What is a Franciscan Fraternity?
The Secular Franciscan Order is organized into small groups of spiritual families called fraternities. Both men and women may be members. Since being a Secular Franciscan is a lifetime commitment, you will have lasting relationships with other fraternity members. Unlike a prayer group that may dissolve, the Secular Franciscan fraternities are canonically established communities in the Church whose members are united for life. You will have family all over the world. When you travel to a new place, the local Franciscans will welcome you as one of their own. You will feel at home, for we have the Franciscan spirit.
What is a Franciscan vocation?
Secular Franciscans follow the OFS rule that requires us to spend time in community with our Franciscan brothers and sisters. We gather at least monthly. We support each other through the ups and downs of daily life. We pray together. We study together. Our aim is to follow Christ in the manner of Saint Francis of Assisi. We live the Gospel, so that with the help of God’s grace and the fraternal bonds of community, we may reach toward the goal of perfect Christian love. Our rule mandates us to be involved in apostolic ministries and with youth. When we are called to action we embrace the call joyfully. Some of us are religious education teachers, some have a special ministry to animals, some make a commitment to Perpetual Adoration and some work with the poor and homeless. As a fraternity we take action on issues that affect the lives of others. We do letter writing campaigns in response to social justice issues and we support the efforts of our brothers and sisters who are serving the poor around the world. We start with little things, things in our immediate surroundings. Having an inward focus on God, we reach out to others in compassion, spreading peace and good to all around us without neglecting our family and work responsibilities. Thus, little by little, we work towards helping Christ establish the Reign of God.
Is the OFS for you?
If you have a Franciscan vocation, you probably have a desire to do something more. Do you feel a need for support in growing spiritually? Or, deep down, do you sense a need to serve God in a special way? Perhaps for years you have felt an affinity with Saint Francis. He seems to pop up all around and you just don’t know why. Is God calling you? Getting to know the OFS better may be a way to determine if you have a vocation. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know us before you make any commitment. The OFS requires three months of Orientation, six months of Inquiry, and, should you still feel called to become a Franciscan, the final study and discernment time of Candidacy, which culminates in Profession into the Order. In addition to this, you’ll also be supported and connected to us by attending monthly fraternity gatherings.
If this sounds attractive to you, please contact us. The local Director of Formation together with the fraternity will help you discern whether you have a calling to the Secular Franciscan life.
Is God calling you to walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi?