Friday, May 13, 2011

A Gentle Reminder?

 Mag 65

 Photograph courtesy Tess Kinkaid, Magpie Tales

 I hesitated in writing this because it is so very personal but after much thought, I decided that I would share my experience and let you make of it what you will.

It was May 2005  when a friend asked me to speak to a friend of hers who was going to have surgery.  We will call my friend Jenny and we will call her friend Bernadette.   I had never met Bernadette but because Jenny had asked me to speak to her pre-surgery, I did.  She was somewhat on edge and rather afraid but I could tell from her voice that she was a gentle and unassuming soul.  Jenny had told me some time earlier that Bernadette had been blessed with extraordinary gifts.  The fact that I was rather skepical of this did not stop me from talking to her as asked and also finding out some information she needed regarding her child's education.

In early June 2005 I travelled to Rochester, New York with my then boss who was to conduct a four night Mission in the Diocese. We were accompanied by a husband and wife who were to provide the music, and their two young daughters.  We had a fantastic trip - the Mission was a success, I shopped at  o'clock in the morning and wondered if people had nothing better to do than be in the supermarkets at that hour(!), had my first and only taste of Walmart, met some fantastic people and spent the last free day at Niagara Falls.  The priest in whose home we stayed  and was to become a dear friend, was deliciously hospitable and the night before we left to fly back to Trinidad, he gave me a gift.  It was a beautiful mosaic plaque and the central figure was St Francis of Assisi.   Back in Trinidad I hung it on the wall over the computer desk.

Fast forward a few weeks.

I am now going to share notes I made at the time which I then sent as an attachment in an e mail  to my daughter who had gone to England for a few weeks to work in a friend's London Art GalleryThe names will remain as Jenny and Bernadette.

The notes:

Some weeks ago - end of May - I was involved in doing something for Bernadette, a visionary who was to have surgery.  I have never met her but spoke to her on the phone prior to surgery.

Friday 15 July 2005  - pm  call from Jenny - she had been to see Bernadette (the visionary) who had the following message for me:

1)   I was on a high spiritual level - could have said very -  cannot recall                

2)   I was to pray to Our Lady more

3)   Who is the saint that wears a brown gown that I pray to or should be praying to?

I do not know - thought perhaps it was St Joseph as I have been praying to him recently as  the    Patron Saint of Workers  -  job for......... (name given) on advice of ............(name given)

Saturday 16 July 2005 - 5.00pm Mass - Santa Rosa  - opened  my Missal and the page fell open where I have a picture of St Francis of Assisi .  I wondered if this was the saint I should be praying to.

Monday 18 July 2005 am - call at work from Jenny who had been to see Bernadette and there was a message for me.

1)   The saint wears a brown habit with a cord around his waist
2)   He is waiting for me and will help me
3)   I am to light a candle to him and pray to him
4)   He has sent signs but I have not picked them up.  Is happy that I now have and he is willing to 
5)   I am prayerful
6)   I suffer from tiredness and am very, very tired at the moment.  Have to be careful as I live in   
      a state of constant anxiety
7)   I work very hard and do not make time for myself


Fr ........(the priest in Rochester)  gave me a gift on my departure - a mosaic plaque depicting St Francis of Assisi and asked when I thanked him, if I realized it was St Francis.

On my return received an e mail from Fr........ (Rochester).  Told me he was going on a Retreat with some of the admin members of the Diocese and that he would be taking St Francis's Bros Sun Canticle to de-stress.  I went on line to check out the Canticle.

Saturday 16 July - Missal fell open at the page showing St Francis

End of notes *****************

After all of the above happened, without telling my priest friend what had taken place, I asked him why he had given me the plaque of that particular saint.  His reply was "Because your spirit reminds me so much of his".

As the months and years went by, I lapsed.  In August 2009 my boss was leaving and his parting gift to me was a beautiful 36" x 14" poster of - you guessed it - St Francis.  A gentle reminder?  It sits in my office waiting to be framed.

I have had more 'gentle reminders'  and I'm asking myself why I don't listen.  I think this Magpie was another little push to get me thinking



  1. Now you've got me thinking of 'gentle reminders' too, Bee, as I reflect on the Saint Francis of Assisi prayer. To me, the prayer is a gentle reminder that I can breathe again because I'm not really the one who's in control after all. ;~:
    'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference'....
    Inhale, exhale and that says it all in the Saint of Assisi nutshell!

  2. I always carry that prayer in my purse. It's been in there for years and years and is getting very dog-eared, but I love it and I love St. Francis. I enjoyed your post and hope you take the advice given and pray to St. F. more if you feel the need.
    Have you ever seen the film 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon'? If not, I would recommend it to you.

  3. Gentle reminders are good Shers! I love the Ssrenity Prayer too but it's not St Francis. It's Reinhold Niebuhr. Maybe you're thinking of 'Make Me a Channel of Your Peace'.

    Make me a channel of your peace
    Where there is hatred let me bring your love
    Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
    And where there's doubt, true faith in you

    Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
    So much to be consoled as to console
    To be understood as to understand
    To be loved as to love with all my soul

    Make me a channel of your peace
    Where there's despair in life, let me bring
    Where there is darkness, only light
    And where there's sadness, ever joy

    Make me a channel of your peace
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
    In giving to all men that we receive
    And in dying that we're born to eternal

  4. I think I feel the need Star. That time was a particularly difficult time. No I haven't seen the film but will look for it. Thank you for recommending it. I see it's a Zeffirelli.

