Secular Franciscan Order

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Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
OFS-Mezinarodni znak.jpg
AbbreviationOFS, Secular Franciscan
MottoPax et bonum
("Peace and the good")
Formation1221
Founder Francis of Assisi
Type Catholic public association
Headquarters Rome, Italy
Minister General
Tibor Kauser [1]
Main organ
International Council
Website www.ciofs.org

The Secular Franciscan Order (Latin : Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, postnominal abbreviation O.F.S.; also called the Third Order Secular) is a world-wide community[ clarification needed ] of Catholic men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Jesus in the spirit[ clarification needed ] of Francis of Assisi. Secular Franciscans are tertiaries, or[ clarification needed ] members of the Third Order of Saint Francis founded by Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.[ clarification needed ] [2] [3]

Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that that individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decoration, or honour, or is a member of a religious institute or fraternity. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters, but in some contexts it may be customary to limit the number of sets to one or just a few. The order in which post-nominals are listed after a name is based on rules of precedence and what is appropriate for a given situation. Post-nominal letters are one of the main types of name suffix. In contrast, pre-nominal letters precede the name rather than following it.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Contents

Originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance,[ clarification needed ] the Order is open to any Catholic not bound by religious vows to another religious order and is made up of both the laity (male and female non-clergy) and secular clergy (deacons, priests, and bishops). [4]

Religious vows promises made by members of religious communities

Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.

A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of laypeople and, in some orders, clergy. Religious orders exist in many of the world's religions.

In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.

Although Secular Franciscans make a public profession[ clarification needed ] and are consecrated[ clarification needed ], they are not bound by public vows[ clarification needed ] as are religious living in community[ clarification needed ]. [5] The Third Order Regular (TOR),[ clarification needed ] which grew out of the Third Order Secular,[ clarification needed ] do make religious vows and live in community.[ clarification needed ] [5]

The Third Order of Saint Francis, is a third order in the Franciscan order. The preaching of Francis of Assisi, as well as his example, exercised such an attraction on people that many married men and women wanted to join the First Order (friars) or the Second Order (nuns), but this being incompatible with their state of life, Francis found a middle way and in 1221 gave them a rule according to the Franciscan charism. Those following this rule became members of the Franciscan Third Order, sometimes called tertiaries. It includes religious congregations of men and women, known as Third Order Regulars; and fraternities of men and women, Third Order Seculars. The latter do not wear a religious habit, take vows, or live in community. However, they do gather together in community on a regular basis. "They make profession to live out the Gospel life and commit themselves to that living out the Gospel according to the example of Francis."

Because the Order belongs to the spiritual family[ clarification needed ] of the Franciscans,[ clarification needed ] the Holy See has entrusted its pastoral care and spiritual assistance[ clarification needed ] to the Franciscan First Order (Order of Friars Minor, Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, and Order of Friars Minor Conventual) and Franciscan Third Order Regular (TOR), which belong to the same spiritual family.[ clarification needed ] [6]

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.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholics around the world. As a sovereign entity, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is sovereign. It is organized into polities of the Latin Church and the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

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.

History

Foundation of the Secular Third Order

The Secular Franciscan Order and other Franciscan movements are disciples of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Painting by El Greco (1541-1614). Francisbyelgreco.jpg
The Secular Franciscan Order and other Franciscan movements are disciples of St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226). Painting by El Greco (1541–1614).

The preaching of St. Francis, as well as his example, exercised such a powerful attraction on people that many married men and women wanted to join the First or the Second Order. Because being married was incompatible with the order, Francis found a middle way and gave them a rule animated by the Franciscan spirit. In the composition of this rule St. Francis was assisted by his friend Cardinal Ugolino di Conti (later Pope Gregory IX). [7]

Pope Gregory IX 178th Pope

Pope Gregory IX was Pope from 19 March 1227 to his death in 1241. He is known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition in response to the failures of the episcopal inquisitions established during the time of Pope Lucius III through his papal bull Ad abolendam issued in 1184.

