Franciscans International: A voice at the United Nations

(This article originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2019 Issue of TAU-USA)

Dear Sisters and Brothers,                                                         

For most of us ‘human rights’ is a vague and abstract term.  It seldom moves us until we’re confronted with what it means to lack human rights. Here’s an example:

Try to imagine living without an official identity such as a birth or marriage record. As Americans our main concern is ‘privacy’ and how to protect our health and identity records.  But have you ever imagined what it’s like to have no legal recognition of your existence?  No Social Security number or legal ID?

With a legal identity, an individual has improved access to essential services, such as healthcare, education and social welfare.  Far too many in this world lack an official identity, and as mundane as this sounds, human rights advocates work on matters such as this.

This simple issue caught my attention several years ago and caused me to follow the work of Franciscans International (FI) more closely ever since.  I subscribe to their newsletter and follow their activities online.  Human rights and Gospel values are truly linked, and our Franciscan family has a voice that’s heard at the United Nations through Franciscans International.

I encourage YOU to learn more about the mission of FI.  Try utilizing their inspirational resources with your local fraternity.  Please join in with prayer and financial support.

Jim Thomas, OFS,  Bl. Solanus Casey Regional Vice Minister


““It truly is notable that Franciscans International is one of the few non-governmental organizations that have general consultative status.  What this means is that Franciscans are really listened to because they are on the ground all around the world and know firsthand the suffering that is caused by injustice.”

Jan Parker, OFS,  National Minister – OFS-USA


“The first thirty years of FI have been dedicated to a program promoting values of the Gospel, a Franciscan ethics capable of dialogue and collaboration with people, structures and mechanisms of the UN…” 

Br. Michael Perry, OFM,  Minister General!

Conference of the Franciscan Family Celebrates 30 Years at the UN Memory and Prophecy: Franciscan Voices at the United Nations

Thirty years ago, the Franciscan Family established a voice at the United Nations.  As part of the celebration to mark this thirty-year presence, the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF) organized a gathering on 16 July in the Auditorium Antonianum in Rome.

Themed ‘Memory and Prophecy’, the event brought together over 90 sisters and brothers to reflect on the accomplishments of the past three decades as well as the challenges and opportunities ahead.  The keynote address was delivered by Br. Michael Perry, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor. Tracing the history of Franciscans International (FI), he acknowledged the particular contributions of the late Sr. Elizabeth Cameron, OSF, and Br. Dionysius Minthoff, OFM – who, at age 88, continues to work with vulnerable migrants in Malta.

Their conviction that Franciscan spirituality and ethics shared many common values with the founding charter of the United Nations ultimately lead to the establishment of FI as the first ever common ministry on the international and intra-familial scale in the history of the Franciscan movement.

For the full article see FI’s  home page at

The Conference of the Franciscan Family is the collaborative body which unites Franciscans worldwide. The Secular Franciscan Order is a member of this conference.

We are a Franciscan voice at the United Nations protecting the vulnerable, the forgotten, and our wounded earth through advocacy.

 Financial support is needed

Franciscans International is entirely dependent on donations from Franciscan Orders and Congregations (including the OFS-USA), funding agencies and institutions, parishes, and people sensitive to Franciscan values of solidarity, peace, social justice, and respect for the environment.

Make a difference with your donation and help us protect human rights.

To donate – make a check payable to:

National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order – USA (NAFRA)

Please note in the memo: “Franciscans International” and send to:

Claudia Kauzlarich OFS / 2007 Maverick Trail / Harrisonville, MO / 64701-1545