness of television. For much more about St. Clare (who was no shrinking violet) click here for an article by +Fr. Juniper Cummings.


Assumption Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Consolation


Please join us for the annual Novena in honor of Our Lady of Consolation, now through August 15, taking place at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. The Novena preacher is Fr. David Endres.

  • Novena services take place nightly at 8 p.m. 

On the Vigil of the Assumption, August 14, at 9 p.m. the statue of Our Lady of Consolation will be brought out to the front steps of the Basilica where we will pray the final prayers of the novena followed by  a candlelight procession to Shrine Park.

Even if you are unable to attend, please join us in the daily prayers. This year we will also be sharing the Novena with you via Facebook Live.
The livestream will begin approximately at 8:30 p.m. with the Novena Prayer followed by the Scripture reading and the homily.

Day     ONE     TWO     THREE     FOUR     FIVE     SIX     SEVEN    EIGHT     NINE

Assumption Novena in Honor of Our Lady of Consolation
by Brother Jeffrey Hines, OFM Conv.


Blessed Mary, Mother of Consolation, I ask you to pray with me now as I come before you as your child. Kindly be with me, dear Mother; guide me in your gentle way.

It was after nine days of prayer in the upper room that you, Mary, and the close friends of Jesus received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Behold me then, most kind Mother, as I too pray for nine days, in humble imitation of you.

Blessed Queen of heaven, you are the chosen one of our most loving Father. You are the Blessed Mother of God, our Savior, Jesus. You are most close to His heart. Please join your prayers to mine.

Pray with me, Mary, for these intentions, these needs that are on my mind and in my heart. (pause)

Above all, dear Mother, keep me always as your devoted child. May I ever have before my eyes your beautiful example of acceptance of the will of the Father. May I ever strive to hold in my heart the teaching of your most blessed Son, my Lord Jesus Christ.



Gentle Queen of Heaven, Mary, my Mother, kindly turn your eyes toward me. You who are so filled with compassion and love for all your children on this earth, be with me now as I kneel before you.

I call to mind, Mary, the joy you gave to this world. Your acceptance of the desire of our loving Father gave all of us Jesus, our Lord and our Savior. You in turn, kind Mother, knew the joy of holding God in your arms, of guiding His first steps, of bringing Him to manhood. It is with a heart filled with gratitude, dear Mother of God, that I recall the joys in your life which have given me a most wonderful Savior.

Blessed Mary, Mother of Consolation, through the joy you knew with Jesus on earth and the unending joy of being with Him in heaven, please pray with me now. Ask our Lord to assist me in this need of mine. (pause)

Grant also, Blessed Mother, that I may reflect the joy I have in my life. I am so blessed by Our Lord. His Gospel of love must always remain in my heart and on my lips.



Holy Mary, Mother of God, bless me today. Bless me and join me in prayer.

I am so lacking in patience, dear Mary. I grow so weary and unhappy at times. There are days when I even find it difficult to raise my heart and mind in prayer.

Teach me, most holy Mother, to turn to you as an example. Your life is a most perfect example of patience, acceptance and love.

How truly you can be called “Mother of Consolation.” You knew the ultimate grief of witnessing the earthly death of your loving Son. You saw, as so few mothers do, your own flesh and blood, hurt, bleeding, and despised, as He climbed Calvary. This most precious offering of Himself to all mankind, you saw mocked and ridiculed. Through all of this you continued to offer for all time the perfect example of a most patient and compassionate mother.

Holy Mother, I ask you to help me become more accepting and patient. May I ever follow your example and strive to make these virtues of patience and acceptance more real in my own life.

Pray for me, please, dear Mother. Ask our blessed Lord to make me more like you. Ask Him also for my very special intentions. (pause) Keep me in your love, Blessed Mary, and guide me always closer to your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.



Mary, Mother of Consolation, again I come before you in prayer. Help me to pray to our most loving Father. Ever guide me to seek in my life His divine will. Help me to hold before my eyes the saving life of your Son.

You are the chosen, Mary, for your magnificent answer to the desire of the Father, the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the request of the angel. Your openness to the Father has given joy to the world. The Son of God your Son and our Lord and Savior, became man through your answer.

Oh Mary, grant that I might offer myself to the Father as you did. Help me on the true path of holiness; this is the Father’s desire for me. Assist me through your prayers that I too might agree to the prompting of the Holy Spirit within me. Help me to offer others around me the example your Son expects me to be.

In a special way, I ask you to pray with me for these, the main intentions of this novena. (pause)

Holy Mary, I offer my prayers for all of God’s people, for the needs of all mankind. We are all pilgrims ever on our way toward our heavenly home. Watch over us and guide us; lead us to your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior.



Dear Lady of Consolation, Queen of Peace, be with me now as I pray. Join your prayers to mine as I bring my needs before our most loving Father and His Divine Son.

Throughout your life, dear Mother, you offered all around you a most perfect example of gentleness and peace. It is for that inner peace, that lovely calm in my own life, that I pray.

Help me to quiet myself in the midst of the activity around me. Guide me in the way of peace that I may seek the time to be still and hear the gentle voice of our Father.

