Do you need a retreat this summer?

Do you need a retreat this summer?

Mount St. Francis is offering:


Brother Sun – Sister Moon Pilgrimage Retreat – July 17 Saturday

A full-day outdoor retreat beginning at 9:00 am. This retreat includes a walking-pilgrimage, an outdoor Mass, eco-friendly reflections, and evening bonfire. Please dress and prepare for the weather and terrain. Bring a water bottle and small day pack.

$60.00, includes packed picnic lunch and BBQ dinner. Registration is limited.


My Soul Thirsts for You – 7-Day Silent Directed Retreat – July 18-25
Psalm 63 reminds us that our whole being thirsts for God. Throughout this retreat in the stillness and quiet, and through scripture and prayer the retreatant will be refreshed.

Suggested contribution: $650.00. Registration is limited.


Seeking Wholeness and Holiness: Our Spiritual Journey – Women’s Silent Retreat

August 6-8

As we continue our spiritual journey, we reflect on what brings us wholeness; how are we invited to a greater depth of character and purpose. We journey following Jesus as our model.



Soul Care – Women’s Retreat with Guest Presenter: Cathy AJ Hardy

August 24-26

This retreat for women includes both group time and space for the individual.

Come as you are and receive an invitation into soul rest, grace, mercy, and love.



Servant Leadership in Gospel Living – Young Adult Retreat (Ages 18-30)

August 27-29

A unique retreat for young adults. Includes bonfire, adoration and small group discussions.



As summer draws to a close help us launch the Season of Creation

Laudato Si’ – World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation
Wednesday – September 1, 9 am – 1 pm

Pope Francis declared September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

This half-day prayer retreat includes stations of prayer, eco-friendly reflections, Mass and a hardy lunch. Please dress and prepare for the weather. Bring a water bottle and small day pack.

Cost: $20


For more information or to register –  403-932-2012


The Body of Christ

– Br. Michael, ofm

The Body of Christ

broken and shared

for you, for me and for all.


The Body of Christ

broken and fragmented

hurting and grieving.


The Body of Christ

215 names we don’t know

families left broken.


The Body of Christ

bombed out again

broken hearts and pieces.


The Body of Christ

tired and broken

pandemic stricken.


The Body of Christ

left alone because I’m different

broken in my inflicted shame.


The Body of Christ

two sides of a country

broken by false promises.


The Body of Christ

stolen and held captive

broken homes left in tatters.


The Body of Christ

on foot across many miles

broken in the search of freedom.


The Body of Christ

discriminated because of color

dignity robbed, broken by force.


The Body of Christ

deforested and polluted

our sister Earth so broken.


The Body of Christ

you and me

us and them.


The Body of Christ

gift for all people

healing and remedy.


The Body of Christ

hope never ceases

rising up from the ashes.


The Body of Christ

stronger than our despair

feast for the hungry.


The Body of Christ

source of all goodness

holy and worthy.


The Body of Christ

balm for our heartaches

ointment for our wounds.


The Body of Christ

many shades of holy diversity

a refuge and a shelter.


The Body of Christ

here and now

back then, in steps ahead.


The Body of Christ

love is present

even if unseen.


The Body of Christ

our brother and savior

with us in our brokenness.


The Body of Christ

broken and shared

for you, for me and for all.




Photo Credits:

McKenna Phillips

Jon Tyson

Rui Silva






















Actions of Solidarity: Where is Your Voice?

– Br. Michael, ofm

Ethan Bear is a defenseman on the Edmonton Oilers who happens to be from Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan. I don’t personally know Ethan; I have never met him and probably never will and yet something that happened to him this past week continues to echo in my mind. He was the subject of racist behaviour as the Oilers lost their first round of the NHL playoffs. When I first heard this news, I was disgusted. I still am disgusted. It amazes me how we seek shelter behind our phones and screens to make ignorant comments about someone and their race. It is never okay to do this, it is even worse to think we have a privilege to this because of the power of technology we hold in our hands. Our phones can become loaded weapons which seek to destroy another person. A person who more often than not we have no sense of their life.

