Franciscan spirituality in Protestantism

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Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor of the Catholic Church. StFrancis part.jpg
Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor of the Catholic Church.

Franciscan spirituality in Protestantism refers to spirituality in Protestantism inspired by the Catholic friar Saint Francis of Assisi. Emerging since the 19th century, there are several Protestant adherent and groups, sometimes organised as religious orders, which strive to adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of Saint Francis of Assisi.

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The 20th century High Church Movement gave birth to Franciscan inspired orders among revival of religious orders in Protestant Christianity.

One of the results of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church during the 19th century was the re-establishment of religious orders, including some of Franciscan inspiration. The principal Anglican communities in the Franciscan tradition are the Community of St. Francis (women, founded 1905), the Poor Clares of Reparation (P.C.R.), the Society of Saint Francis (men, founded 1934), and the Community of St. Clare (women, enclosed). There is also a Third Order known as the Third Order Society of St Francis (T.S.S.F.).

There are two other U.S.-founded orders within the Anglican Communion - the Seattle-founded Second Order of The Little Sisters of St. Clare (LSSC) in the Diocese of Olympia ) and the Community of Francis and Clare (CFC) which is a dispersed, open, inclusive, and contemporary expression of Anglican/ Episcopal Franciscan life open to men and women.

There are also some small Franciscan communities within European Protestantism and the Old Catholic Church. [1] There are some Franciscan orders in Lutheran Churches, including the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, and the Evangelische Kanaan Franziskus-Bruderschaft (Kanaan Franciscan Brothers). In addition, there are associations of Franciscan inspiration not connected with a mainstream Christian tradition and describing themselves as ecumenical or dispersed.

Both the Anglicans and also the Lutheran Church has third orders in emulation of the Catholic ones. The Anglicans has a "Third Order of Saint Francis (TSSF)", with the same name as the Catholic third order, the Third Order of Saint Francis, and the Lutherans has an Order of Lutheran Franciscans.[ citation needed ]

Anglican Communion

One of the results of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church during the 19th century was the re-establishment of religious orders, including some of Franciscan inspiration. The principal Anglican communities in the Franciscan tradition are the Community of St. Francis (women, founded 1905), the Poor Clares of Reparation (P.C.R.), the Society of Saint Francis (men, founded 1934), and the Community of St. Clare (women, enclosed). There is also a Third Order known as the Third Order Society of St Francis (T.S.S.F.).

A U.S.-founded order within the Anglican world communion is the Seattle-founded order of Clares in Seattle (Diocese of Olympia) The Little Sisters of St. Clare,. [2] The Community of Francis and Clare (CFC)is a dispersed, open, inclusive, and contemporary expression of Anglican/ Episcopal Franciscan life open to men and women.

Another officially sanctioned Anglican order with a more contemplative focus is the order of the Little Brothers of Francis in the Anglican Church of Australia. [3]

The Company of Jesus Community, of both Franciscan and Benedictine inspiration, is under the episcopal oversight of a bishop of the Episcopal Church (United States), but accepts any baptized Christians as members. [4]

Society of St Francis

The main manifestation of the Franciscan life within the Anglican Communion is the Society of St Francis. It is fully recognised as part of the Anglican Communion and has around 3,000 members in its constituent orders. The society is made up of several distinct orders: the brothers of the First Order (Society of St Francis, SSF); the sisters of the First Order (Community of St Francis, CSF); the Sisters of the Second Order (Community of St Clare, OSC); the brothers and sisters of the Third Order (Third Order of St Francis, TSSF). [5]

Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi, the founders of the Franciscan movement, produced separate rules for three parallel orders - the First Order were to be mendicant friars, embracing poverty as a gift from God and living community life in the world by serving the poor. The Second Order were to be a parallel community of sisters living a more enclosed life of prayer and contemplation. The Third Order was to consist of brothers and sisters not living in community, nor under full monastic vows, but nevertheless taking simple promises and following a rule of life in the world. These three orders still co-exist as parts of the Franciscan family in Anglicanism as well as in other Christian denominations. Francis also wrote a rule for those wishing to follow the contemplative life (in the style of the Second Order), but living alone as Christian hermits.

