From Father M. Raphael Joseph Guzzo, FBA
Former Director of Formation
Deceased January 12, 2004

Dear Brothers in Christ+

May God grant you His Peace!

I would like to tell you about our Order, which is a Traditional Roman Catholic Franciscan Community. Queen of Angels Convent, our Motherhouse, is located two blocks from Downtown Wooster, Ohio.

Our ministry is serving those young men who are recovering from mental illness, but, are no longer dependent on institutionalization. This is an expression of our great love for the poor and our deep desire that every man be given a second chance and be reconciled with himself, his society and with God.

Our postulancy is three to six months ending with an eight day retreat. Novitiate begins then with the reception of our dark blue Franciscan habit, in honor of Our Lady, and lasts one year. At the end of the novitiate, the Brother petitions the community for the first one year profession which is repeated three years. After the triennial vows are completed, the Brother petitions again for final Profession. If the professed Brother is a cleric, he continues his studies for the Priesthood.

Saint Francis was a Brother. God called him to that vocation. He never said a Mass, he never heard a confession. He never anointed a dying man. But in almost perfect imitation of Christ, he did do what God wanted him to do; perfect himself and glorify God. This special man, in a very special way, was to help others in their struggle for salvation.

Today that same Divine Master calls the Brothers of the Annunciation of Mary. Our Lord was poor ... we would be poor. Our Lord was pure ... the Brothers would be pure. Our Lord was obedient to His heavenly Father ... the Brothers would be obedient.

Today, as Brothers dedicated to Our Lady in the Annunciation, we work among the lepers of our society; the poorest of God's poor. We choose the mystery of the Annunciation because of our work among those who are chemically dependent and because of their anonymity. Our motto is to do good and to disappear. Jesus began our redemption hidden in the womb of our dear Blessed Mother. We, like Mary, wish to Incarnate Jesus where He is not known, or where He has been forgotten. Our life is a life of prayer and penance, action and virtue, deeply rooted in the Holy Eucharist.

In observing that same awe-inspiring Rule of Saint Francis, we know it, too, will be our guide to heaven. We are God's troubadours trodding in many different areas of apostolic work among the poor. We see Jesus as the Poorest of the Poor. We are Brothers who are proud to be poor. Committing ourselves to a simple following of Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis, we believe that the Rule of life is the work of the Holy Ghost and that it gives us a unique role in the mission of the Church to live and proclaim the joyful Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of a world in need, as the larks of Umbria. We are committed to love and to joy, like our Lady, and with an ardent love of her we strive to imitate her complete self giving.

We detach ourselves from temporal goods by simplifying our material needs. We are mindful, according to the Gospel, of being stewards of the goods received for the benefit of all God's children. Our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience free us to give to and to love all people until it hurts.

The witness of 'Brothers' calls men like ourselves to live for the sake of others. Brothers commit their lives to the Church and the world as family members commit themselves to one another. As members of the Church, our prophetic ministry is for the sake of the poor people of the world. We choose to live a radical style of life. This frees us and helps us 'be' for others; a kind of ministry of 'presence' one might say.

Through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist in the Church we have been given certain charisms -- signs of the Spirit's life in us, signs of the Father's love for us. Our personal gifts and talents are used for the building up the Body of Christ by performing certain specific ministries. All for the Kingdom of God! In ministries, our professional, para-professional, and volunteer abilities merge with our talents and charisms.

In specific ministries we repeat Jesus' ministry which is characterized as being for others, as being sacrificial and self giving, as being motivated by unselfish love. To be able to draw others nearer to our Eucharistic Lord. Our ministry actively involves us in the Church.

The apostolates open to us are in the area of community-building, spreading the Gospel message, serving the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the people and, therefore, contributing to their spiritual life.

In the areas mentioned above, by the actuality of working in and among them requires an understanding of Scripture, the Church, the study of Jesus and Saint Francis, the Sacraments, the moral life of a Christian and Franciscan spirituality. We need to integrate this knowledge through our continued formation. We have been called to participate in the mission of Christ. Some of us are called to exercise a leadership role in specific ministries.

God's Will is done in me when my will is with constancy bent to His whatever it may be; When all that I want or want to want is what He wants. For in God's eyes my success is not that in the end I have done what I tried to do, but that up to the end I have tried to do it. (Source unsure.)

Hopefully we have given you a brief picture of what we do here. Visit us when you can. Depend on our prayers. Stay close to Jesus in the Eucharist and Mary, too. Lean on Saint Joseph. May God always bless you.

Write to:

Reverend Father M. Gabriel Ward, FBA
Director of Formation
Queen of Angels Convent
245 North Buckeye St
Wooster OH 44691-3573
PH (330) 465-3124

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