Tag Archives: formation

Date Change for Formation Workshop

The dates for the Formation Workshop have been changed to September 17-18 (Saturday-Sunday). The workshop will still encompass two full days at Mayslake Village (Oak Brook), with no overnight stay.

All local ministers and formation directors are expected to attend, with as many spiritual assistants as possible, and others involved with formation. More information will be forthcoming later in the summer, but please reserve these dates now.

NOTE: This event replaces the Leadership Workshop for 2011.

Br. Joe Middleton, OFM Appointed New Regional Spiritual Assistant

As mentioned in the September SFO News, Fr. Don Blaeser, OFM was transferred to a new assignment and, as such, was no longer able to continue serving as our Regional Spiritual Assistant. Our Region has been working to fill this position, and we’re happy to announce that Br. Joe Middleton, OFM has been appointed as our new Regional Spiritual Assistant.

Having previously served as Regional Spiritual Assistant for the St. Clare Regional Fraternity, Br. Middleton has much experience in this role. Since his transfer four years ago to St. Peter’s in Chicago, he has worked with several local fraternities in our Region (most recently St. Francis-St. Louis Fraternity in Chicago), and has been the friar who subbed most often for Fr. Blaeser when he was unable to attend visitations or elections. In the November SFO News, Br. Middleton will share more about his life and his relationship with the Secular Franciscan Order.

Presentation and Handouts from Regional Gathering Available

During our August 1 Regional Gathering, Fr. Sergius Wroblewski, OFM and Sr. Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF gave a presentation on the 800th Anniversary of the Franciscan Order. In addition, Fr. Wroblewski shared a handout detailing the life of Christ with corresponding sections in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Because we received many requests to view again these documents, we’ve added them to our site on the Documents page. Thank you to Sr. Karecki and Fr. Wroblewski for graciously allowing us to share these resources here!


Celebration of the Rule: One Rule, Three Versions
Life of Christ: Scripture + Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)

2009 Regional Retreat: “Fire Burning in My Heart”

All Professed* are invited to attend this year’s Regional Retreat, “Fire Burning in My Heart: Keeping Alive the Franciscan Spirit”.

  • Dates: October 09–11 (Friday–Sunday)
  • Location: Marytown, 1600 W. Park Ave., Libertyville
  • Times: 4:30 p.m. Friday–2 p.m. Sunday
  • Costs:
    • Double: $125
    • Single**: $175
    • Commuter: $75
  • RSVP By: September 29 (Tuesday)

* If any rooms are available in the last week of September, Candidates are welcome to register for rooms. Otherwise, Candidates are free to attend as commuters.

** Please share rooms wherever possible as we can only accommodate a maximum of 66 people with Double occupancy.


Registration forms have been sent to all local ministers. Participants, please make checks payable to: Secular Franciscan Order, Mother Cabrini Regional Fraternity.

The Region is responsible for the full cost for all participants when providing the final count to Marytown, so all registrations must be paid in full by Sept. 29. Registration not paid in full by Sept. 29 will be canceled and deposits will be refunded. After Sept. 29, the Region can’t refund any deposits.

For more information or to register, email Mary Farrell, SFO at retreat @ ilofs.org (remove spaces).

Schedule Overview

  • Registration: 4:30–6:30 p.m., Oct. 09 (Friday)
    Dinner provided from 5–6 p.m.
  • Departure: 2 p.m., Oct. 11 (Sunday)

General Information

Transportation to/from the Libertyville train station will be available; if needed, please note this when registering.

About the Retreat Master

Fr. Benet Fonck, OFM is the Coordinator of Communications for the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor. In this capacity, he writes a weekly newsletter, prepares news releases and obituary notices, publishes a quarterly journal, and soon will be the manager of the Province’s web site, www.thefriars.org.

Previously, Fr. Fonck worked for 32 years in the area of spiritual assistance for the Secular Franciscan Order and was involved with updating the SFO Ritual, providing commentaries for the new Rule and General Constitutions, and facilitating a deeper commitment to spiritual life, community participation, and apostolic endeavors in the SFO. From 1980-1985, he served as a delegate of the Franciscan Superior General for all Secular Franciscans worldwide.

A prolific author and translator, Fr. Fonck wrote extensively for the former Franciscan Herald Magazine and his books include Fully Mature with the Fullness of Christ, and To Cling with All Her Heart to Him: The Spirituality of St. Clare. He has translated a life of St. Francis of Assisi from Italian by Gianmaria Polidoro, OFM and is collaborating on a text of liturgies and prayer formats to be used by Secular Franciscans.

Born in 1945, Fr. Fonck entered the Order of Friars minor in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1972. He holds a bachelor of philosophy degree from Quincy University (Quincy, IL), a master of arts in theology from DePaul University (Chicago), a master of divinity degree from Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union, and a degree in journalism from Marquette University (Milwaukee). He served as parochial vicar for two parishes and as the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in St. Louis (MO) for four years. Fr. Fonck has given retreats, workshops, and seminars for Secular Franciscans and for Franciscan religious; presented days of recollection to various church-based groups; and facilitated several parish missions and renewals.

2009 Gathering of Local Spiritual Assistants

On May 13, 2009, our Region hosted its annual gathering for all local spiritual assistants. The gathering’s primary purpose is to express our thanks for their kindness and faithful ministry to the fraternities they serve, as well as provide time for conversation, sharing, and fraternal togetherness.

Attendees of the 2009 Local Spiritual Assistants Gathering

From left to right, attendees were:

Bottom row: Br. Joe Middleton, OFM (St. Francis-St. Louis Fraternity, Chicago); Sr. Marilyn Renninger, OSF (St. Elizabeth of Hungary Fraternity, Frankfort); Fr. Chuck Faso, OFM (St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity, Crystal Lake); Sr. Madge Karecki, SSJ-TOSF (St. Bernardine of Siena Fraternity, Wayne); Vickie Klick, SFO (St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity, Crystal Lake).

Top row: Fr. Don Blaeser, OFM (Regional Spiritual Assistant); Fr. Kieran Kemner, OFM (NW Franciscan Community of the IHM, Palatine and St. Clare Fraternity, Oak Brook); Patrick Mendés, SFO (St. Anthony of Padua Fraternity, Oak Lawn); Fr. Ed Shea, OFM (St. Joseph Fraternity, Chicago); Fr. Jim Perluzzi, OFM (San Damiano Fraternity, Chicago); Fr. Jim Hoffman, OFM (Junipero Serra Satellite Fraternity, Northbrook); Stephanie Sormane, SFO (Regional Minister).