Ethan along with his partner Lenasia responded to the racists remarks in a video statement. They responded with grace and dignity. They challenged us again to consider what it means to be part of community and how love and kindness are our core actions which lead to healthy relationships and tearing down walls of racism. Ethan and Lenasia ask us to be a part of the change and are rooted in the hope that we can get to place where racism does not exist. Something he said which really struck me is that he is not doing this for himself, but for others. I can imagine that the sports world can easily have an athlete turn in on themselves only thinking about themselves. Ethan could have stayed in his own world and become bitter about it all and let it destroy him and his future. Instead, he is taking this moment to again draw our attention to the big issue of racism and how it remains prevalent in society as it impacts many lives. Ethan is challenging us to face this reality and do something about it. What can we do? It’s too big of an issue, we say. Yes, it is a big issue but there is something each of us can do. Each one of us has a voice and each one of us can use that voice for the good – for love and kindness. Using our voice on social media platforms, in our circle of family and friends, at community events and supporting those who deal with racism every day. We have to ask ourselves how are we doing this in our communities and in building relationships with First Nations communities, Peoples of Colour and all people? The other question we must ask ourselves is: Why does another generation have to endure the immaturity of not seeing the value of each human being?

As I read about Ethan and this latest stint of racist remarks he has faced, I was taken back to a year ago when much of the world was horrified by the death of George Floyd in the US. A year later with race related deaths on both sides of the border we clearly still have a long way to go. George Floyd’s death sent shock waves and called for change. Small steps have begun. We however must ask ourselves have we continued to raise our voices for justice with love and kindness as we strive for a world where the God-given dignity of each person is respected (no matter their life journey)? Through the racist remarks that Ethan faced this past week, which do indeed kill part of a person, Ethan is again calling to our attention the reality which First Nations and Peoples of Colour face. Yet he is calling us to move forward with hope. I choose to stand with Ethan and be a person of hope, using my voice to condemn hatred. I choose to use my voice to expand the circle of love and kindness our world desperately needs. How about you?

In the Catholic world this past Sunday (May 30) was Trinity Sunday, where we celebrate God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here is a perfect community where love is the dominate feature, kindness is an outpouring of this love and a collective self-emptying (as in not doing it for self) is the norm. Seems to me that if we remember that we are made in the image and likeness of God, who is love and functions in a community of love then we could tackle the ugliness of racism and move towards eliminating it. Together we can stand along side Ethan and Lenasia with hope for a future where love and kindness are the norm because we have done our work and raised our voices for the common good. That time is now, the future is this very next minute, and then the next hour and so on. We have a choice to make. As St. Francis would say: let us begin again.


Photo credits:

Jon Tyson

Andrew Thornebrooke

Priscilla Du Preez

Sharon Santema






















Pentecost: The Dwelling of the Holy Spirit

– Br. Michael, ofm

Pentecost brings to a close the great festival of Easter, reminding us we are sent forth as witnesses of hope, love and the good news entrusted to us. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to all people and as the text from Romans reminds us the Spirit dwells within us. This has always amazed me – our God that close – dwelling within us, in our every breath. We often pray “Come Holy Spirit” and yet the Spirit is already here. May we become more attuned and attentive to how the Spirit is living and moving in us. It need not be in grandiose moments but rather in the steps forward each day.



Holy Spirit

you who enkindles

in me the fire

of your love,

you who awakens

in me the depth

of your love

you who stirs

in me the joy

of your love

I welcome you here

you are here

with each breath.

Holy Spirit

you who are

so close to me

like a breath

you who are

so near to me

like the air

you who are

so entwined in me

like my blood

I welcome you here

you are here

my life-line.

Holy Spirit

you who moves

in and through me

dance with me

you who delights

in dreams and ideas

inspire me

you who rises up

in me and my living

guide me

I welcome you here

you are here

my companion.

Holy Spirit

you who are

the ultimate gift-giver

showing me how to give

you who are

the life-force of all

direct my living

you who are

God the source of love

my very all

I welcome you here

you are here

today, tomorrow and always.

My heart is your

dwelling place, tabernacle, home

you are always welcome here

you are always here.

Welcome Holy Spirit – the door is open.

