“The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and 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, 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.”
(Article 4, Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)
Secular Franciscan Order (Latin: Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis)
The simple, Gospel way of life of St. Francis of Assisi attracted a vast number of lay people and Diocesan Clergy. They received direction from Francis and were known as the “Brothers and Sisters of Penance”. Receiving an official Rule in 1238, they were called “The Third Order of St Francis” and today we are known as the “Secular Franciscan Order”.
Secular Franciscans are to pray daily, imitating the prayer life of Francis. He put great emphasis on the “spirit of prayer and devotion”. The intense, simple and spontaneous nature of his prayer is summarized in his famous prayer:
“My God and My All”
Secular Franciscans assemble frequently as a true spiritual family called “Fraternity”. We gather to meet with one another, share our struggles, celebrate our successes, to rekindle our Franciscan ideals and to receive nourishment for our spiritual journey.
As a Lay Order, the Secular Franciscan Order stresses conversion, seeking Christian perfection first. The second basic but equally essential aim is the personal and social apostolate. Secular Franciscans are expected to be active in their Parishes and to give special care to working in six areas that should be concerns for every Christian today:
Peace and Justice
We are called to be messengers of Peace, Joy and Hope to our families and to society by the example of our daily lives.
(From St Elizabeth of Hungary Region OFS webpage)
Links to Secular Franciscan fraternities: