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Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter
June 2023


From a Reader:

After reading your May newsletter I copied the portion of your financial section to a few friends to which my friend replied - see below.  Isn’t it wonderful what can be done by this family in today’s day and age.  Thanks for this formative article and prayers for the Catholic families living within their means:

Great article!  Reminds me of how my son David and his wife live. 

My son David made $12 at a job.  He got married and had a baby, had a very old used car, paid off all college debt and lived on “beans and rice “ and had no debt.  He still has no debt besides his home. Paid cash for used van, has a used Toyota van with over 100000 miles. Has savings for college for kiddos.  He now has 7 kids.  I’m to tough… they always buy used clothes , but bulk I think, hand me downs.  Live frugally.  And …they tithe10%every month to pro life organizations.  We’ve just gotten too materialistic.  Could live on so much less.  Good article! Lilli



In response to the Eucharistic Revival called for by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, our Spiritual Guardian Fr. Joseph Tuscan recommended that we share, in several issues of the newsletter, Saint Francis’ words on the Eucharist.


From Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, The Saint,  edited by Regis J. Armstrong, J.A. Wayne Hellmann and William J. Short  (New York: New City Press, 1999).

All those who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind, with their whole strength [Mk 12:30], and love their neighbors as themselves, who hate their bodies with their vices and sins, who receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and who produce worthy fruits of penance. O how happy and blessed are these men and women while they do such things and persevere in doing them, because the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them and make  [Is 11:2] Its home and dwelling place [Jn 14:23] among them, and they are children of the heavenly Father Whose works they do, and they are spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. … (FA:ED, vol. 1, pages 41-42) 

All those men and women who are not living in penance, who do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who practice vice and sin and walk after the evil concupiscence and the evil desires of their flesh, who do not observe what they have promised to the Lord, and who in their body serve the world through the desires of the flesh, the concerns of the world and the cares of this life: They are held captive by the devil, whose children they are, and whose works they do. They are blind because they do not see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ. They do not possess spiritual wisdom because they do not have the Son of God, the true wisdom of the Father. It is said of them: Their wisdom has been swallowed up [Ps 107:27] and Cursed are those who turn away from your commands [Ps 119:21]. They see and acknowledge, know and do evil, and knowingly lose their souls. … (FA:ED, vol. 1, page 43)




From Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, The Saint,  edited by Regis J. Armstrong, J.A. Wayne Hellmann and William J. Short  (New York: New City Press, 1999).


Excerpts from: Later Exhortation to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance (Second Version of the Letter to the Faithful.) Comparing this to the First Exhortation shows how Saint Francis developed the theme a few years later. Note the common thread on the Real Presence, the admonition to those who disbelieve, and the importance of a true spirit of confession and a fervent reception of Holy Communion as sure means to increase in sanctity.


… The most high Father made known from heaven through His holy angel Gabriel this Word of the Father – so worthy, so holy and glorious – in the womb of the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, from whose womb He received the flesh of our humanity and frailty. Though He was rich [2 Cor 8:9], He wished, together with the most Blessed Virgin, His mother, to choose poverty in the world beyond all else.

And as His Passion was near, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples and, taking bread, gave thanks, blessed and broke it, saying: Take and eat: This is My Body [Mt 26:26]. And taking the cup He said: This is My Blood of the New Covenant which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins [Mt 26:28]. Then He prayed to His Father, saying: Father, if it can be done, let this cup pass from me [Lk 22:42]. And His sweat became as drops of blood falling on the ground [Lk 22:44]. Nevertheless, He placed His will in the will of His Father, saying: Father, let Your will be done; not as I will, but as You will [Mt 26:42; Mt 26:39]. His Father’s will was such that His blessed and glorious Son, Whom He gave to us and Who was born for us, should offer Himself through His own blood as a sacrifice and oblation on the altar of the cross: not for Himself through Whom all things were made [Jn 1:3], but for our sins, leaving us an example that we might follow His footprints [1 Pt 2:21].