Support of our Retreat Captains and BenefactorsHoly Spirit Province Saint-Esprit


Pentecost is the Feast Day for the Franciscans of Canada.

The Holy Spirit is our patron as we continue to preach the gospel in Canada.

We humbly ask for your continued prayers and support.

Peace and All Good.







Photo Credits:

Mateus Campos Felipe

Valdemaras D.












Proclaim Good News – Ascension 2021

– Br. Michael, ofm

There is a line in the gospel for Ascension Sunday which catches my eye. In the gospel of Mark we read: “They went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them” (Mark 16.20). In ages past I’m sure this would have been used as a conquering and propagation tactic. Christians would have used it as a means to rob truths from other cultures and try and be dominate – claiming Jesus was in their strong crusading arm. Sadly, this fails the message of the good news and the Lord at work with us.

I believe the proclaiming of the good news is proclaiming how much God is in love with us. How much this love is God’s mercy given to us time and again restoring, renewing and refreshing us when the filth of life tries to rob us from our inherent goodness and dignity. Proclaiming the good news is about seeing Christ at work in each other, trusting that his work is being fulfilled when we share who we are in life-giving ways. When we do this, we are working from the holiness which each of our lives possess. The good news is about a message of hope, new life and paths which lead to a greater awareness of wonder and awe.

               The Lord working with us is about our openness. Open hearts stirred by the gospel see the truth of the conviction of the first shall be last, the blessed will see God, the hungry and thirsty eat and drink in abundance, and our lives magnifying the goodness of our God. Each and every day the Lord works with us in our ordinary and extraordinary lives. Yet we doubt this, we seem to think this is not possible that only saints have this gift of the Lord working with them. We must stop believing this lie, for we too are saints and the Lord desires nothing more than to work in amazing ways in our life. Whether that is carrying for a child, listening to an elder, praying a litany of prayers for the world, volunteering at a food bank, cutting our neighbour’s grass, sending a card or leading a group of people in a mission project – the Lord is at work with us.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he didn’t abandon us saying: “Good Luck – see you all in heaven!” No, he entrusted us with the gift of his Spirit – which empowers us to proclaim the good news and see the good news in our lives. This same Spirit reminds us that the Lord works with us in our given life here in this time and place. God will not abandon us – children loved so dearly. What God does ask of us is to see how God is uniquely at work in each person, culture, nation and church. We are not all identical cookie cutters rather we are infused uniquely with God’s very life. When we can see this then we will truly see how the good news is being proclaimed and how the Lord works with us always.

The time is now. The time is ours. The Lord is working with us.

How are you called to proclaim the good news?

Photo Credits:

Adrien Olichon

Rod Long












Abiding in Love: The Vocation of Motherhood

– Br. Michael, ofm

One of my favorite things to do when I get to spend time with my mom is to rest my head on her shoulder. This means we need to be seated for our heights do not match. It often happens at the end of a day full of whatever may have come our way as we reflect on what was and consider what is in store. It is a graced moment; a moment where time seems to sit still.

Head on her shoulder moments seem to hold every moment in which she has held me, comforted me, encouraged me and sheltered me. Through a lifetime these can number a lot moments with each one providing a snapshot into her vocation of mother. As I consider my mom’s vocation of motherhood and that of the many mothers of the world, I can’t help but reflect on the words of Christ: “Abide in my love…love one another as I have loved you… go and bear fruit that will last”

(John 15.9-7).

To abide in love is to remain stable in love. Christ’s love is stable and continuous – is ever encompassing and it never falters. God doesn’t show us love in hard to grasp scenarios or philosophies instead God shows abiding love in simple concrete moments, like resting on a mother’s shoulder. My mom’s shoulder to rest on and cry on is a witness of Christ’s abiding love in my life. I am also aware that not every child has this encounter of love and witness of Divine Love. There are times when I rest my head on her shoulder that I think of the children who do not know their mother or those who have broken relationships with their mom. My heart aches for these children as we should all be able to know the abiding gift of love. May our prayers be for these children and for their mothers, for hope and for reconciliation.