The Society of St. Francis includes an order of tertiaries, people who have taken promises and are followers of a version of the Franciscan Rule but do not live together in community. [6] [7] This Third Order (T.S.S.F.) was founded in 1950. The T.S.S.F. consists of men and women, lay and ordained, married and single. It is divided into five provinces: Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Americas.[ citation needed ]

The Franciscan Order of the Divine Mercy (FODM), based in the United States of America, aim to live in harmony within the Orthodox Anglo-Catholic Church and invite other Christian faiths to follow an Ecumenical Christian path. They are a Third Order society of Men and Women who live out of community.

First Order

First Order Franciscans live in community under traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In the Anglican Communion the male first order is known as the Society of St Francis, and brothers have the initials 'SSF' after their name; the female first order is known as the Community of St Francis, and sisters have the initials 'CSF' after their name. The First Order brothers and sisters operate worldwide, dividing themselves into internal provinces, and have around 200 members.

Second Order

Second Order Franciscans live in enclosed community, taking the same traditional vows but following a version of the Rule of St Francis modified to reflect a more contemplative lifestyle. Second Order sisters are often known as "Poor Clares", though they should properly be known as the Order of St Clare or the Community of St Clare. The sisters have the initials "OSC" after their names. They are the smallest part of the Franciscan family and are currently active only in the United Kingdom at St Mary's Convent, Freeland, Oxfordshire. The sisters believe that their "enclosed" life does not mean being "shut in", but rather an opportunity to live and work together on one site in real community. [8] The former second order convent in New York, opened in 1922, closed in 2003 following the death of the last sister of the Poor Clares of Reparation and Adoration (OSC).

Third Order

A Third Order of Saint Francis (TSSF), with the same name as the Catholic third order, exists in the Anglican Communion, alongside the Anglican Society of St Francis and Community of St Francis (First Order Franciscans), and the Community of St. Clare (Anglican Second Order of Franciscan Sisters).[ citation needed ]

Third Order Franciscans live as a dispersed community, which means that they meet together regularly for prayer, study, and fellowship, but live individually on a day-to-day basis. Some live alone, others as part of a family. Members may be single or married, ordained or lay, and male or female. They do not take the traditional three-fold vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but they do enter into a binding promise and live by a rule of life based upon Francis of Assisi's original Third Order rule.

Other Franciscan orders

Whilst the Society of St Francis (First, Second and Third Orders), operating worldwide, is widely recognized as the principal branch of Franciscanism within the Anglican Communion, there are other religious orders following the Franciscan rule, and living the Franciscan life. Those that are officially recognized as part of the Anglican Communion include the following:

First Order

Second Order and hermitage

Third Order

Other

The CFC seeks to follow Jesus in the footsteps of Francis and Clare by living simply and humbly, serving and praying with and for the marginalized members of the communities they live in and by helping to re-build the church in their contexts. As a contemporary expression of the Franciscan tradition, members – lay and clergy, partnered or single- live individually, in common or with their families and support themselves through secular or church-related employment. The members of the CFC vow poverty, chastity and obedience seeking to place these evangelical counsels into a contemporary expression (simplicity, fidelity, humility). They have diverse ministries in their communities, as the Spirit and the needs of the church lead them. Founded on All Saints Day, November 1, 2018, the community has members in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Lutheranism

In the Evangelical Church in Germany, apart from the high church movement, there exists a Protestant Evangelische Kanaan Franziskus-Bruderschaft (Kanaan Franciscan Brothers), affiliated with Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary.

In Church of Sweden, there is Helige Franciskus Systraskap (Sisterhood of Saint Francis), a religious community in Klaradal convent in Sjövik.

Franciscan Brothers of St. Michael (FBSM), also in North America, within Evangelical Marian Catholic Church, is a Congregation of men, women and children. are now part of the American Orthodox Catholic Church Inc.

In the Lutheran church, there has been also more general interest to Franciscan spirituality. E.g. "Assisi-Kredsen" in Denmark and "Franciskus-Sällskapet i Finland" are ecumenical societies, which e.g. arrange journeys to Assisi and in Franciscan convents. Members are mostly Lutherans.

Lutheran third orders

The Order of Lutheran Franciscans is an "undifferentiated" Order in the tradition of the Third Order of Saint Francis. Life-professed women and men, lay or ordained, make Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. [11]

In Europe, there are nine Franciscan third orders, two of which are commonly referenced.