And He wishes all of us to be saved through Him and receive Him with our heart pure and our body chaste. But, even though His yoke is easy and His burden light [Mt 11:30], there are few who wish to receive Him and be saved through Him. Those who do not wish to taste how sweet the Lord is and who love the darkness more than the light [Ps 34:9; Jn 3:19], not wishing to fulfill God’s commands, are cursed; it is said of them by the prophet: Cursed are those who stray from your commands [Ps 119:21]. (FA:ED, vol. 1, page 46) 

… We must, of course, confess all our sins to a priest and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ from him. Whoever does not eat His flesh and drink His blood cannot enter the kingdom of God [Jn 6:54,57; Jn 3:5]. But let him eat and drink worthily because anyone who receives unworthily, not distinguishing, that is, not discerning, the Body of the Lord, eats and drinks judgment on himself [1 Cor 11:29]. (FA:ED, vol. 1, page 47) 

… We must also frequently visit churches and venerate and revere the clergy not so much for themselves, if they are sinners, but because of their office and administration of the most holy Body and Blood of Christ which they sacrifice upon the altar, receive and administer to others. And let all of us know for certain that no one can be saved except through the holy words and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which the clergy pronounce, proclaim and minister. (FA:ED, vol. 1, pages 47-48).

Commentary: Note how Francis connects a moral life with the fervent reception of the Holy Eucharist. Fervent means belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. We need only to look at the lives of the saints who reverently received and adored our Lord to see how this leads to virtuous living. On the contrary, those who neglect the Blessed Sacrament, disbelieve it, or even mock it often fall into other moral errors and grow in their attachment to worldly goods and secular concerns. The first path is spiritually freeing and joyful; the second is involuntary apathy or even enslavement to worldly concerns. Francis’ focus was to lead his audience to the path to God. May it be our focus as well.



As shadows loom and darkness falls

Like a thief in the night He calls.


He comes in glory with angels bright

To those who struggle through the Night.


My heart is weary with loving sighs

My soul still searching but for nigh.


With faith and hope I yearn for Him

My journey spent with love for Him.


Now He comes with angels at night

And takes my soul to His Eternal Light!


Tis now is the time for the Lord!


-- Mary Ann Shanahan, CfP

HUMOR (contributed by Eric Welch, CfP)


  • Have you ever noticed that too many people are judgmental?  I can tell just by looking at them.

  • Winning an argument in social media (Twitter, Facebook), is the same as being rich in Monopoly.

  • An evil scientist cloned himself, but he had a problem; the clone could not stop swearing. Every time he'd ask the clone a question, his answer was laced with profanity. One day, he got so angry that he pushed him out the window. The scientist was arrested ... and charged with "making an offensive clone fall."


Being called to live this rule of life of the Confraternity of Penitents is being called to live a life of continual penance. We need to continually look at our lives and how we spend our time and discern what needs weeded out to make time for the Rule. This is both beautiful and challenging especially when you have a family. I felt called to live this rule after my “reversion” to the church. I was so happy to be “home” that I wanted to do more. I found the CfP online and knew immediately that living a rule of life was what I could do to help me grow in holiness, keep me on the right track and that giving of my time daily to the Lord was my gift to Him. When I started formation in the confraternity I had a husband, 4 children, of whom I was homeschooling, working part time as a Critical Care Nurse and teaching nursing students part time. By the time I made my life pledge about 4 years later I had six children the youngest of whom was 8 weeks old and attended the retreat with me for my pledging Mass. In that time I had also decided to be full time stay at home homeschooling mom. In these last 8 years since pledging, my life has had some crazy ups and downs. My family personally experienced 2 very difficult situations that dealt with the church and my faith was greatly shaken. This is life, these times are going to come and we are going to need to deal with them. They are going to be life altering and faith shaking but the constant in all is the Rule.

