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Alberto Guimaraes

Religious / Spiritual Life And Barefoot

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Alberto Guimaraes

Peace and Good!  :spike: 

I am a Portuguese secular franciscan brother, and a barefooter since my 13 years. That age, I felt a religious vocation, and I spent many time, alone, praying in front of some religious figures: Jesus crucified, Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Anthony, Little Jesus of Prague...  :saint2: 

I felt I must be barefoot, or at least putting on sandals. I didn' know why, but I remembered God' s words to Moses: «Take off your sandals...».

When I joined SFO I did a private vow: to pray the Liturgy of Hours, to dress the former SFO habit (tunic, chord and mantle), and to go barefoot whenever possible, putting on sandals when it was no possible.

Presently, I have very difficult to fulfil this vow, because I have a familiar and social life which not ever to live so. :cry: 

And to complicate it, Portuguese SFO council don' t allow to bear the former habit, only the mantle.  :cry: 

At home, I always pray barefoot, burning incense sticks in front of Jesus, Mary, St. Francis and St. Anthony statues. I attend barefoot many pilgrimages and processions.  :pope2: 

I wish to share my barefoot spiritual experiences with other Phatmass forum members, and read their opinions, too.

Jesus, Mary and Francis be with you and bless you!

Your humble servant

Br. Alberto Guimaraes SFO

Secular Franciscan Fraternity of Braga - Portugal

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SuscipeMeDomine

My Poor Clare friend said that going barefoot was very hard on her back and took some getting used to.  Perhaps it's easier if you start when you're 13.

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Golden Years

I think that is a very beautiful thing to do.  I also think sometimes we promise things to the Lord that are very hard to fulfill, which are not necessary to our salvation.  When I was younger, I promised to sleep on the floor for the rest of my life.  I did so for many years and then was given a small bed, I can't remember why or by whom, but it just seemed as if the Lord was saying it wasn't necessary.  I think sometimes I have felt that I needed to do extraordinary things to prove my love for God but as I have grown older I find it is more through fidelity to the ordinary, small things over time that our love is shown.  I would say that if you feel peace in going barefoot for the Lord, you should continue but if it has become painful or interferes with your daily life, that you can ask a priest to place your vow in abeyance.  Then you can still do it as a private devotion when you are able, without feeling like you should be doing it all of the time. 

 

Blessings Brother Alberto!  :smile2:

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Alberto Guimaraes

Peace and Good, and thanks your words, my dear sisters! :bounce: 

When I was a child I didn' t understand why people promised to go barefoot attending processions and / or pilgrimages. I supposed that was painful, but... Sometimes I went barefoot to the beach, in front my home, and my barefooting didn' t hurt. :flex2: 

Somebody said it was a humility question. :flex: 

That times, it was forbidden to go barefoot on the streets, to seem Portugal was not a poverty country. :cry: 

To go barefoot is healthy, although I had a friendly discussiion with the recytor of one of the most important churches of Braga, and he was parish priest of Balasar, birthplace of Blessed Alexandrina Costa. He didn' t allow people to enter barefoot at the church. His opinion is that barefoot is dangerous, disrespectful, no hygienic and outlaw, although, at home,  he is barefoot to discharge bad energies. :flex2: 

I belong to the Society for Barefoot Living (SBL) -  http://www.barefooters.org   , which says everithing I can' t say here. But I also invoite you to visit my Portuguese website   http://www.descalcismo.org

When I was at Mozambique, diuring my military, I find Muslims and Hindus brothers, and they pray barefoot. I also pray at hindu homes. Since that moment I understood barefoot was the best attitude to pray. :pope2: 

I wish I go barefoot always, but it is impossible. I have social and familiar pledges. However I do it whenever possible, or at least I put on sandals.

During my searches about religious families, I found someones their members go barefoot. It' s beautiful! :saint2: 

Thanks once more! I love to talk with you about my experiences! :hehe2: 

Jesus, Mary and Francis be with you and bless you!

Br. Alberto Guimaraes SFO

Secular Franciscan Fraternity of Braga - Portugal

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Servant

I have always felt exactly this way, in fact, I have always wondered why as Catholics we do not attend Church barefoot as the Lord said on to Moses, which I also do at home.

It is such a beautiful sign of humility and sacrifice. I believe not even Discalced Carmelites practice being barefoot anymore, and some even claim they never did. I know some Poor Clares do. 

New here , hope to meet nice people.

God bless all.

 

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graciandelamadrededios

Some of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in the tropical regions goes barefoot.  I saw a photo of a Dicalced Carmelite Nun in India barefoot during her profession.  I know for a fact that some of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Manila monastery goes barefoot as well.  