Where the Third Order was first introduced is unknown. The preponderance of opinion is Florence, chiefly on the authority of Mariano of Florence, or Faenza, who cites the first papal bull known on the subject (Regesta pontificum). The less authoritative Fioretti assigns Cannara, a small town two hours' walk from the Portiuncula, as the birthplace of the Third Order. [7] Mariano, Thomas of Celano, and the Bull for Faenza (16 December 1221) suggest that 1221 was the earliest date for founding of the Third Order.

Another story tells of Luchesius Modestini, a greedy merchant from Poggibonzi, who had his life changed by meeting Francis about 1213. He and his wife Buonadonna were moved to dedicate their lives to prayer and serving the poor. While many couples of that era who experienced a religious conversion chose to separate and enter monasteries, this couple felt called to live out this new way of life together. Francis was moved to write a Rule for them which would allow them to do so. Thus began the Brothers and Sisters of Penance in the Franciscan movement, which came to be called the Franciscan Third Order. The Chiesa della Buona Morte in the city of Cannara (Church of the Good Death, previously named "Church of the Stigmata of S. Francesco") claims to be the birthplace of the Third Order. Another contender from the same city is the Church of S. Francesco.

This way of life was quickly embraced by many couples and single men and women who did not feel called to the stark poverty of the friars and nuns, especially widows. They zealously practiced the lessons Francis taught concerning prayer, humility, peacemaking, self-denial, fidelity to the duties of their state, and above all charity. Like Francis, they cared for lepers and outcasts. Even canonical hermits were able to follow this Rule and bring themselves into the orbit of the Franciscan vision. The Order came to be a force in the medieval legal system, since one of its tenets forbade the use of arms, and thus the male members of the order could not be drafted into the constant and frequent battles between cities and regions in that era.

Third Order of St. Francis in Canada

The Third Order of St. Francis was established by the Recollects at Quebec in 1671 and later at Three Rivers and Montreal. In 1681 a Recollect notes that "many pious people of Quebec belong to the Third Order". After the cession of Canada to England in 1763 following the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Third Order, deprived of its directors, gradually disappeared but was revived In the 1840s.

The 1840 revival was led by Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal. Noted naturalist Léon Abel Provancher was particularly active. In 1866, having received faculties from the General of the Friars Minor, Provancher established a fraternity in his parish at Portneuf Quebec, [8] and promoted the Third Order in his writings. For two years he edited a monthly review he published on the Third Order.

On a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Provancher met Frédéric Janssoone and the two became friends. In 1881 Janssoone went to Canada, where he gave new spirit to the Third Order, inaugurating and visiting fraternities. On one occasion, he preached a four-hour sermon on the Stations of the Cross in the church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, to a women's Third Order group from Montreal. [9] Shortly after Leo XIII published his Encyclicals on the Third Order, the Canadian bishops recommended the Third Order to their clergy and faithful. When Father Frederic returned in 1888, several bishops, among them Bishop Louis-François Richer Laflèche of Trois-Rivières and Archbishop Taschereau, welcomed him as its promoter.

The foundation of a community of Friars Minor at Montreal in 1890 inaugurated a new era of growth for the Third Order. As of 2016 there were over 5,000 active members in approximately 200 fraternities. [10]

Third Order of St. Francis in Great Britain

Little is known of the Third Order in Great Britain prior to the Reformation. In 1385 there were 8 fraternities in the British Isles, compared with twenty-nine in France. Fr. William Staney, the first commissary of the order in England after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, wrote "A Treatise of the Third Order of St. Francis", published at Douai in 1617. Alice Ingham became a member of the lay society of the third order of St Francis in 1872. She later went on to found the Sisters of St. Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions. [11] In 1877 the English Franciscans initiated publication of The Franciscan Annual and monthly bulletin of the Third Order. A national conference of British tertiaries, with a view to strengthening and consolidating the order, was held in 1898 at Liverpool. A second national conference was held at Leeds.

