St. Francis Library News

Welcome to our library’s proverbial hole in the wall—a window into all the “happenings” at the Saint Francis of Assisi Research Library.

Here you will find the latest library news, acquisitions, press releases, special events, programs, presentations, and book reviews, along with breaking news in the Franciscan world, advocacy issues, and occasional posts by our library director, Brother Allen.  Also included here for all those who regularly use nexus prayer, you will find occasional nexus prayer blog posts to assist with your daily prayer practice.

All entries are chronological, so simply follow the thread below to stay up-to-date with the latest information.  Want to read ALL of our news? Simply click on the date or title of any recent post to discover more navigational tools. Thank you!

Credit: Original photo by Fallon Michael Used and modified with permission by the Saint Francis of Assisi Research Library.

Public Announcements

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT | FEBRUARY 22, 2021
The Saint Francis of Assisi Research Library remains temporarily closed to the public due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic here in Houston and surrounding Harris County, TX. We apologize for your inconvenience and pray for the health, blessing, and well-being of all. A tentative date for our official grand opening to the public has been re-set for the Feast of Saint Francis, October 4, 2021.  Hope you can join us! Meanwhile, private tours are available by appointment.

“Q” in the News

A Qumran cave

The letter “Q” is currently getting a lot of bad publicity in the daily mainstream news feeds. I’d like to change that by reminding everyone that the most famous “Q” in the world represents Qumran, home to the the Essenes and the Dead Sea scrolls.

Discovered in 1946/47–1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls (also known as the Qumran Caves Scrolls) are ancient Jewish religious manuscripts that were found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert, near the Dead Sea in the West Bank.

Believed by most scholars to date from the last three centuries BCE, the texts have great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible.

Fragment of the Damascus Document

Like to learn more? Visit our friends at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston to see in person their original dead sea scroll fragment (not a facsimile), as well as an original Qumran Scrolls Jar on display.

 

NOTES AND CREDITS

Photo Credit: Photos of the Caves at Qumran and the Damascus Document Scroll fragment are in public domain and used with kind permission via this Creative Commons License.

Praying with a King and a Saint

A CALL TO PRAYER |  JANUARY 18, 2021

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is best known throughout the world as the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism of the 1950s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. We in the United States have observed his memory, birthday (January 15th), and legacy since 1986. This year’s observance is January 18, 2021.

With the inauguration of a new president of the United States in only a few days, and with the racial, social, and political division and unrest in our country this past year and in recent weeks, you are invited to join me for at least five minutes in a prayer of peace on January 18th from 12-2:00pm as we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18 is also the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. You are invited to volunteer with us any day of the week at Hope Center Houston as we all work together to serve our homeless community.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and for choosing to be instruments of God’s peace.

~Brother Allen

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. KING!

Today, January 15th, is the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

You may be wondering why I’m taking the time to acknowledge Dr. King’s birthday on this website and what, if anything, he has in common with Saint Francis of Assisi.  Actually, more than you might think.

Both Francis and Martin were visionaries. They saw the injustices and bigotry of their day and had the audacity to speak truth to power.  They believed every person was innately created in God’s image and foresaw a day when every person regardless of the color of their skin, race, religion, class, creed, or sex would all be considered equals. Francis went even further by considering his furry, finned, and feathered friends of the animal kingdom as brothers and sisters, along with Brother Sun, and Sister Moon.

They both were activists, civil rights leaders. and social influencers way before that was even a thing. And they peacefully marched with the rank and file of society—willing to fight, to go to “war” for what they believed were right and true. Consequently, each of them spent time behind prison bars for having the courage of their convictions , all the while standing up and speaking out for justice and truth for all.

Martin and Francis were dreamers. Francis was well known for his Divine visions, canticles, and poetry; Dr. King no less well known for his eloquent and famous “I Have a Dream” speech given in 1963 that  is still speaking volumes to us today.

They were humble. Although they came from very different family and socioeconomic backgrounds, both identified with the  poor and the poor of spirit of their generation. They became advocates for the “least of these” spoken of in the Gospel of Matthew. And speaking of the gospel, both men were preachers and evangelists of the first order. Well, Saint Francis actually founded three orders! (Insert smile here.)

And they were peace makers. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for being a champion of all people of color and, like Gandhi, was famous for his nonviolent campaigns, walks, demonstrations, lectures, and writings against racial discrimination wherever he saw it. Of course, the “Peace Prayer” (“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”) attributed to Saint Francis is printed, prayed, and sung to this very day, and Franciscans everywhere are known throughout the world for being champions of pacifism, advocating for the “least of these”, and greeting everyone they meet with the words: “May the Lord grant you peace!”

Finally, both St. Francis (October 4th) and Dr. King (January 18th) have their very own international and national day to recognize their contributions  to the world—which are too many to count. And although one was an Italian Roman Catholic deacon and friar, and the other an American Baptist minister, will anyone argue with me that they were both living Saints? I think not.

~Brother Allen

NOTES & CREDITS
Photo Credit: Martin Luther King Press Conference | © 1964 Original negative and photo by Martin S. Trikosko in public domain via Library of Congress and used by permission.

A Franciscan Prayer for 2021

2021 HAPPY 2021 NEW 2021 YEAR!


Dear friends,

As we begin yet another year of ministry and service at the library and to our homeless friends at Hope Center Houston, I wish to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for each of you, and that God’s every blessing and favor be upon you and all whom you love.

And as a Franciscan friar, I would normally offer a Franciscan blessing or prayer along the lines of “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” but instead , I’m asking God to bless you—all of us—with a year of discomfort, anger, tears, and foolishness. May we all be fools for Christ in 2021.

Happy New Year!
Brother Allen

​​​A Franciscan Blessing

MAY GOD BLESS YOU with discomfort,
at easy answers, half-truths,
and superficial relationships
so that you may live
deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of ​​people​​,​​ ​
​especially homeless people,
​so that you may work for
justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears,
to shed for those who suffer pain,
rejection, hunger, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and
to turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you
with enough foolishness
to believe that you can
make a difference in the world,
so that you can do
what others claim cannot be done,
to bring justice and kindness
to all our children and the poor.

Amen.

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