It is a common practice among the poor in the Philippines to go barefoot inside the house.

 

 

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Servant

Hi, I know in India and other places it is more common to be barefoot, but I think it is not specific to a Catholic practice. 

 

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graciandelamadrededios

Religious aspects[edit]

In most religions, the exposure of bare feet is regarded as a sign of humility and subjection. Some religious practitioners have taken a vow of Gospel poverty, while there are certain convents where going barefoot is obligatory (Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, Poor Clares, Colettine Poor Clares). With regard to the use of footwear as a display of status, the religious and common art of many cultures throughout the world shows a person without shoes symbolizing either extreme poverty or the state of captivity and unfree servitude.[12] In Thailand, Master Jinshen, a Buddhist monk, walks 20 kilometers (12 mi) per day barefoot as a reminder to others who pursue a material life to protect and be concerned for Mother Nature. He states that he does this to follow Buddhist rules, to lead the people to the path of virtue, and to develop his Buddhist spirit.[13] It is customary in Judaism and some Christian denominations to go barefoot while mourning.[12] Some Christian churches practice barefoot pilgrimage traditions, such as the ascent of Croagh Patrick in Ireland at night while barefoot (although the nighttime part is no longer encouraged).[14]

In many religions, it is common to remove shoes when entering a place considered holy. For example, in the Book of Exodus, Moses was instructed to remove his shoes before approaching the burning bush:

“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy ground (Exodus 3:5).”

St. Teresa instituted the practice of going barefoot for her Discalced Carmelite Nuns to signify that this branch of Carmel follows the reform.  It sets her nuns apart from the Calced Carmelite Nuns whore expensive clothing, with folds and trimmings, coupled with expesive, beautiful shoes that they wear.

St. Teresa prescribed hemp sandals or alpargates for her nuns if the weather becomes too cold for their bare feet.  When they go out, they put the alpargatas into wooden clogs.

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Servant

Amen, yes, the words of the Lord to Moses are clear, that is also the base of my wonder about being barefoot before the Lord. I have done it discreetly only maybe in summer while at Church, but fearing it is something not accepted or frowned upon without understanding why. It is the meek who shall enter the Lord's kingdom, so why discourage such a sign of humility and submission as you well noted.

Since you mentioned St Teresa, I remembered something that has also drawn my attention , this image of St Teresa mostly appears edited as to not show her naked foot, it seems a censorship which seems a bit absurd to me.

8199868305_13591203b1_b.jpg

If you do a search for St Teresa images, this one always appears cut, when I first found it I was amazed to find I had been seeing it incomplete all this time, and it made so much more sense with her foundation of the Discalced Carmelites.

Any thoughts on this?
Pax tecum

 

 

 

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios
On 9/21/2017 at 5:00 PM, Servant said:

Amen, yes, the words of the Lord to Moses are clear, that is also the base of my wonder about being barefoot before the Lord. I have done it discreetly only maybe in summer while at Church, but fearing it is something not accepted or frowned upon without understanding why. It is the meek who shall enter the Lord's kingdom, so why discourage such a sign of humility and submission as you well noted.

Since you mentioned St Teresa, I remembered something that has also drawn my attention , this image of St Teresa mostly appears edited as to not show her naked foot, it seems a censorship which seems a bit absurd to me.

8199868305_13591203b1_b.jpg

If you do a search for St Teresa images, this one always appears cut, when I first found it I was amazed to find I had been seeing it incomplete all this time, and it made so much more sense with her foundation of the Discalced Carmelites.

Any thoughts on this?
Pax tecum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry for the very late reply.

Based on the Discalced Carmelite Nuns Paper of Exaction of 1898 - it states: 

They should also avoid touching their face or their habit, and be careful neither to show their hands nor their feet.

 

 

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Servant

It's ok, God bless and thank you for your reply.

Does this mean maybe before they did? Or that maybe now it is only a practice behind closed door in seclusion?

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graciandelamadrededios

The Paper of Exaction is one of the resources they used as Customary before Vatican II which was practically used by all Discalced Carmelite Nuns.  I remember what read from one of the OCD Custom Books that their hands should always be covered or tucked in under the scapular unless they are using their hands for work or when holding a book.

Now, each monastery decides which customs to drop or retain.  

In some paintings and sculpture - like the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, we can see her feet exposed.  I would say that the artist probably want to convey that St. Teresa followed the Carmelite Reform, being literally "Discalced."

There are also, images/statues of St. Teresa and St. Therese wearing black shoes!  In the parish where i attend mass, there is a local TOCD and the statues of St. Teresa and St. Therese were also calced!  St. Teresa is even dressed in a Calced Carmelite Habit - toque over the scapular.  

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