Fraternity formation teams got a crash course in how to plan for days of reflection or retreats, thanks to the Alma Kraus Memorial Formation Workshop held Oct. 8-10, 2010 at Stella Maris Retreat Center in Skaneateles, NY.
Former National Formation Co-Chair Teresa Baker, SFO, guided some 45 formation directors, ministers and other Secular Franciscans from some 25 fraternities through a “Praxis” activity, where they saw how to build a lesson plan around a practical activity. In her example, she had them reflect on the San Damiano Cross and ultimately asked them to make a small life-changing choice in their spiritual life or in how they live the Secular Franciscan Rule.
Participants spent much of the second day developing the pieces for their own customized days of reflection, and then, as an added treat, Baker presented them with Giotto’s frescoes, which highlight the life of St. Francis at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi where the saint is entombed. In viewing some of the life-changing events in Francis’ life, she asked participants to zero in on events in their own lives that they related to individual frescoes, and to reflect on each event and how it led to change in their life today.
The workshop was sponsored and funded by the Alma Kraus Fund at St. Bonaventure University. Alma Kraus was a Secular Franciscan from the Buffalo area who bequeathed a source of funding to provide formation education and training.
The workshop was coordinated by the Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha Region Formation Team headed by Regional Minister Mary Frances Charsky, SFO, and Formation Director Donna Roberti, SFO.
Regional Spiritual Assistant Richard Trezza, OFM, offered daily mass and participated in a closing panel discussion. Father Richard gave an overview of what the National Formation Team is planning, including a 2011 national formation workshop to introduce guidelines from the international and national fraternities. Titled “Forming the Formators,” that national workshop will take place May 12-15, 2011 at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL.