We two Franciscans have embarked on this spiritual journey with companion sisters and brothers across the globe. We met as students in Rome in 1987 at the Capuchin Franciscan Institute in the Antonianum. We discovered a mutual interest in the works of St. Bonaventure and initiated our study with his Itinerarium Mentis in Deum (Journey into God) by developing a retreat experience centered on this masterpiece. Having conducted these spiritual exercises in the United States, Italy, Canada, Philippines, England and Hong Kong, we have journeyed with almost two thousand people in the last twenty-five years.
Shortly after beginning our work with the Journey retreats, we entered into a dialogue on solitude as experienced and lived by St. Francis. This led to our first publication venture when we organized translations of articles that evolved into the anthology, Franciscan Solitude, to encourage a broader dialogue on solitude within the Franciscan family. It was the first of a long line of publications.
Interest in the topic of Franciscan solitude had grown, and we decided to risk a pilgrimage to the Franciscan places of solitude in Italy frequented by St. Francis. So in summer of 2000, under the auspices of Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs, we conducted a pilgrimage to thirteen of these holy sanctuaries. Later on, in the year 2010, we took two groups of pilgrims to southern Bavaria to visit sanctuaries connected with the Capuchin, Saint Konrad of Parzham, to the Austrian church dedicated to Secular Franciscan, Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, to the most popular sanctuary in Germany dedicated to Mary—the Capuchin chapel at Altötting, and finally to the renowned Passion Play at Oberammergau.
When Laurent Gallant OFM and André were preparing St. Francis' Office of the Passion for publication as a prayerbook, Laurent was interested in the possibility of the office to be chanted. So Josef was commissioned to compose the music for the office. And with a generous grant from Secular Franciscan, Paul Perkins, we produced our first CD—The Geste of the Great King. Not too long after we published this first CD, André had dreamed of taking parts of the writings of Saints Francis and Clare and put them into repetitive chants for people to both remember the writings and meditate on them through music. Josef had already visited Taizé with his family, and with the translations of Murray Bodo OFM and Frances Teresa Downing OSC in hand, he composed twenty-six mantras in a double CD—Love Holding Love.
We are still on the road with our Journey retreat, hoping to continue our collaborative pilgrimage as long as God wants.
On our website we share with you our ministry in its various forms.
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Latest update: March 24, 2014
The Geste of the Great King:
CD & Songbook
© André R. Cirino OFM & Josef Raischl OFS