This year’s Franciscan Nativity Festival at the Chiara Center in Springfield will have a local connection: a wooden Nativity set owned by Mary Jane Timmermann of Carlyle will be the St. Joseph-Breese entry.
Featuring more than 100 Nativities and tours of St. Francis of Assisi Church, the festival will be open from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 12 noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2. The event is free; groups are welcome.
The Chiara Center is on the campus of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis; St. Joseph’s in Breese is sponsored by the Hospital Sisters and the Hospital Sisters Health System.
“I was honored to be asked,” said Mary Jane Timmermann, who had attended a previous Chiara Center Nativity Festival with daughter-in-law Kathy Timmermann, the hospital’s Communications Specialist. “It’s our family’s Nativity Set and it’s nice that it will be going to Springfield for display.”
Sister Renita Brummer, Chiara Center program director, said the festival serves to educate people about the tradition of the Christmas crib that dates back to St. Francis.
“St. Francis believed that Christmas was the dearest of feasts because it meant that God was now one of us—flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone,” Sister said.
“He prepared a manger, lead in an ox and ass and called together the men and women of Greccio, Italy,” Sister said. “At midnight on Christmas Eve, candles and torches, faith and love lit up the night as Greccio became a new Bethlehem—the animals and people recognizing in their midst God becoming Flesh.”
The Chiara Center is at 4875 LaVerna Road in Springfield. For directions or more information, visit www.chiaracenter.org or call 217-523-0901.