  5. Heed those gentle reminders ...........

  6. I love dear St. Francis and have had a devotion to him for some time. We have several statues of him in our home. I like his devotion to animals and his very wise words. Are you familiar with St. Clare of Assisi? She was one of the first followers of St. Farncis.
    btw...good to see you on facebook : )

  7. Gentle, but persistent, no. An enjoyable and thought provoking read. Vb

  8. There are no coincidences...

  9. Yes Helen, I will.

    Ladycat, yes the Poor Clare's as the Order was known when I was growing up.
    There is another religious order affiliated with St Francis - Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother based in st Lucia and here in Trinidad( and if you visit that site you will see pictures of people I know.

    Glad you think it thought provoking vb

    I agree Kathy...........but every now and again one nees to be reminded.

  10. Dear Bee~ I believe this story is true rather than a vignette created to illustrate the life of St. Francis. Your faith shines through not only here but in your entire blog: the caring and serving of others, a spirituality from your devotion that would allow communications to come to your heart, mind, spirit.
    I was very moved by this intimate narrative. I believe your priest friend was accurate in matching your spirit with St. Francis's. I have the framed Prayer of Saint Francis in my studio which is so healing in difficult times. I also have the children's book of St. Francis of Assisi by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. which I adore (you know Americans and the Kennedys!)
    The saint I have been turning to recently is St. Anthony. I pray to him for an item, a word, a name... that has slipped my mind. He always answers me. I also have a devotion to Mary Magdalene... have even initiated a special woman's Mass on her Feast Day, July 22. Wish you could join us! Blessings, Margaret

  11. Oh Bee..this a beautiful write of the many miracles that are around us everyday throughout our life if we are open to them....I always loved Francis and studying the lifes of the saints...sometimes it was all that got me through life....write your book...blessings...bkm

  12. This is one of those post that, after I have read it, I worry What if I had missed this one?.... It is a strange panic, but a gratitude nevertheless, and then I calm down and know I was meant to read it so would not have missed it anyway!

    After my mother died in 2000 I had so many signs as greetings from her that I named them ICMs for Ironies and Cosmic Messages. You certainly are receiving them from/about St. Francis and I am glad you have renewed your attention to them. You've been blessed...

  13. Beautiful post, Bee. I love these personal kinds of signs and wonders. I have a vintage gold St. Francis medal that I wear to remind me to be a channel of His peace.

  14. Bee- what a lovely and thoughtful post.

  15. Hello Margaret - how nice of you to come and take the time to read my story. Thank you for your sincere comments and yes I agree that St Francis's prayer is a healing prayer. I used to have it on the wall by my desk and then had the place decorated and never put it back up. Now I will. Yes I know Americans and the Kennedys - they always fascinated me too!) but I didn't know about the book so I'll have to go looking. St Anthony is high on my list too! Having a devotion to Mary Magdalene is lovely and I live the Feats Day celebration. I am always fascinated by the fact that Jesus appeared to her before anyone else after the Resurrection. Women were very much part of His ministry and I believe their roles were played down in the Gospels as indeed they would have been at that time. Thank you for the blessings - returned with gratitude.

    bkm - I do believe miracles take place on a daily basis and sometimes we are so caught up in every day life that we miss them. I hadn't realized until reading comments here and elsewhere that so many of us have a special regard and perhaps even a relationship with this saint. That can't be bad. I can understand how much we rely on our special saint in times of disturbance in our lives - the secret us not to let go when all is going well! It happens!trouble. Blessings tenfold back to you and I probably will - it doesn't matter if no one reads it - I'll know I did it!

    Lydia, you amaze me - I shared something that I didn't for one moment think would have received the response it has and I find it so touching that you cared enough to worry that you may have missed it. You were meant to read it for whatever reason...........I love your ICMs - you too have been blessed.

    Thank you Tess - glad you liked it - whilst I do write personal things (Our House Series which is supposed to take a humorous look at life in our home!) I rarely write like this but your Mag pushed me into it!

    Thank you Kathe.

    My thanks to you and appreciation of you all comes from deep within my being - keep up your relationships with this remarkable saint and treasure any thing you have relating to him - statue, framed picture, a gold medal and know that we can all be a channel of whatever has been chosen for you. It's recognizing it.

    Now without wanting to go over the top I'm going to put up a picture in my side bar. A daily reminder........

  16. Finally got back to this after my first read through to read again and this time comment. I have always liked the Prayer of St. Francis. It has gotten me through some dark times. Thank you for putting it in the comments.

    I do wonder at times just what it takes to get our attention and if our higher power gets frustrated with us. Thanks for being a gentle reminder yet again.

  17. Yes Jacqui it's a prayer to have around!

    For me, it's a matter of listening. One of my favourite lines is "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46) - works every time. Brings a gentle peace.

  18. 29 November 2013. An update if this post is read again.

    Three weeks ago I was talking to a distressed couple outside my office. There was a priest known to me, standing a little way from me but as I gathered a few minutes later, near enough to hear what I was saying. The couple left and the priest began to walk away. After a few strides he turned and came back to me. "Barbara you have a gentle spirit. I can hear it in your voice. You remind me of Pope
    Francis in spirit and you know who he took his name from don't you?". !! Another gentle reminder! Thank goodness this man is not giving up on me!

  19. November 25, 2014. ( forward another year ) Update?

  20. The picture is no longer rolled up waiting to be framed!! It was beautifully framed for me as a gift by a friend who sadly is no longer a friend. It is on a wall in my home. I have photos of it either on FaceBook somewhere or Pinterest! I'll look for them!

    It did my soul good to read this blog after so long. Thank you for sending me back here Janet - another gentle reminder methinks from a gentle messenger!

  21. I am presently linking my blogs to s blog page on Pintetest and have just read this and all the wonderful comments. I need to go down on my knees and give thanks for yet another reminder. Spirituality not doing terribly well at the moment. I have said many times that when working for the Church if one is not careful, one can become spiritually dry. Going to Mass once a week is all very well but Holy Spirit top ups are essential!


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