As in other regions, the members of the Order are now self-governing, under the auspices of a National Fraternity. In Britain, the National Fraternity is made up of nine regional fraternities. In Scotland there are fraternities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. [12]

Third Order of St. Francis in Ireland

The Third Order was active in Dublin during the medieval period. There were tertiaries assisting the Conventual Franciscans at Drogheda in 1855. Although the friary closed in 2000, the Secular Franciscans continue to meet in Drogheda. [13] A renewal of the Third Order in Dublin began around 1860. A fraternity was established by the Capuchins in Cork in 1866 [14] and another in Kilkenny. [15] Matt Talbot joined the Third Order in Merchants Quay in 1890. [16] Merchants Quay was later turned into a Third Order Centre with rooms where tertiaries could meet and relax. [17]

In the late nineteenth century the Irish Franciscans produced the Irish Franciscan Tertiary, a monthly journal for the Third Order Franciscans. [18] Six hundred tertiaries met in Dublin in 1971 to celebrate the seven hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the order. As of 2014, Secular Franciscans in Ireland numbered over 1200. [19]

Third Order of St. Francis in the United States

Early Franciscan missionaries established fraternities in the Southern and Southwestern states, where there was extensive French and Spanish Catholic influence. A fraternity was established at Santa Fe before 1680. Another fraternity operated in Santa Fe, New Mexico almost from the time of the Reconquest (1692–1695), as reported by the Father Guardian (custos), José Bernal, dated 17 September 1794. Single individuals among the Indians were sometimes classified as tertiaries. It is likely that a confraternity was founded at St. Augustine, Florida, before the close of the 16th century, as this was the first Spanish settlement in what is now the United States. A confraternity was established at San Antonio, Texas, before the middle of the 18th century. The establishment of provinces of the order of Friars Minor brought about the establishment of many confraternities. In 1919 a number of friar provincials set up a national organization. [20]

With the approval of a new Rule in 1978, the fraternities were reorganized as an independent arm of the Franciscan Movement. The National Fraternity of the United States was formed and divided into thirty regions. As of 2016, there are over 12,000 Secular Franciscans in the United States. [21]

Third Order of St. Francis in Oceania

The Secular Franciscans Oceania is the National Fraternity for Australia, Papua New Guinea, Sabah, and Singapore. New Zealand has its own National Fraternity. [22]

The Rule

The earliest Rule was found in the Guarnacci Library in Volterra. [23] This primitive document is known as the Earlier Exhortation, or the Earlier Version, of "The Letter to All the Faithful" and was likely composed before 1215. An expanded version, the Later Exhortation, was completed by about 1220. Both Exhortations were composed by Francis. [23] Both documents call the lay faithful to a life of penance, i.e., of turning away from sin and toward God. In the Earlier Exhortation, Francis describes the elements of the conversion process:

1) love God 2) love one's neighbor 3) turn away from our sinful tendencies 4) "receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ" and, as a result of the above, 5) producing worthy fruits of penance – a renewed life characterized by charity, forgiveness and compassion toward others. [4]

Francis speaks in ecstatic terms of those who embrace this way of life: "Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them since the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them and He will make His home and dwelling among them. They are children of the heavenly Father whose works they do, and they are spouses, brothers and mothers of Our Lord Jesus Christ." [4]

The "primitive rule" was approved by Pope Honorius III in 1221 with the Memoriale Propositi, and revised in 1289 by the Franciscan Pope Nicholas IV with the Supra montem, and by Pope Leo XIII approving in 1883 Misericors Dei Filius. [3] The current rule was given by Pope Paul VI in 1978 with the Apostolic letter Seraphicus Patriarcha [24] and is designed to adapt the Secular Franciscan Order to the changing needs and expectations of the Church.

The spirit of the Rule is found in Article 4:

The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: To observe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the Truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the Gospel, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel. [4]

Structure

The Secular Franciscan Order is a religious order in the Catholic Church. [6] It is divided into fraternities at various levels: local, regional, national, and international. The OFS is governed by the universal law of the Church and by its own Rule, Constitutions, Ritual, and statutes. The interpretation of the Rule and of the Constitutions is done by the Holy See. The practical interpretation of the Constitutions, with the purpose of harmonizing its application in different areas and at the various levels of the Order, belongs to the General Chapter of the OFS. The clarification of specific points which require a timely decision belongs to the Presidency of the International Council of the OFS. The International Council of the OFS statutes are approved by the General Chapter of the OFS and confirmed by the Union of the Franciscan Ministers General.

