The Franciscan Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin of the Rio de La Plata (Silver River) of the Order of Friars Minor in Argentina, is celebrating 400 years of its canonical erection from1612-2012. At the 65th General Chapter of the Order held in Rome on July 9, 1612, the Franciscan Province was erected, consisting of the previous custodies of St. George of Tucumán and the Holy Name of Paraguay. The decree states, “Paraguay et Tucuman in Regno del Perú, in unam eamdemque Provinciam eriguntur sub titulo Assumptionis Beatae Mariae Virginis, cujus Assumptionis habet imaginem pro sigillo” The new province was composed of eleven convents located in Córdoba, Tucumán, Assumption Paraguay, Buenos Aires, Salta, Jujuy, Santiago del Estero, Esteco, La Rioja, and Corrientes. Among brothers recalls the presence, we remember especially: Saint Francis Solano, Br. Luis de Bolaños, Br. Francisco de Paula Castañeda; Br. Ramon de la Quintana, Br. Mamerto Esquiú, Br. Cayetano Rodriguez, and Br. José María Bottaro.
Blessed Juniper Serra was born on November 24, 1713, in Petra, Mallorca, Spain, and died on August 28, 1784, in the Mission of St. Charles Borromeo of Carmelo, where he is buried. He was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II, on September 25, 1988. He was always accompanied by Br. Francisco Palou, OFM. He was the founder of twenty missions in the current state of California (United States), named after a saint (many of them Franciscans), Virgin Mary or the Angels, along the so-called “Camino Real”, which stretches from the border with Mexico to San Francisco, Santa Rosa, or Sacramento. Br. Juniper is a great Franciscan Apostle of the evangelization of Sierra Gorda and the Californias and as such he is considered one of the “founding Fathers” of the United States. His statue is in the Capitol of Washington (USA) among the “Fathers” of USA. This year marks the third centenary of his birth.
It is now 100 years since the first publication of the Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It was, in fact, Esthet Auguste Bouquerel who published it in December of 1912 in the French newspaper, La Clochette. It was then published shortly afterwards in leading journals such as La Croix and The Osservatore Romano, probably at the request of Pope Benedict XV or Cardinal Gasparri. The Prayer for Peace is attributed to St. Francis because it wonderfully summarizes the salient features of the spiritual physiognomy of the Saint. The Prayer for Peace is recited daily by many and has been cited publicly by famous people. Mother Teresa, for example, in her acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo; Margaret Thatcer, on the day she took office as Prime Minister; Patti Smith in a song entitled, Constantine’s Dream; Bill Clinton, when in on October 4, 1995, he welcomed John Paul II in New York, on the occasion of the visit to the UN assembly.