It was a lovely Saturday evening, the 25th April, and I was at St Mary of the Angels Church with the OFS members to participate in the installation of the Custody of St Anthony. I met Srs Elizabeth and Teresa Lee at the Mass. The parish was abuzz with excitement as this was the first time they were witnessing such a ceremony. Also there were old and significant friends that were present like Fras Philip Miscamble and John Wong. All the Friars from Malaysia and Singapore as well as representatives from Australia and India were present. It was for them a ‘coming of age’ as a Province with Fra Derrick Yap as Custos. The Eucharistic celebration was truly solemn with the certain rituals of passing-over that caused emotions to surface specially for Fra Philip Miscamble as he looked at the young men he had formed now all grown-up and ready to take on the resposibility of being in charge of the future of the mission founded 70 years ago.
I stayed back for the dinner after Mass with the members of my fraternity of St Margaret of Cortona. Of couse there were some photo hungry members who took many significant moments. It was as we were leaving that I glimpsed Fra. Massimo Fusarelli. I, who am in no way enamoured of photo-taking, pulled at Martina, crazy-for-taking-photos, towards him asking to take a photo. What I will never forget is the beautifully lit-up face, the huge smile of Fra Massimo as he recognised my symbol and almost cried out loud as he stepped forward, “FMM!” It was as if the whole Institute was in me! He obliged so readily and then asked for one to be taken on his phone. “For Sr Eufemia!” I felt myself caught in a moment of grace!
Reflecting after on my deep joy at this unexpected blessing, I realised how deeply it resonated with my love for St Francis. Fra Massimo is his representative, down through the ages and I came in touch with history – the history of Maman and her deep desire that we be Franciscan.... her encounters with Fr Raphael and Bernardino of Portogruaro came alive in my mind..........the words of Grandfather that we need to be small to fit under his mantle......
I really felt so blessed.......and awed. Even if I went for a meeting in Rome, I don't think I would have got this blessing! What I really found awesome was the way he came forward with such joy when he realised I was FMM! I can still see his face lighted up with joy. How much he must love us! Then to take a photo to show Sr Eufemia.....it seemed they are good friends. Sr Eufemia won't know me but will be happy I’m sure that he met one of us here in Singapore.