National fraternities have their own statutes approved by the Presidency of the International Council of the OFS. The regional and the local fraternities may have their own statutes approved by the council of the higher level. The fraternities at different levels are animated and guided by the minister or president, with the council, in accordance with the Rule, the Constitutions, and their own Statutes. These offices are conferred through elections. NAFRA reports that in the United States there are currently 30 regions, 700 fraternities, and 14,500 professed members. In 2002, the CIOFS reported a worldwide membership of 400,000 professed members.

The International Fraternity is constituted by the organic union of all the Catholic Secular Franciscan fraternities in the world. It is identical to the OFS with its own juridical personality within the Church, organized and in conformity with the Constitutions and its own Statutes. The International Fraternity is guided and animated by the Minister or President with the International Council (CIOFS), which has its seat in Rome, Italy.

Spirituality

Franciscan spirituality

Francis's spirituality was simply to "observe the Gospel." [25]

Pope Pius XII stated in 1956:

There is, then, a Franciscan doctrine in accordance with which God is holy, is great, and above all, is good, indeed the supreme Good. For in this doctrine, God is love. He lives by love, creates for love, becomes flesh and redeems, that is, he saves and makes holy, for love. There is also a Franciscan way of contemplating Jesus: the meeting of uncreated Love with created love. Similarly, there is a method of loving Him and of imitating Him: in reality it sees the Man-God, and prefers to consider Him in His holy Humanity, because this reveals Him more clearly and, as it were, allows Him to be touched. From this arises a burning devotion to the Incarnation and the Passion of Jesus, because these (mysteries) allow us to see Him, not so much in His glory, in His omnipotent grandeur, or in His eternal triumph, as rather in His human love – so tender in the manger, so sorrowful on the cross. [26]

As a summary of the elements of Franciscan spirituality, a Franciscan should live:

Bonaventure (1221-1274), painting by Claude Francois, ca. 1650-1660. Francois, Claude (dit Frere Luc) - Saint Bonaventure.jpg
Bonaventure (1221–1274), painting by Claude François, ca. 1650–1660.

St. Bonaventure

Saint Bonaventure, the seraphic doctor, is regarded as deeply penetrated and imbued with the mind of Saint Francis of Assisi. Étienne Gilson has said that in reading Saint Bonaventure, one receives the impression that it is if Saint Francis has been raised up and is philosophizing. [27]

Bonaventure sought to know God in Him in order to love and serve Him. Besides his popular writing, Bonaventure has written works of pure spirituality in strict dependence and vital application on Christ, because he felt that all knowledge that is not founded on Christ is vain. The work which sums up all his doctrine is the "Collationes in Hexaemeron", a synthesis of all human knowledge, including spirituality. [27]

Bl. John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus (c1266-1308) John Duns Scotus - geograph.org.uk - 1178460.jpg
John Duns Scotus (c1266–1308)

The second of the Franciscan masters produced no notable treatise on spirituality, but John Duns Scotus has systematized the primacy on which Franciscan spirituality is founded. He has given many suggestions and produced many texts such that his disciples and his commentators can be guided by him, and thus came to reveal Franciscan thought and its spirituality, though he differs notably from Bonaventure. [27]

In early education, in training, and in his days at Oxford as student and later as master, John Duns Scotus deepened the understanding of the real and the concrete. He entered the School to profit from the works of Alexander of Hales, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, and Roger Bacon. Thus John Duns Scotus joined his predecessor Bonaventure on a similar interpretation of the function and mission of Jesus Christ given by Francis, that Christ is the highest grace God offers His creatures, and their response controls their attitude to God. [27]

Being secular

One of the most important consequences of the Secular Franciscan charism is that the spiritual formation of the OFS must cater for those whose vocation is, motivated by the Gospel, to live in secular circumstances. Intimate union with Christ lies at the heart of the OFS vocation. Secular Franciscans should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church and in liturgical activity. They do this by studying, loving and living in an integrated human and evangelical life. [28]

Twenty-first century Secular Franciscans live out the secular aspect of their charism by paying attention to three things. First, they draw on the rich experience of Franciscan figures of the past, who were both contemplative and dedicated to activities as parents, single people, kings, craftsmen, recluses, and people involved in welfare activities. Second, at the beginning of the third millennium, they face a test of their creativity when confronted by the new evangelisation. Third, they cultivate a deep knowledge of Francis the prophet, an example from the past, leading them into the future. [28]

