[quote="JReducation, post:9, topic:278710"]
Franciscans actually do make a vow of poverty and it's taken very seriously. We do not own anything either in common or individually. Everything that we use belongs to someone else. For example, our houses and everything in them belong to the ministry. When we leave, we take nothing. If we turn a parish over to the diocese, everything stays: cars, computers, TVs, furniture, etc. The friars take only our habits, breviaries and intimate clothing.
Usus is not really part of the Franciscan tradition. That's a Dominican tradition, where the community own things for the benefit of the friars and their daily life, be it ministry, study or health.
If you gave a friar an iPad, he has to ask the Guardian for permission to keep it. Generally, if it's something that he needs for his work or studies, the Guardian will give permission and he has use of it until he no longer needs it or he is transferred. Then it remains with the house that he leaves behind. It's a little tricky to give things to Franciscan men.
The most useful gifts to Franciscan men are clothing, because those are things that go with us. But they should be practical clothes. We don't wear very fancy clothing. Another great gift for a friar is books. We love books and we're not allowed to buy books for ourselves. We generally share our books. Every house has at least a bookcase the we refer to as the library. You don't have to make it a religious book either. We love novels, poetry, art, music, etc. You may want to find out what Friar likes. For example, I'm a lover of ascetical and mystical writings. For me, books about the spirituality: Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Shinto or Muslim are always a real treat. Some friars are lovers of literature and they love novels. Along those lines, one of those readers would be a very nice gift. That would be something that I as a superior would allow a friar to keep with him. It's no different from having a few books and it's something that he can share with is brothers.
Another great gift for a friar is a gift card. Now, you want to give a card that can be used anywhere. One of those loadable Visa cards is great. This allows the friar to go anywhere and buy what he needs and it saves the fraternity some money.
Every friar can use a travel bag. We do a lot of moving around. In my own daily life, I travel about 300 miles a week to different places as part of my ministry. I'm always shlepping stuff around. If the friar is going to a ministry where he will have to carry his supplies, a bag is a great gift that the Guardian will allow him to keep.
I'm not sure what an Ipad does, so I can't say if it's a gift that I would allow one of my brothers to keep. My policy when a friar comes to me and asks if he can keep a gift is to ask, "What is it? What does it do?" In today's world, there are so many kinds of technological gadgets that we superiors don't have a clue what most of them do. LOL If it's useful I'll say yes and if someone else can get more use out of it, I'll tell the friar to put it in the common closet until someone else can use it. I wish I could say more about the Ipad. It's a mystery to me.
Something never to give a friar are DVDs and CDs. We don't have the equipment to use them. Some of our houses have players and some do not. It all depends on whether it's a necessary gadget. If the friar lives in a house that does not have a player, he has no way of enjoying it.
Some friars are jocks. Sports equipment is often expensive. I have a friar who loves skateboarding. His skateboard was damaged. A good one is expensive. The folks down at the chancery gave him one for his birthday. I allowed him to keep it. No one else in the house skateboards. If I get on the bloody thing I'm liable to break my foolish neck. He on the other hand can ride that thing up the side of the house and we all have great fun watching him. He really enjoys it. It's great to see one of our brothers just laughing and enjoying himself during down time or to watch him at prayer on his skateboard. If Friar is a jock and has a particular sport that he plays, that would be a thoughtful gift that the community will not usually purchase. I know a friar who loves tennis and his racket broke. People gave him a new one. He was happier than a pig with a year's supply of mud packs.
Believe it or not, many friars love cooking. There are many great gift ideas in that area. Cooking gives you alone time, time to be with the Lord, to pray, think and creative. When you live in a house full of men, you certainly appreciate any opportunity to be alone, even if it's cooking a meal.
Think about his hobbies, his next assignment and things that he can share with his brothers. That will give you some clues for great gift ideas.
I hope this helps.
Br. JR, OSF :)
I am married so I have found my vocation but I do have a question as issues of disability are interesting to me, both as I am "disabled" and as a social worker.
I am legally blind and reading using a "kindle" (electronic reading tablet) is much easier than using a normal book as I can change the text size and font. Would a brother be permitted to keep such a thing?
When I was considering a religious vocation I always wondered how my eyesight and vocation would "intersect" if I ever actually became a religious or priest.
Thanks so much Brother and God Bless. :)