Evangelische Franziskaner-Tertiaren (Lutheran Franciscan Tertiaries, officially "Evangelische Franziskanerbruderschaft der Nachfolge Christi") was founded in Germany 1927 within Hochkirchliche Vereinigung.

Franciskus Tredje Orden, FTO in Church of Sweden, is part of the European Province of the Third Order of the Anglican Society of St Francis. Stockholm based pastor Ted Harris is a well established member and contact man for Franciskus Tredje Orden. [12] [13]

Ecumenical organisations

In addition, there are associations of Franciscan inspiration not connected with a mainstream Christian tradition and describing themselves as ecumenical or dispersed.

The Free Episcopal Church in the USA sponsors the Order of Servant Franciscans, whose members are committed to "the process of becoming" ministers of Christ's message of reconciliation and love, as demonstrated by the holy lives of Saints Francis and Clare. [14] [15]

The Mission Episcopate of Saints Francis and Clare, "an autocephalous (self-governing) ecclesial jurisdiction", sponsors the Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers, [16] open to Christians male or female, married, partnered or single, clergy or lay. [17] The Australian Ecumenical Franciscan Order [18] is now an independent community in which most members live their everyday life in the world. They may be male or female, married, partnered or single, clergy or lay. They may belong to any Christian tradition. There is no discrimination of any sort, save as to minimum age.

The Companions of Jesus, [19] founded in the United Kingdom in 2004, is "a Franciscan Community of Reconciliation".

The United States Order of Ecumenical Franciscans adopted its Rule on 22 November 1983. [20] The Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers [21] is a dispersed ecumenical Franciscan community similar to the older Third Order model under which most members live their everyday life in the world. They may be male or female, married, partnered or single, clergy or lay. There is no discrimination of any sort, save as to minimum age.

The Ecumenical Franciscan Society from Eastern Europe has Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and free Protestant members.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Francis of Assisi Catholic saint and founder of the Franciscan Order

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Franciscans group of religious orders within the Catholic Church

The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant religious orders within the Catholic Church, founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi. These orders include the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Saint Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. They adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others.

Friar member of a mendicant religious order in Catholic Christianity

A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.

Poor Clares Catholic order of convent nuns

The Poor Clares, officially the Order of Saint Clare – originally referred to as the Order of Poor Ladies, and later the Clarisses, the Minoresses, the Franciscan Clarist Order, and the Second Order of Saint Francis – are members of a contemplative Order of nuns in the Catholic Church. The Poor Clares were the second Franciscan branch of the order to be established. Founded by Saints Clare of Assisi and Francis of Assisi on Palm Sunday in the year 1212, they were organized after the Order of Friars Minor, and before the Third Order of Saint Francis for the laity. As of 2011 there were over 20,000 Poor Clare nuns in over 75 countries throughout the world. They follow several different observances and are organized into federations.

The Society of the Atonement, also known as the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement or Graymoor Friars and Sisters is a Franciscan religious congregation in the Latin Rite branch of the Catholic Church. The friars and sisters were founded in 1898 as a religious community in the Episcopal Church. The religious order is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the Marian title of Our Lady of Atonement.

Agnes of Bohemia princess who became a nun and saint(1211-1282)

Agnes of Bohemia, O.S.C., also known as Agnes of Prague, was a medieval Bohemian princess who opted for a life of charity, mortification of the flesh and piety over a life of luxury and comfort. Although she was venerated soon after her death, Agnes was not beatified or canonized for over 700 years.

Third order

The term "Third Order" signifies, in general, lay members of religious orders, who do not necessarily live in community and yet can claim to wear the habit and participate in the good works of some great order. Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism all recognize Third Orders. They were a twelfth-century adaptation of the medieval monastic confraternities.

A religious is, in the terminology of many Western Christian denominations, such as the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion, what in common language one would call a "monk" or "nun", as opposed to an ordained "priest". A religious may also be a priest if he has undergone ordination, but in general he is not.

The Order of Ecumenical Franciscans (OEF) is a group of men and women devoted to following the examples of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi in their life and understanding of the Christian gospel: sharing a love for creation and for those who have been marginalized. Leadership is shared by a five member council.