When I decided to embark on this journey of discernment with the Confraternity I thought it was me having the opportunity to do something for the Lord but truly He called me to this life because He knew how much I would need it. It was actually His gift to me. This rule is the grounding that I needed in the crazy times of life even though I was not living it out very well or fully during those times. It was what I needed because through pledging your life in this Confraternity you are benefitting from prayers of all the members. It is a great comfort to know that when life is very difficult your brothers and sister in the CfP are praying and holding you up in prayer. It is also a great privilege to know that my prayers are benefitting others in the Confraternity. I have the opportunity to offer my penance for those in the CfP who may be in situations where they just can’t seem to pray. I am a part of something so much bigger.

If you are in formation, I am so excited for the journey you are on with the Lord! This time of formation is a time of continual discernment. Please look at it in this way. You need to know at the end of this formation time if God has called you to live this life or not. This rule is too challenging to one day in the future, when life is difficult, to think ,“I made a mistake and should never have pledged to live this life, I have too much going on in my life to do this too, I am too overwhelmed”. No, I do not want that for you. In those difficult moments and seasons I want you to say to yourself, “Thank you Lord for calling me to this rule of Life, I am having a hard time right now and it is difficult for me to follow this rule but I discerned for a long time and I know this is what you want for me”. And then, with great peace ,you do as much as you can.

My suggestions about living this rule with a family is to work closely with a good spiritual director who supports you living this rule and understands that God has called you to this life. Become familiar with the alternative prayer options so that you can easily make use of them for days when life is too crazy. Simplify meals and make the same things every week. This will make meal prepping easier. With that said I suggest meal prepping once or twice a week. If you are having difficulty finding good meatless meals that everyone likes there are so many resources out there now a days, maybe too many. It can be overwhelming. Below I’ll share two salad dressing recipes my family likes.

Remember, this life is a life lived in love for our Lord! Be thankful and joyful! God Bless you! Mariah Dragolich CfP

In response to requests for Mariah’s Salad Dressing recipes, we share the following:

Garlicky Tahini Dressing

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup water

3T maple syrup

2T soy sauce

2T Nutritional yeast

1 heaping tablespoon of garlic

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth

Asian Dressing: I usually skip the red pepper flakes so that I can please everyone and I will add a few tablespoons of peanut butter to this to make it more of a peanut sauce for thai like dishes.

2 Tablespoons tamari

2 Tablespoons organic maple syrup

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons tahini

1 teaspoon molasses

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons white miso

Pinch red pepper flakes


Add all the ingredients into a small bowl, whisk well to combine, allow to stand for 5 minutes to let the flavors marry. Taste test the dressing and add more seasonings, if needed. Serve chilled.


  • I dated a guy who broke up with me because I only have 9 toes. Yes, he was lack-toes intolerant. 

  • I've started telling everyone about the benefits of eating dried grapes. I’m raisin awareness.

  • I've started investing in stocks: beef, vegetable, chicken. One day I hope to be a bouillianaire.

I accidentally rubbed ketchup in my eyes. Now I have Heinzsight

Palm Sunday.jpg


Pope Benedict begins Volume II of Jesus of Nazareth with the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. At the end of His Ministry on earth, Jesus starts on a journey with His disciples in Galilee. Pope Benedict calls this journey an “ascent” from north to south since the Sea of Galilee is below sea level, but Jerusalem is located on a plateau and has an average elevation of around 2500 feet above sea level. Pope Benedict then tells us: The ultimate goal of Jesus' "ascent" is his self-offering on the Cross, which supplants the old sacrifices; it is the ascent that the Letter to the Hebrews describes as going up, not to a sanctuary made by human hands, but to heaven itself, into the presence of God (9:24). This ascent into God's presence leads via the Cross---it is the ascent toward "loving to the end" (cf. Jn 13:1), which is the real mountain of God. 


We can regard the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week as the “turning point” in His three-year public ministry. Before this time, most of the Lord’s public ministry was in his home area of Galilee, although John’s Gospel does mention times before Holy Week when He did go to Jerusalem. In the years before Palm Sunday, Jesus gradually introduced the twelve Apostles and his close disciples to who He was and what He was going to do as the Messiah: that is, be the Savior of the world. However, to the masses of people to whom He preached and taught, he was content to be regarded as a “prophet”. When Jesus left Galilee for Jerusalem, he took His close disciples with Him.  However, by the time they got close to Jerusalem a “great multitude” followed them. (Mt 20:29, Mk 10:46) “And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.’” (Mt 21:10-11) 


What is a prophet? A prophet is one who speaks for God and gives us the Words of God. The Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and many others spoke God’s Word as well as John the Baptist in the New Testament. Jesus also spoke God’s Word, but He did more than that for He also was God’s Word (Jn 1:14), the expected Messiah of Israel. However, before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus chose to keep his status as the Messiah secret from the masses. This is known as the “messianic secret”.  For example, after the Lord had raised to life the twelve-year old dead daughter of a synagogue ruler named Jairus, we learn that “he strictly charged them that no one should know of this, and told them to give her something to eat.” (Mk 5:43) He probably said this because this miracle might cause many Jews to consider Jesus to be the long-expected Messiah. However, this expectation carried “baggage” with it since many thought the Messiah would liberate them from Roman domination.  The Lord’s mission was to liberate them from sin and not Roman domination. This miracle was an act of Love toward Jairus and his family and not a demonstration that He was the Messiah. On the other hand, right before this, Jesus was in Gentile territory and drove many demons out of a possessed man and into a herd of pigs which rushed into the Sea of Galilee and were drowned. (Mk 5:1-20) When the healed demoniac wanted to join Jesus, He refused. Instead, He told this Gentile to go home to his fellow Gentiles and tell them what God had done for him. The “baggage” of the Gentiles was not liberation from Roman domination. It was idolatry, the idea that the Being of God was tied up with the being of the world. The idols were symbols of the power and glory of the natural world. This miracle taught this man and his fellow Gentiles that the true God was the God of Israel, the Supreme Being, who reigned over all of nature. The pagan idols were nothings just as the Old Testament prophets had asserted. The Lord wanted to “convert” this man not to the Jewish sacrifices and laws but to the God of Israel, the true God, so when the New Covenant came after the Resurrection, they would be ready to receive it. 


With the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the “secret” was out. As the Lord rode into Jerusalem, the crowd proclaimed “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21:9) When the Pharisees heard this, they told Him “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” (Lk 19:39) Jesus refused to do this. “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Lk 19:40) They addressed Him as “teacher” rather than as the Messiah or even a prophet. They did not believe in Him. The Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem created a division in mankind which has persisted to this day. The crowd which proclaimed “Hosanna to the Son of David!” were pilgrims from Galilee and outside Jerusalem coming to the Jewish Passover feast. The people of Jerusalem mostly did not even know who Jesus was. (Mt 21:10-11). Pope Benedict states: The crowd that paid homage to Jesus at the gateway to the city was not the same crowd that later demanded his crucifixion.  Those who cried “Hosanna!” were followers of Jesus coming to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Those who cried “crucify Him” were those who thought of Jesus as a dangerous outsider who could destroy their religion. People made their decision for or against Him.  Jesus said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Lk 12:51-53) 


At His trial before the Sanhedrin and at His crucifixion, Jesus appears to be helpless in the hands of cruel and sinful men.  However, Jesus was really in control of the events. Previously, he had silenced demons who called Him “The Holy One of God”.  (Mk 1:21-28, Lk 4:31-37) On Palm Sunday, He refuses to rebuke those who said “Hosanna to the Son of David!”. (Mt 21:9) In obedience to The Father, He did what His Father required. He knew that those in power in Jerusalem wanted to eliminate Him. It was to be on His terms and the way in which He wanted it to proceed. When Pope Benedict describes the entry into Jerusalem in Jesus of Nazareth, he describes in great detail the many Old Testament references and connections in this event. Of course, this is what the four Gospel writers did when they wrote the Gospels. Jesus came to earth as a faithful Jew who called the God of Israel “My Father”.  Thus, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and all the other recorded events in His Life on Earth, must be seen in this context. 


Those who did not believe in Jesus, and especially most of the Jerusalem religious establishment who were forced into action by the triumphal entry, were united in their resolve the He must be eliminated.  On the other hand, many who did in some sense believe in Him did not really understand Him.  When two of His disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the evening of Easter Sunday, they encounter a “stranger” whom they did not recognize as Jesus. When the “stranger” asks them what they were speaking about, one of them, named Cleopas, says “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” (Lk 24:19-21) This person was a believer in the Lord, but he still had some “baggage”. Cleopas was looking for Jesus to liberate them from the Romans and restore the former glory of Israel. What was needed was Pentecost and the Church so that the nature of the Lord’s mission could be better understood. 


The Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem is celebrated in the Palm Sunday liturgy, but it is also a part of every Mass. In the Preface Acclamation before the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest and the people say: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” We all acclaim Christ at every Mass just as the crowds did on Palm Sunday.  We acclaim Him not just as a prophet, but as much more than a prophet. Just as the ministry of Jesus can be divided into His teaching ministry and His ministry as Savior of mankind through the Last Supper (Eucharist), crucifixion, and resurrection, so can the Mass be divided into the Liturgy of the Word (teaching) and the Liturgy of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The two parts of the ministry of the Lord do not make sense detached from one another. The teaching ministry was necessary so that we could know the will of the Father. Yet, knowing God’s will is not enough.  We need the Sacramental strength given us on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday to fulfill God’s will. We must not only listen to His teachings; we must also ascend with Him up to Jerusalem. This is why the “prophet from Galilee” is so much more than a prophet. He teaches us, but He also gives us the sacramental grace to follow His teachings.  What came before was preparation, while Holy Week is the core of the Christian faith. –Jim Nugent, CfP


Grace French, CfP, was given a beautiful funeral Mass in Oklahoma where she lived. The Fort Wayne Indiana members also held a memorial funeral Mass for the repose of the soul of Grace French (sr. Grace of Jesus of the Most Holy Trinity), CfP, After Mass, the attendees gathered for a pot luck lunch. Left to right, going around the table are Fr. Dan Koehl, Spiritual Assistant to Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy CfP Chapter, Madeline Nugent,CfP, David Young (postulant), Jackie Stephens, CfP, Jim Nugent, CfP, Bob Shutt, CfP, Elizabeth Lemire, CfP, and Sandi Wilde (postulant). Taking the photo was Mark Stevens, CfP Friend and husband of Jackie. May sr. Grace rest in God’s peace.

Grace French Funeral2.jpg

sr. Grace’s remains were buried in a small family plot in Oklahoma, adjacent to a pasture on the property of Terri Keller, CfP, and her husband. Terri writes: Here are a few pics of the Interment conducted by Fr. Define. Pictured: Eric, son-in-law, Grands, Gianna, James, Julie, Joseph. That cow in the picture is #78, our nicest cow. She came over to pay her respects and I think Grace would have been delighted. Headstone has been ordered.

CfP Retreats Coming Up! Plan to Attend!

Confraternity of Penitents East Coast Retreat 2023

Thursday, July 6 through Sunday, July 9, 2023. St. Mary's Abbey Retreat Center, 230 Mendham Road, Morristown NJ 07960-5089. Father Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, and CfP Spiritual Guardian, will be the Retreat Master. 

Commuter fee (no overnight stay): $125

Overnight Guests: $359

Confraternity of Penitents Retreat/Reunion/Conference 2023

October 11 to October 15, 2023 at St. Felix Catholic Center, Huntington IN USA. Fr. Joseph Tuscan, OFM Cap, and CfP Spiritual Guardian will be the Retreat Master. Father Vit will be joining us as well. Mark your calendars and plan to attend! Bring your own towels, wash cloth, body wash, and water bottle. Other linens and all meals provided. 

This will be a joint retreat with other lay Franciscan groups (Tau Maria and Third Order Franciscans) who are striving to return to the original Franciscan vision for the laity.


$200 plus $25 worth of food and/or paper goods or $25 additional payment. Day to day and commuter rates accepted.

Details on Retreat link from

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