Fraternity

The Secular Franciscan charism is not given to an individual person but to a group of brothers and sisters. Thus from the outset, it is a group that is shaped by the Holy Church, and it is only in this context that the charism can thrive. [28]

The fraternity of the Order finds its origin in the inspiration of Francis to whom the Most High revealed the essential Gospel quality of life in fraternal communion. The vocation of the Order is, therefore, a vocation to live the Gospel in fraternal communion. For one's initial formation, participation in the meetings of the local fraternity is an indispensable presupposition for initiation into community of prayer and into fraternal life. [28]

Missionary activity

Secular Franciscans can be recognized by the Tau Cross they wear as a lapel pin (here) or pendant. Secular Franciscan Order, pin.jpg
Secular Franciscans can be recognized by the Tau Cross they wear as a lapel pin (here) or pendant.

The Secular Franciscans commit themselves to live the Gospel according to Franciscan spirituality in their secular condition. The Secular Franciscan must personally and assiduously study the Gospel and Sacred Scripture to foster love for the word of the Gospel and help the brothers and sisters to know and understand it as it is proclaimed by the Church with the assistance of the Spirit. Secular Franciscans, called in earlier times "the brothers and sisters of penance", propose to live in the spirit of continual conversion. Some means to cultivate this characteristic of the Franciscan vocation, individually and in fraternity, are: listening to and celebrating the Word of God; review of life; spiritual retreats; the help of a spiritual adviser; and penitential celebrations. Secular Franciscans should pledge themselves to live the spirit of the Beatitudes and, in a special way, the spirit of poverty. Evangelical poverty demonstrates confidence in the Father, affects interior freedom, and disposes them to promote a more just distribution of wealth. They must provide for their own families and serve society by means of their work and material goods. They have a particular manner of living evangelical poverty. To understand and achieve it requires a strong personal commitment and the stimulation of the fraternity in prayer and dialogue, communal review of life, and attentiveness to the instructions of the Church and the demands of society. They pledge themselves to reduce their own personal needs so as to be better able to share spiritual and material goods with their brothers and sisters, especially those most in need. They should give thanks to God for the goods they have received, using them as good stewards and not as owners. They should take a firm position against consumerism and against ideologies and practices which prefer riches over human and religious values and which permit the exploitation of the human person. They should love and practice purity of heart, the source of true fraternity. [29]

Environmental justice

Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, Patron of Ecology, they collaborate with efforts to fight pollution and to conserve all that is valuable in nature. This conservation keeps in mind that the exploitation of the environment often puts disproportionate hardships on the poor, especially if they live in the affected areas.

Social justice

Secular Franciscans are called to make their own contribution, inspired by the person and message of Francis, towards a civilization in which the dignity of the human person, shared responsibility, and love may be living realities. They should firmly commit themselves to oppose every form of exploitation, discrimination, and exclusion and against every attitude of indifference in relation to others. They promote the building of fraternity among peoples: they should be committed to create worthy conditions of life for all and to work for the freedom of all people. Secular Franciscans attempt to be in the forefront in the field of public life. They should collaborate as much as possible for the passage of just laws and ordinances.

Work and leisure

For Francis, work is a gift and to work is a grace. Daily work is not only the means of livelihood, but the opportunity to serve God and neighbor as well as a way to develop one's own personality. In the conviction that work is a right and a duty and that every form of occupation deserves respect, the brothers and sisters should commit themselves to collaborate so that all persons may have the possibility to work and so that working conditions may always be more humane. Leisure and recreation have their own value and are necessary for personal development. Secular Franciscans should maintain a balance between work and rest and should strive to make meaningful use of their leisure time.

Peace

Secular Franciscans are called to be bearers of peace in their families and in society The renunciation of the use of violence, characteristic of the followers of Francis, does not mean the renunciation of action. Peace is the work of justice and the fruit of reconciliation and of fraternal love. While acknowledging both the personal and national right to self-defense, they should respect the choice of those who, because of conscientious objection, refuse to bear arms. However, the brothers and sisters should take care that their interventions are always inspired by Christian love.