Order of Saint Francis

The Order of Saint Francis (OSF) is an active, Apostolic Christian religious order within the in the Franciscan tradition. The OSF admits members of the Anglican Communion. Rather than living in an enclosed communal setting, OSF Brothers live independently in different parts of the world, with ministries based on the needs of their local communities. Members are baptized men who have been confirmed within the Anglican Communion, and who voluntarily commit to living by a set of professed vows for a term of years or for life. The Order of Saint Francis is a dispersed order, which welcomes men with dual vocations. Brothers may also be married or single and can be found in the United States, England, Scotland, Canada, Africa and Australia and currently number 41 Brothers - 13 Life Professed, 15 First Professed, 9 Novices, and 4 Postulants.

Society of Saint Francis

The Society of Saint Francis (SSF) is a Franciscan religious order within the Anglican Communion. It is the main recognised Anglican Franciscan order, but there are also other Franciscan orders in the Anglican Communion.

Anglican religious order

Anglican religious orders are communities of men or women in the Anglican Communion who live under a common rule of life. The members of religious orders take vows which often include the traditional monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, or the ancient vow of stability, or sometimes a modern interpretation of some or all of these vows. Members may be laity or clergy, but most commonly include a mixture of both. They lead a common life of work and prayer, sometimes on a single site, sometimes spread over multiple locations.

The Brotherhood of Saint Gregory is a community of friars within the Anglican Communion. The community's members, known as Gregorians, include clergy and laymen. Since 1987 there has also been a parallel order of sisters, the Sisters of Saint Gregory.

Secular Franciscan Order organization

The Secular Franciscan Order is a world-wide community of Catholic men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Jesus in the spirit of Francis of Assisi. Secular Franciscans are tertiaries, or members of the Third Order of Saint Francis founded by Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.

The Little Brothers of Francis are one of the family of Franciscan orders in the Anglican Communion. Whilst most Franciscans follow the First Order, Second Order, or Third Order Rule, the Little Brothers follow a lesser known Rule of Life for hermitages.

Clare of Assisi Italian saint

Saint Clare of Assisi is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honour as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares. Her feast day is on 11 August.

A religious brother is a member of a Christian religious institute or religious order who commits himself to following Christ in consecrated life of the Church, usually by the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He is a layman, in the sense of not being ordained as a deacon or priest, and usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry appropriate to his capabilities. A brother might practice any secular occupation. The term "brother" is used as he is expected to be as a brother to others. Brothers are members of a variety of religious communities, which may be contemplative, monastic, or apostolic in character. Some religious institutes are composed only of brothers; others are so-called "mixed" communities that are made up of brothers and clerics.

Former religious orders in the Anglican Communion

Former religious orders in the churches of the Anglican Communion are those communities of monks, nuns, friars, or sisters, having a common life and rule under vows, whose work has ended and whose community has been disbanded. In a very few cases this is due to the termination of the work for which the community was established, but in most cases it is due to amalgamation or the death of the final remaining member of the community.

Order of Friars Minor male order in the Catholic Church

The Order of Friars Minor is a mendicant Catholic religious order, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi. The order adheres to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others. The Order of Friars Minor is the largest of the contemporary First Orders within the Franciscan movement.

Franciscans are members - Friars Minor - of the Order of Friars Minor, a Catholic religious order founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi.

References

Notes

  1. For example, the OSFOC [ permanent dead link ].
  2. "The Little Sisters of St. Clare". Archived from the original on 2010-09-02. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  3. "Little Brothers of Francis". Franciscanhermitage.org. 2012-04-28. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  4. "Who We Are". Company of Jesus.
  5. "The Society of Saint Francis - The Constitution"
  6. The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis; part 2: European Province. Wantage: Printed by St Mary's Press, 1975
  7. Third Order, S.S.F., Chronicle: the journal of the European Province. Freeland, Oxon: printed by St Clare's Press. (2 issues a year)
  8. The community describes this on this webpage.
  9. The agreement and history are outlined here at the Anglican Communion website.
  10. Details here on the Anglican Communion website.
  11. "Order of Lutheran Franciscans". Lutheranfranciscans.org. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-23. Retrieved 2010-08-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2010-08-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. "Tifpecusa". Tifpecusa.faithweb.com. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  15. "The Order of Servant Franciscans". Tifpecusa.faithweb.com. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  16. "Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers Osfm".
  17. "Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers OSFM" . Retrieved 2004-11-26.
  18. "History".
  19. "Companions of Jesus – A Franciscan Community of Reconciliation".
  20. "Order of Ecumenical Franciscans". Franciscans.com. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  21. "About".

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