Here in Alberta, where the Franciscan Archives of Western Canada is located, archives across the province are celebrating Archives Week to promote awareness and access to archives.
The Universal Declaration on Archives states: Archives record decisions, actions and memories. Archives are unique and irreplaceable heritage passed from one generation to another… They play an essential role in the development of societies by safeguarding and contributing to individual and community memory. Open access to archives enriches our knowledge of human society…
Archives Week was a good time for me to reflect on why I am passionate about archives and its enduring value not only for the Franciscan community, but for the collective memory and spiritual heritage of individuals and communities in Canada and around the world. The Franciscan Archives contains a treasure trove of photographs and personal writings and reflections spanning decades that shine through with faith, hope, love, and perseverance.
In these times of turmoil and uncertainty, looking back at the past through archives reminds me of the resilience of people and the grace of God through history. And for us today, how will our decisions, actions, and memories be recorded? Years from now, how will we be remembered by future generations? May we be remembered for how we loved, how we showed compassion, and lived out faith and hope.
I’d like to end my reflection with this prayer of St. Francis (that is most definitely preserved in an archives somewhere!) May this be the prayer of our hearts in these times.
Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.