Mary, please pray for me that I may quiet myself in order to learn more of Jesus, our Lord. Through Him we have the way to the Father. Help me to take more time each day for prayer, for deepening my relationship with Christ. Guide me in the way of opening myself to His peace.

Pray with me now, kind and gentle Mother, for my special intentions. (pause) May your gentleness ever be my example and may the peace of Christ fill my heart always.



Holy Mother Mary, again I come before you as your child. I pray with all my heart and mind for all of God’s pilgrim people.

Pray for me, dear Mother, for a greater understanding of the wonderful gift of Christ in the Eucharist. Help me to see in this most Blessed Sacrament, Christ Himself, the great and unending gift of the Father. Help me, Mary, to feel the nearness of my Lord. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, He truly touches me; He feeds me by His divine sacrifice, His death and resurrection.

So abundant is God’s love through this Sacrament. May I ever see this love, this grace, and live as a child of God, a child of light.

At Mass, dear Mother, our entire salvation unfolds before my eyes. Jesus, our Savior, comes to us, as the wonderful sacrifice to the Father is renewed. What a loving Father we have, and how endless is His love and mercy for all of us!

Mary, Mother of God, keep me mindful of this great gift of the Eucharist.

Please pray with me now, dear Mother, for these special needs of mine. (pause).

Ask our blessed Lord to keep me ever united to Him, and always close in prayer to you.



Most blessed Mary, kind and loving Mother, receive me, your child, into your tender care.

In your life, Mary, you always offered kindness to those around you. Pray with me now to our loving Lord, that in my life I may reflect you through kindness.

There are so many times in this life of ours, Mary, that kindness gives way to harshness. In the rush to “get things done,” I become quick and short with those around me. In my own little world, I often think only of my own plans, my own accomplishments, and I forget that I am only one of God’s children, only one of your children.

Dear blessed Mother, teach me your ways. Help me to take more time with those who seek my time. I want to be like you, Mary, in every way. In the rush of each day, remind me to be kind.

Pray with me now, Mary, as I place before our Lord the main intentions of this novena. (pause) Please ask our loving Savior to help me in these particular needs of mine. Turn your eyes, so filled with kindness, on me, gracious Mother, and help me as I trust so much in you.

I desire always the kingdom of your Son. Help me to finish this day in His love and under your kind and gentle care, Mother of God.



Holy Mary, Our Lady of Consolation, I come before you today as your pilgrim. My entire life is a journey, a pilgrimage. Constantly do I seek the way of your Son, as I move toward our heavenly home.

I am inspired by you, Mary. I call myself your pilgrim as you are my special Patroness, my gentle and loving Mother, leading me each and every day closer to your Blessed Son, my Lord and Savior.

Oh Mary, please pray for me as I continue my earthly pilgrimage. Ask our Blessed Lord to strengthen me each day that I may resist the many temptations of this life. Pray for me, Mary, that I may always remember that I was not created for this earthly home, but rather for our heavenly home with my Father.

At this time, dear Mother, please join me in prayer for the particular intentions of this novena. (pause) Look kindly on these needs and ask our Blessed Lord to help me.

Always be with me, Mary, as I continue on this pilgrimage home. When that day comes when I shall end this pilgrimage, I pray that you will stand with me as I see, face to face, the Father of all goodness, my God and my all.



Dear Mother, I now come before you on the last day of this novena. I know you have heard me, Mary. I believe you have prayed with me each day for my very special intentions.

My heart is filled with so much gratitude as I think of you. I have in you, dear Lady, a Mother of kindness, of gentleness and of consolation. How blessed I am to be your very own child.

In the course of these prayers I have asked for many things. I know deep in my heart, Mary, you have given me much more. Oh, dear Queen of Heaven, that I could face all of my days as you did, and pray that lovely prayer of yours, “Be it done unto me according to thy word...!”

As I end this period of prayer, please continue to pray for these needs of mine, which fill me with concern. (pause) Prayer can change anything on earth. I plead with you then, to remember my intentions to your Divine Son.

Gracious Mother of God, as I end this prayer, I ask you to guide me always closer to your Blessed Son, Jesus my Lord. I truly desire to live in His light, to be an example to those around me of His love. Pray with me please to carry in my mind and in my heart, His cross of Salvation and His Gospel of love. Oh Mary, Mother of Consolation, pray for me, now and at the hour of my death.



Lessons Learned

A Teaching Trip to Africa

Listen to the latest episode of our podcast Franciscan Voice. Friar Paul Clark talks with us about his recent trip to Tanzania and shares some of the lessons he learned while working in other parts of the world.


Sacred Repetitions

A Response to 'Mass is boring'

How would you have felt if your Mom changed the menu of your favorite holiday meal? Traditions are a sacred part of each family's history. Fr. Ken Davis explores how the Mass is the same type of family activity, and challenges all, young and old, to look at this old celebration in a brand new way.