Family

Secular Franciscans should consider their own family to be the first place in which to live their Christian commitment and Franciscan vocation. They should make space within it for prayer, for the Word of God, and for Christian catechesis. They should concern themselves with respect for all life in every situation from conception until death. Married couples find in the Rule of the OFS an effective aid in their own journey of Christian life, aware that in the sacrament of matrimony their love shares in the love that Christ has for his Church. The beauty and the strength of the human love of the spouses is a profound witness for their own family, the Church, and the world.

Youth

Out of the conviction of the need to educate children to take an interest in community, "bringing them the awareness of being living, active members of the People of God" and because of the fascination which Saint Francis of Assisi can exercise on them, the formation of groups of children should be encouraged. With the help of a pedagogy and an organization suitable to their age, these children should be initiated into a knowledge and love of the Franciscan life. National statutes will give an appropriate orientation for the organization of these groups and their relationship to the fraternity and to the groups of Franciscan youth. The Franciscan Youth is formed by those young people who feel called by the Holy Spirit to share the experience of the Christian life in fraternity, in the light of the message of Francis, deepening their own vocation within the context of the Secular Franciscan Order. [30]

Entrance into the Order, and formation

Conditions for admission are: to profess the Catholic faith, to live in communion with the Church, to be of good moral standing, and to show clear signs of a vocation. Membership in the Order is attained through a time of initiation, a time of formation, and the Profession of the Rule. The journey of formation, which is expected to develop throughout life, begins with entrance into the fraternity. Those responsible for formation are: the candidate, the entire fraternity, the minister with the council, the master of formation, and the assistant as spiritual guide. Profession is the solemn ecclesial act by which the candidate renews the baptismal promises and in a public profession consecrates their lives to the service of God's kingdom and to live the Gospel in the world according to the example of Francis and following the Rule of the OFS. [31]

Contemporary Secular Franciscans

Membership of the Secular Franciscan Order includes lay men and women as well as diocesan priests. A number of Popes have been members of this Order. Professed members use the letters OFS after their name in line with the official name of the Order.

The current rule was given by Pope Paul VI in 1978 with the Apostolic letter Seraphicus Patriarcha. [32] It is designed to adapt the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Church in the conditions of changing times.

Under this new Rule, the tertiaries of the Franciscan movement were set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. They were removed from the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular. In 1990 a new set of Constitutions were written and approved by the General Chapter of the Order held in Madrid, Spain, to clarify issues related to the revised Rule. In A.D. 2000, the appropriate agencies of the Catholic Church, in the name of Pope John Paul II, gave the official approval to the final form of the Constitutions, with an effective date of 8 February 2001. The Order is now known as the Secular Franciscan Order (abbreviated as O.F.S.) The Secular Franciscan Order is a fully recognized order within the Catholic church and part of the Franciscan family. The present active membership of the Order worldwide is about 350,000.

A summary of the elements of Franciscan spirituality, includes living in communion with Christ poor and crucified, in the love of God, and in brother/sisterhood with all people and all of creation. [25]

Famous Secular Franciscans

The following people belonging to the Order have been proclaimed saints:

Louis IX of France (1214-1270) was declared Patron of the Order. Louis-ix.jpg
Louis IX of France (1214–1270) was declared Patron of the Order.
Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) is the Patroness of the Order. Marianne Stokes St Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor.jpg
Elizabeth of Hungary (1207–1231) is the Patroness of the Order.
Joan of Arc (1412-1431) Joan of Arc miniature graded.jpg
Joan of Arc (1412–1431)

Seventeen members of the Third Order of St. Francis were included in the canonization of the 26 Martyrs of Japan. More members of the Third Order of St. Francis were included in the canonization of the Martyrs of Japan and the Chinese Martyrs.

Numerous Secular Franciscans have been beatified, including:

Eight other Secular Franciscans have served as Bishop of Rome (Pope):

Other famous Secular Franciscans include:

See also

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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.