Love one another as I have loved you is a call to action. It is not stagnant but life-giving. It means sacrifice and dedication. God invites us into this command by the endless gift of love poured into our lives and then simply asks that we share this love with others. Mothers have a way of showing love as real and tangible. Not only in tasks done where they lay down their lives over and over again for their children but in tender moments where an adult son can rest his head on his mother’s shoulder and breathe in the gift of God’s love that close. There are other times when I rest my head on my mom’s shoulder that I think of this gift of love and how it has infused my life because she has lived into her vocation of motherhood. I am always grateful for this. I also think of the mothers who struggle to share this love and to be present because of traumas and hardships in their lives. May our prayers be for these mothers from all walks of life that healing may touch their lives and they may know the gift of Divine Love.

Bearing fruit is a natural part of motherhood – we the offspring would be that fruit. We are in a sense a legacy of our parents and how we bear fruit gives testimony to hope and new life. We sometimes don’t nurture the fruit which is ours to grow and at other times we may even neglect. Still mothers choose to bear fruit and instill lasting values, qualities and opportunities. As a child who will never have his own children, I can see how bearing fruit is not simply about being a parent but is in how we nurture others and are present to others. This can be a bearing of fruit which will help transform someone’s life and set them free to love with the heart of Christ. There are still other times when my head rests on my mother’s shoulder that I give thanks for her nurturing and encouragement. How she has shown me ways to bear fruit that will last by fostering my relationship with Christ and by helping me to see the ways my life is bearing fruit. I also then become aware of those who struggle with being loved, struggle with their value and the gifts they offer; whether that is a mother, father or child. May our prayers be for those who struggle to see the fruitfulness of their life, may they have continual glimpses of God’s love for them and may we be heralds of their dignity.

My plan for this Mother’s Day was to show up at home and surprise my Mom. Although this pandemic has changed those plans again, I give thanks for the moments I have had to rest my head on her shoulder in the past and look forward to the next time I can share in this graced moment. Until then I am grateful for her vocation of motherhood and how I have encountered the abiding love of God as close as my mother’s shoulder.

Let us offer our prayers for all the mothers of our world, from all walks of life who bear love so to help our world love better.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and to all Moms!















The Fullness of Being Brother: Religious Brothers Day 2021

– Br. Michael, ofm


A common question asked to a religious brother is:

Why didn’t you go all the way?

To which a Brother will often respond with:

Pardon me?


To which the questioner expands:

Why didn’t you become a priest? Why did you stop at Brother?


To which a Brother will respond with all kindness:

This is not a stepping stone to priesthood or a lesser than vocation.

I didn’t stop at Brother; this is the fullness to which I am called.


To which the questioner will stare blankly or change the subject:

How about those rosary beads?

These questions really do get directed to us Religious Brothers or so as I’m also learning to other members of the fraternity. It can easily leave a Brother feeling frustrated or misunderstood. I like to take it with a grain of salt and as an opportunity to celebrate the vocation of being a Religious Brother.


Life as a Religious Brother is indeed a full life. I have never been made to feel lesser than or that my vocation is not as worthy as that of my Brothers who are priests. I may not have the same functions as a priest but that does not mean that I don’t contribute to the life of the church, fraternity or society. I have other opportunities that priests do not have and can contribute to the life of the church not simply in a sacramental way.


The fullness of my life as a religious Brother comes with ever changing roles and responsibilities. Some days I may be in full service to my fraternity, other days I may be serving the greater community and still on other days I may be journeying with an individual. Whether I’m cleaning the toilets (which is not a favorite task) or preparing the chapel I try to serve with a joy-filled heart. Whether I’m preparing a retreat or presenting one I approach it with an awareness of who I am in relationship with those on the retreat. Whether I’m companioning someone in spiritual direction or praying with an individual the dignity of that person is my focus.


The fullness of my life includes the privilege of praying for so many people and also creating space to listen for God’s voice not only in my life but what God is calling us to do here and now. My prayer life is woven into the relationships I have with so many people whether that is family and friends, or those I journey with on retreats or through spiritual direction or those who simply stop me and ask for prayers for themselves or loved ones.