Five Invested in the Conventual Franciscan Habit


On Thursday, July 12th, five men were invested in the Conventual Franciscan habit. Investiture took place at St. Francis of Assisi Novitiate in Arroyo Grande, California. For a year and a day the novices will gain a deeper understanding of Conventual Franciscan life through prayer, in-house classes, and other activities including outside apostolates such as hospice, prison, and hospital ministries.



Please keep these men in prayer as well as all those who are discerning their vocation.

The Challenge of Telling the Truth


St. John the Baptist by Jacopo Del Casentino c. 1330

Fr. Wayne Hellmann challenges us to follow St. John the Baptist by being truth-tellers in a world where the truth is not always valued.

Rite of Beginning Fraternity

by Friar Mario Serrano

On Monday July 9, 2018, in the chapel of St. Bonaventure Friary, Chicago, Illinois, eight men gathered before a replica of the San Damiano Cross to begin their initial formation with the Conventual Franciscans.

Christ spoke to Francis through the original San Damiano Cross more than 800 years ago: “Go and rebuild my Church…” Accepting that challenge was Francis’ first step on his journey of living the Gospel Life with his brothers.

These new Postulants heard these words from the Friars who gathered with them in the chapel: “Dear brothers, what do you ask of us?”  In unison they responded, “…We ask you to teach us to follow the Crucified Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience.  Teach us to persevere in prayer and penance…Guide our steps as we seek holiness through the Rule and Life- the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Each was then given a San Damiano Crucifix, the cross that initiated St. Francis’ own call to rebuild the Church, and received an embrace of welcome.

Eight new postulants with their formation directors

Please pray for these men as they continue to allow God’s Spirit to lead them to rebuild the Church. And may Christ’s mercy lead them to encounter, embrace, and accompany today’s lepers.

 Is the Holy Spirit calling you to embrace your call? 


Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. Meets with US Senators at the Border

Remarks to Senator Tom Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich, after being denied entry to the detention facility in Tornillo, Texas

June 22, 2018

My name is Fr. Tom Smith. I am a Franciscan and the director of Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park.

As part of our Franciscan Hospitality at Holy Cross, for over a year we have hosted Jorge Taborda and his son, Stephen, after his wife and other son, Jefferson, had been deported. We also had another woman and her daughter here for over six months.

Since November 2016, we have welcomed over 500 parents and children refugees from mostly Central America who are fleeing extreme violence and poverty.

I feel the anguish of Jorge, and the fear and then relief in the voices and faces of the refugees.

I went to Tornillo on Fathers Day and said a prayer for the many hundreds of families who are being affected now by a harsh approach to immigration policies, and again today to ask for entry to provide pastoral care, and was denied.

This is a moral and inhumane situation. Scripture calls us to welcome the foreigner, to treat them as we would treat our own, (Deut.19:34). Jesus in Matthew 25 states clearly the way we treat others is the way we will be judged. Is the present immigration approach how we would want to be treated?

Zero Tolerance is vindictive and immoral. Immigration officials may now say we are not separating families, but how long will it take to unite those already separated? And instead they are incarcerating the whole family all together. I hear every week from asylum seekers how the parents will receive one burrito or cup of ramen noodle soup in the morning and one later in the day, and nothing more while waiting to be processed in El Paso. One man with his child was there for 18 days. They sleep on cold concrete floors most often without a blanket. One 14 year old was crying with relief because in Guatemala the family was so poor that they slept on the ground, and here in immigration custody on concrete, and when they came to Holy Cross Retreat Center it was the first time he had ever slept in a bed!

It is not enough to say we won’t separate families any more. People have a human right, in the US and international law, to apply for asylum. Yet they are at times turned back on the bridge by an agent who says there isn’t room, or kept in very uncomfortable detention centers to discourage them from coming. We need to respect their rights from the time they are detained till they go through our legal system. We need to respect their dignity. Joseph and Mary and Jesus had to flee their home country because King Herod threatened to kill the child Jesus. Would we send them back if they came to our border and say “Sorry, we don’t want you!”

I recognize that in politics you may have to trade votes at times, or support one thing to get another, but further funding to militarize the border, to build more places to detain families, to increase the border patrol who are not subject to review of their actions is not acceptable. We have to take a stand in favor of the poor. Pope Francis says that we must be like a field hospital, helping people where and when they need it, not waiting in our comfortable homes and saying that’s too bad. We are called to smell like the sheep, because the shepherd stays with the sheep in time of danger or need. Do we want to let the wolves destroy the refugees and undocumented? Or do we walk with them? And act boldly for them?

We Are All Brothers


From the history, to how it has changed and what might be in store for the future, Brother Dennis Moses reflects on the vocation of Brother in Part One of We Are All Brothers. In Part Two, Brother Dennis answers some questions for us. What is the 3-fold approach to this vocation? What about the shortage of priests? What is Franciscan economy? What can we learn from the first Chapter of Mats to today?


Happy Feast of Saint Anthony


June 13th is the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua. Fr. David Lenz offers a prayer for the intercession of Saint Anthony of Padua and a blessing for each of you. As he explains at the beginning of this reflection and prayer, God cuts through time and space. Even though he recorded this at the Chapel at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, we are together in God's presence.