Bonaventure 13th-century philosopher, Franciscan, theologian, and saint

Saint Bonaventure, born Giovanni di Fidanza, was an Italian medieval Franciscan, scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonised on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. He is known as the "Seraphic Doctor". Many writings believed in the Middle Ages to be his are now collected under the name Pseudo-Bonaventure.

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an order of friars within the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Friar Roberto Genuin.

Apostolic poverty is a Christian doctrine professed in the thirteenth century by the newly formed religious orders, known as the mendicant orders, in direct response to calls for reform in the Roman Catholic Church. In this, these orders attempted to live their lives without ownership of lands or accumulation of money, following the precepts given to the seventy disciples in the Gospel of Luke (10:1-24), and succeeding to varying degrees. The ascetic Pope Paschal II's solution of the Investiture Controversy in his radical Concordat of 1111 with the Emperor, repudiated by the cardinals, was that the ecclesiastics of Germany should surrender to the imperial crown their fiefs and secular offices. Paschal proved to be the last of the Gregorianist popes.

Mendicant orders Type of religious lifestyle

Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Christian religious orders that have adopted a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model. This foresaw living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings and other wealth. By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property at all, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached.

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.

Order of Friars Minor Conventual organization

The Order of Friars Minor Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, or Minorites, is a branch of the Catholic Order of Friars Minor, founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.

As known, Saint Francis founded three orders and gave each of them a special rule. Here, only the rule of the first order is to be considered, i.e., that of the Order of Friars Minor.

Discalced Carmelites religious order

The Discalced Carmelites, known officially as the Order of the Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or the Order of Discalced Carmelites, is a Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. The order was established in the 16th century, pursuant to the reform of the Carmelite Order by two Spanish saints, Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross. Discalced is derived from Latin, meaning "without shoes".

Catholic spirituality Sprituality and devotions, and religious life focused on at least one aspect in Catholic Church

Catholic spirituality includes the various ways in which Catholics live out their Baptismal promise through prayer and action. The primary prayer of all Catholics is the Eucharistic liturgy in which they celebrate and share their faith together, in accord with Jesus' instruction: "Do this in memory of me." The Catholic bishops at the Second Vatican Council decreed that "devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them." In accord with this, many additional forms of prayer have developed over the centuries as means of animating one's personal Christian life, at times in gatherings with others. Each of the religious orders and congregations of the Catholic church, as well as lay groupings, has specifics to its own spirituality – its way of approaching God in prayer to foster its way of living out the Gospel.

The Little Brothers of St. Francis were members of a Roman Catholic institute of Religious Brothers founded in the Archdiocese of Boston on September 8, 1970, by Brother James T. Curran, L.B.S.F.. Canonically designated as a Private Association of the Faithful, the community was spiritually affiliated to the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the Order of Friars Minor. Striving to be poor in spirit, they worked to serve the needs of the homeless primarily through prayer and presence. They followed a contemplative life based on the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, also influenced by the Rule for Hermitages written by St. Francis of Assisi. The community disbanded in 2013.

The Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance is a mendicant order rooted in the Third Order of St. Francis which was founded in 1447.

Angela of Foligno Italian saint

Saint Angela of Foligno, T.O.S.F. was an Italian Franciscan tertiary who became known as a mystic from her extensive writings about her mystical revelations. Due to the respect those writings engendered in the Catholic Church she became known as "Mistress of Theologians".

The Third Order of Saint Dominic, also referred to as the Lay Fraternities of St Dominic or Lay Dominicans since 1972, is a Roman Catholic third order affiliated with the Dominican Order.

Vocational discernment is the process in which men or women in the Catholic Church discern, or recognize, their vocation in the church. The vocations are the life as layman in the world, either married or single, the ordained life and the consecrated life.

Elizabeth of Reute German Franciscan mystic and saint

The Blessed Elizabeth of Reute, T.O.R., was a German Franciscan tertiary sister who is venerated as a mystic and as having borne the Stigmata.

Franciscans of Life

The Franciscans of Life is a Catholic community in the territory of the Archdiocese of Miami. Founded in 2009 by a professed Franciscan, it is a brotherhood of Catholic laymen consecrated to living the Gospel according to their Constitutions and the Rule of 1221 of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance.

References

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Further reading