As you can see the fullness of life as Religious Brother comes with variety. This would be true for any Religious Brother you meet. Our charisms and ministries impact the way we serve the church and the world, but at the heart of any Religious Brother is a heart of fraternity, service and hospitality. Every religious male or female, ordained or not claim these characteristics which is worthy and good and they should. I would like to think you can see them specifically exhibited and lived out with a fullness in the life of a Religious Brother. I believe it is what makes us approachable and relatable to so many people from all walks of life.

When I began my studies in Spiritual Direction, once the fascination of me wearing a habit wore off, it was the fact that I understood the stories and welcomed my colleagues from all walks of life. This is the reality of my vocation as Brother something real as fraternity, service and hospitality was not exclusive rather it was inclusive. Brother is not just a title; it is an embodiment of who I am and how I live my life. It is an embodiment of what a Brother is as one who strengthens connections between people and of being a companion, of being present and serving others. As a Brother, the value of relationships is so important for they foster a fraternity beyond the walls of our friaries bringing fraternity to the community, to creation and the whole world. Hopefully a compassionate, strengthening and healing bond of God among us.


I am I called to be a priest? The answer is no. Do I have some skills that I could use as a priest? You bet. Many people do (both men and women), but we do not all become ordained priests. In discernment I listen and pay attention to what is stirring in me. This was true when I began my journey to the Friars and continued through my formation years to my Solemn Vows and continues today. In the listening, in the quiet, in the sitting with God the word Brother continues to surface. I believe I continue to learn new ways of being a Brother for our fraternity, ministry and for our world. A world in desperate need of Brothers and Sisters who will listen and will encourage others to also build a more fraternal world.


To go back to that question:

Why didn’t you go all the way?


I respond with:

I did go all the way and every time I put on my habit, it’s not about being acknowledge or standing out, it is about humbly living out my vocation as Brother. Each time I put on my habit I am reminded that I put on Christ. I am also reminded that Christ is a brother to all and calls me to do the same in the specific vocation of Religious Brother.

And it’s not how about those Rosary beads? It’s do you know where I hide my rosary beads? haha!

May 1 is St. Joseph the Worker Feast Day and Religious Brothers Day. St. Joseph serves as a witness of working for the kingdom of God in hidden and even unknown ways. In this year dedicated to St. Joseph, I humbly ask for your continued prayers for Religious Brothers from all walks of life.

Much peace and all good!


Top photo credit: Emily Morter










Listen – Be – Do: Vocation Sunday 2021

                   – Br. Michael, ofm

The nearer you come to God in contemplation, the more you discover God as root of your action, author of your vocation, inspirer of your prophetic faculty, giver of your special talents. The further you penetrate the silence,

the more you feel yourself dwelt in by the Word.

– Carlo Carretto, Little Brothers of the Gospel

As we recognize Good Shepherd – Vocation Sunday the above quote speaks to me and my journey. Anyone who knows my story knows that it was not a lightning bolt moment which revealed a clear understanding of my vocation as a religious Brother. Those who journeyed with me knew that it was through much contemplation, lots of listening, consistent moments of quiet prayer, stories in scripture and purposeful dialogues which helped me discover another layer of my vocation.

I would say that from an early age I knew my core vocation was that of service. I knew I was called to work with people, both as individuals and in groups and teams to create encounters of life. To serve someone for me comes with a heart of hospitality and a desire for everyone to be part of the kingdom community. This gift of service was fostered through my growing years in our family business along with involvement in the local community and parish. It was also fostered by moments of quiet, time to create, time to sit with Christ and listen. I can think back to moments as a child of just needing to be quiet and as a teen of simply sitting in our church listening and even speaking with Jesus. I came to see that the vocation of service needed a balance of both doing and being. This has been a truth my whole life. Even when it is out of balance or sometimes skewed (as it is now in our current reality) I know that if I want to live centered in my vocation – my call to service, I need both contemplation and action.

