May I just sit here and share the cutest story ever?
Thanks. Don’t mind if I do.
Have you been wondering where I’ve been? Sorry I didn’t give a heads-up (irresponsible blog ownership) but I WAS ON RETREAT. And it was beautiful, amazing, inspiring, and refreshing. Yes yes yesity yes.
Some of you have already met our incredible, loving, gentle, holy, intelligent Father Pio Maria. Well, he was there, friends, he was there. And I asked him for spiritual direction.
In spiritual direction I told him about my life and my job and my dreams and funny dates (“Where do you even find these guys?”) and that maybe one day I’ll get a graduate degree and that I still need prayer for the Camino de Santiago.
And then I mentioned this blog and What I Wore Wednesdays. I asked him if he thought it was narcissistic that I would do something like this. He said that as long as clothing/ possessions aren’t the most valued thing, I was probably OK. And he told me to seek beauty.
He then asked to be featured in a “What I Wore Wednesday”, guys.
BAHAHAHAHAHA. I loved it so much I took him up on his offer.
SO! Father Pio Maria is a Franciscan priest which means he follows the teachings or “rule” of St. Francis of Assisi.
Perhaps I should throw in a quick review on St. Francis? St. Francis of Assisi lived in Italy from 1181-1226 A.D. His father was a successful merchant and Francis grew up being the life of the Assisi party–known for dressing well, singing merrily, and possessing a ready wit. As a young man he went to battle for Assisi, was wounded and returned to Assisi with a new attitude: one that sought beauty and solace and, ultimately, Jesus.
(Here I edit/ chop the heck out of his way-beautiful story).
He looked to the Bible for inspiration. It’s said he opened the Bible three times, pointed to three different verses, and patterned his life after those teachings of Jesus. To this day these remain and are known as the “Evangelical counsels.” More on this later! Eventually Francis wrote a “rule” which provided guidelines so that the men who wanted to follow him would know what was expected of them.
To this day people still follow this “rule” and they are known as Franciscans.
Anyway, Father Pio follows the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi. He is a Franciscan priest.
Now, most of the time when we think “priest” we think more of the guy in the roman collar and less of the guy who looks kind of like Friar Tuck.
I posted the picture there to our right for reference.
(For the record, the man in the roman collar is an order priest, too, for the Companions of the Cross. Just to be confusing.)
But! They are still both priests! It’s just that, as a Franciscan, Father Pio Maria wears a grey habit.
He told me he owns two habits total.
He also owns a scarf and a navy sweater as he was wearing those as well. He just took them off so you could see his habit in all its awesome glory.
Now, on one side of his rope-belt there is a rope with three knots in it. Those knots represent the “Evangelical counsels” (I told you I’d bring them up again!) These are “poverty, chastity, and obedience.”
Or, as I have heard him state, “no bling-bling, no sweet thing, my boss is Christ the King.”
Yes. I have heard that. Twice in fact.
He also has a pretty epic cross and his prayer beads on the other side.
You’ll also note that he’s wearing sandals.
It was January 1st.
There was definitely snow on the ground. The friary was definitely drafty.
The vow of poverty is so intense.
It must be noted that the Rule of St. Francis is kind of like an umbrella and that under that umbrella there are different groups who live out their lives as Franciscans in different ways.
This is why you’ll also see Franciscans who wear brown or black. More on that tomorrow!
Anyway, Fr. Pio is a “Franciscan of the Renewal” which is a relatively new group of men living out their Franciscan call.
After one of his (excellent) talks, Father Pio asked the crowd for questions, but first said that he’d clear up the “questions most asked from children” which were:
- Is the beard required? (It’s not, but it is recommended)
- Is the short-short hair required? (No, but it is recommended)
- Does he wash his beard? (Yes. With shampoo)
Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and for the rest of his earthly life: Fr. Pio wore a grey habit.
To quote Father Pio who quotes Cow Shea: aaaaaaawesome.