Advent: We Walk in Hope

– Br. Michael, ofm

As Advent 2020 begins we may scoff at the idea of walking in hope. This has been a trying and difficult year and we do not have a sense of how Christmas will unfold or how the new year will begin. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of this pandemic. Yet as followers of Jesus Christ hope is part of our DNA, it is written in fine print on our calling cards, it is the assurance that our God is with us – always, no matter what or when.

As we begin this short and sacred season, let us turn our attention to this hope. As we prepare our homes and our hearts during this season, let us seek hope in each day. The psalm for the First Sunday of Advent is Psalm 80 and it declares “Restore us, O God; let your face shine that we may be saved.” This is the gift of hope which is ours. It is the restoring hope of our God with us amid the tiredness of this year, the tasks at hand, the desire for specials moments in the season, the lifting up of a prayer and the reaching out to those struggling or hurting. It is the awareness that hope is not selfish, rather it calls us into relationship with God and others.

As this Advent begins and we long for the joy of Christmas to fill us, especially this year, let us linger in the hope of this season found in the message of an angel, in the carols we sing, in the quiet moments of prayer (even if only for two minutes while washing our hands again) and in the invitation to “Keep Alert. Keep Awake” (Matthew 13.33-37). Let us keep alert and keep awake for hope has away to sneak in to speak new truths and restore us, so that we too may shine like the face of God.

Week One of Advent is often called the Week of Hope, may this first week of the New Year (Liturgical) inspire you to set new goals, resolutions and restore your hope. Where do you need to incorporate Hope as we begin this New Year? The journey may feel long but it is always worth it.


In this season

we welcome sacred darkness

we also welcome patient light.


In this season

we prepare our heart and our home

and yet we are called to wait.


In this season

ancient carols and traditions find their place

inviting us into birthing newness.

In this season

our imagination is stirred

so are our prayers.

In this season

the rushing about here and there can hinder us

yet the gift of stillness always offers invitation.

In this season

we place our hope in the steadfast love of our God

who has come to us, is with us and will come again.

In this season

we are called to stand in awe and wonder

do we allow ourselves this gift?

Welcome Sister Advent!

Awaken us to your true gifts

as we walk in hope!

Artwork: Claire Ziprick

Keep Awake

Keep Awake – Br. Michael, ofm

Here we are launched into November with lesser daylight and colder weather enfolding us. I find this month often calls us to settle in, to listen differently, to take stock of what we know has been and how we want to step into the final weeks of the year. The scripture for this weekend encourages this settling into our heart, listening and taking stock.

The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (which is this Sunday, November 8) scripture presents us with the reminder of the gift of wisdom (Wisdom 6.12-16), and seeking true wisdom. Psalm 63 also calls to our attention our yearning for truth, as our body and soul thirsts for union with God. In gospel we are reminded to keep awake. To be attentive to God coming to us in the everyday (so as to prepare our hearts for the feasts that linger not to far off). Let us with the wise bridesmaids of the parable (Matthew 25.1-13) keep awake – be attentive – listen closely for the God moments that will unfold in the week ahead. They may come at odd hours or at inopportune moments but they will have a message for us and our heart, all we need to do is keep awake or maybe be reawakened to our God with us.

Keep Awake

Keep Awake

the reminder comes

as days grow shorter


Keep awake

with the eye of the heart

and the depth of the soul


Keep awake

allow wisdom to whisper

be attentive to hope


Keep awake

“wisdom is radiant and unfading”*

let us be like the wise bridesmaids


Keep awake

wisdom quenches the thirsty soul

nourishing also the tired body


Keep awake

not with worldly knowledge alone

attune the heart to deep truth


Keep awake

let thirsting be for fullness

aware of God’s steadfast love always


Keep awake

let praise be on your lips

let your eyes be lifted up


Keep awake

in the mundane of the day

while the mind races and the heart waits


Keep awake

the feast is plentiful

all are welcomed


Keep awake

listen, be still, listen

wisdom comes to an open heart


Keep awake

ponder the closeness of our God

consider God’s very breath in yours


Keep awake

whether morning, noon or night

our God comes to us


Keep awake

glimpses of the divine are all around

God’s deep care everyday


Keep awake

oh, thirsting soul

for the day, the hour is now


Keep awake

for the day, the hour

is here and again


Keep awake

Keep awake

Keep Awake.


*Wisdom 6.12



Advent 2020 at Mount St. Francis

Advent 2020 at Mount St. Francis


Twilight Retreat – Prepare the Way

Wednesday, November 25

6:00 pm (Supper at 6:30 pm)



Advent Retreat – Wonder’s of God’s Love

Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6

Register with Linda & Russ @ 403-932-1804  or



Each Advent Season the air is filled with Christmas carols which constantly fast forwards the season to the Feast of Christmas. Rather than fast forwarding the season, this retreat has taken the theme “Wonders of God’s Love” from a much-loved Christmas carol to anchor us in Advent. This retreat invites you to stay in the waiting of Advent while reflecting on the gifts of love, wonder and awe.



Christa Hesselink is a well-respected keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, retreat leader and certified spiritual director. She is the founder of SoulPlay. She holds a Master’s of Leadership, and a Master’s of Theology degree. Due to COVID-19, Christa will not be traveling from Ontario to be onsite at Mount St. Francis but will join us virtually to help guide the retreat.


Br. Michael Perras, ofm is part of the Retreat Team at Mount St. Francis. He has presented retreats for various age groups and settings and is a certified spiritual director. He holds a Bachelor’s of Theology Degree and certificates in Youth Ministry and Lay Ministry.


Day Away – The Price and Promise of the Gospel

Wednesday, December 9

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

$30 ($40 for private room)


Winter Stillness Retreat

Friday, December 11 – Sunday, December 13

A quiet weekend to be still in the silence during the season of Advent.



Twilight Retreat: O Come O Come Emmanuel

Tuesday, December 15

6:00 pm (Supper at 6:30 pm)



To Register for any of these Advent Retreats contact Deb at 403-932-2012

Monday-Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm


Greccio: A St. Francis Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 6

Check our website for updated information on this year’s virtual event.