Vocation Sunday is a day set aside by the Catholic Church to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It is a noble cause that is celebrating 58 years. As we continue to pray and encourage women and men to discern going into the harvest in these specific vocations, we also pray for those who are already priests and religious. It is in the encouraging that healthy vocations to the priesthood and religious life begin. They begin in the family home; vocations are not dropped down from heaven. I was not predestined to this way of life; I had to discover it and wrestle with it and listen well. I had to see living examples of marriages at work not just lovely photos. I had to see priests loving their ministry and those struggling to minister. I had to encounter religious communities on fire for the gospel and pray with church communities striving to build the kingdom. I had to equip myself with skills and then hone these skills of service so as not to simply be a gong booming. I had to have strong supports such as good friends with varying backgrounds, a reliable spiritual director, people praying for me (even if I didn’t know it) and random encounters to help me make space to be and evaluate my doing. All of these aided me in seeing how my vocation of service was one layer of the call to a vocation as a religious Brother.

Yes, Vocation Sunday is an opportunity to pray for women and men who are part of religious communities and the priesthood and those discerning their call to these ways of life. It is also a Sunday to pray for families, for parishes and the larger community to continue to be heralds of the good news, witnesses of the resurrection, examples of the renewal at work and places which invite conversations and contemplation as both the young and old fulfill their vocations. It is here that the still small voice awakening someone to the depth of their vocation is heard.

I come back to the quote I began with; it spoke to me because it speaks of connection. Connection with God. We connect with God through our relationships which fosters vocations lived well; lived for the kingdom of God.

God is indeed the root of my actions. When my actions don’t reflect the love of God, I am out of balance with my vocation but God does not abandon me, rather God walks with me until my actions are aligned again.

God is the author of my vocation, writing with me the story that needs to be told through my life. As God continues to author my story I am entrusted with the stories of others and their stories foster my vocation of service and of being a religious Brother.

God does inspire prophetic faculties or else I would have no words to write here, nor ways to create prayers or space for prayer. God invites me time and again to trust that God is at work and equipping me.

God is indeed the giver of special talents. Each one of us has abilities and skills to make the kingdom more beautiful, more inviting, more aware and more spacious. I do not produce these talents within myself on my own, I have to trust and believe that they are seeds planted by God and entrusted to me to grow and foster.

In my vocation I trust that the Word – Jesus himself dwells within me. He is the core of my heart, the lamp unto my feet and the thrust of my vocation to serve. He is the still small voice which whispers each day, “I am with you always… come and follow me.”

Photo Credits:

Gabrielle Clare Marino

Peter Dlhy

Christopher Sardegna














Easter: In our Midst – Mary Magdalene

                   – Br. Michael, ofm


Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance…. Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” 

                                                                                          – John 20. 1,18



Click on the link below to go to an experience of one the Easter Sunday stories in a contemporary setting. The video was crafted and created by Otto Rieder, age 12.


St. Mary Magdalene – the Apostle to the Apostles, is our companion for this Easter Season. She is our companion as we rejoice in the good news of the resurrection. She, the one entrusted to share the good news of the resurrection of Jesus indeed walks with us helping us to see and hear good news in our life. She is our companion asking us to remember, return and recall the gifts of being an Easter people.


Come with me to the empty tomb,

Come and see what I have seen.

Come and know the truth I know

come and see: He lives! He lives!


Come with me to the empty tomb

Remember his stories and ways.

Remember his message of love so deep.

Remember the promise: He would rise!


Come with me to the empty tomb

Return with hope and great joy.

Return to your loved ones renewed.

Return with good news: Our Savior reigns!


Come with me to the empty tomb

Recall that he will be with us always.

Recall that his new life is ours too.

Recall the gift: Peace be with you!


Come with me to the empty tomb,

Come and see what I have seen.

Come and know Jesus Christ is alive.

Come and see! Alleluia! Alleluia!


Saint Mary Magdalene

walk with us and pray for us.

Easter Blessings!



Alleluia! Christ is Risen! Alleluia!








No new posts for the next couple of weeks.



Icon: “Turn Toward the Good” – Mary Magdalene

Divine Mercy Risen Jesus

by C. Ziprick – Soul Sibling Studios ©

Easter Litany

Mount St. Francis invites you to pause and reflect on the message and meaning of Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus is such a profound mystery that we need time to ponder the depths of this marvelous work of the Lord. The Church sets aside 50 days to commemorate this glorious event. Let us rejoice and be glad! Alleluia, alleluia!