[This is only a list of what you will find in this article – a tremendous amount of Formation and J.P.I.C. information that we can bring to our fraternities.  The entire article can be found under Resources – CNSA – Spiritual Assistant Resources – Formation Course for NSA to OFS November 2019 – (or click here) Secular Franciscan Spirituality – Fr. Amando Tujillo Cano, TOR]

Formation Course for National Spiritual Assistants to the OFS-YouFra  


Seraphic College, Rome – November 11, 2019

Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR

The spirituality of the secular Franciscan is a plan of life centered on the person and on the following of Christ, rather than a detailed program to be put into practice (Const. OFS 9.1; cf. Rule OFS 5).


This presentation is not intended to be exhaustive or only theoretical, but rather a set of proposals that arise from my experience as a general spiritual assistant and from reflecting on some fundamental concepts of the topic at hand: Secular Franciscan spirituality. I hope that these lines serve to stimulate the reflection of each one of the participants in this formation course and to renew our desire to know and promote this spirituality among the secular brothers and sisters and the young people who want to live the Gospel in fraternity inspired by the saint of Assisi.

1.   What do we understand by spirituality?

… In principle it is important to arrive at the distinction between the different meanings of spirituality and Christian spirituality.

2.   Anthropological approach to spirituality

From an anthropological approach, the theologian J. M. Garcia says that: Spirituality is identified with a certain attitude of people in facing the finitude and radicality of human existence, referring to certain deep and vital values that encourage them to think, feel and act. …

3.   Christian spirituality

4.   Historical evolution of spiritual theology

5.   Spirituality of the lay faithful

6.   Franciscan Spirituality

7.  Sources of Secular Franciscan Spirituality

7.1. The history of the Order:

7.1.1. The previous Rules:

7.1.2. Chronicles and speeches

7.1.3. Testimony of saints, blessed, venerable, etc.

7.1.4. The Letters of the General Ministers of the Franciscan Family

7.2. The current documents of the Order

7.2.1. The Rule Seraphicus Patriarcha, 1978

7.2.2. The General Constitutions of the OFS, 2000

7.2.3. The Ritual of the OFS, 1984

7.3. The current experience of lay people and young Franciscans

8.    Elements of Secular Franciscan Spirituality

8.1. Living according to the form of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

8.2. The love for the Word of God

8.3. Living in a spirit of ongoing conversion

8.4. Faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit

8.5. Deep and familiar communion with the Trinitarian God

8.6. Living in fraternity

8.7. Ecclesial communion

8.8. Prayer, contemplation and sacramental life

8.9. Spirituality of family and marriage

8.10. Active presence in the Church and in the world

8.10.1. Secularity: building the Kingdom of God in earthly realities

8.10.2. Taking courageous initiatives in your life in society

8.10.3. Spirit of minority: or preferential pion for the poor

8.10.4. Spirituality of Work

8.10.5. Peace bearers

8.11. Living evangelical poverty

8.12. Living with hope and evangelical joy


At the end of this presentation we can conclude by saying that the spirituality of secular Franciscans has developed and manifested itself in a huge variety of historical forms, all of which have emerged from their common sources, such as the evangelical experience of St Francis of Assisi – passionate about Christ Jesus, and the penitential movement to which the saint gave new vigor at the dawn of the thirteenth century. These sources have fed the historical trajectory of the Order, going through moments of growth and challenges, through diverse kinds of relationships with the Franciscan friars, sometimes in constructive ways, but other times in contrasting ways. Throughout this process, secular Franciscan tertiaries and more recently secular Franciscans have developed a rich and fluctuating spirituality as they interacted with their respective historical and ecclesial contexts. In doing so, they have demonstrated their fundamental attitudes, which respond to their shared faith and values. Many have made a big difference in their particular time and place; some have even given their lives for the love of Christ and neighbor.

The epochal and climate changes we are experiencing today present not only new challenges to secular and young Franciscans, but also unique opportunities for them to be an evangelical ferment in our convulsed world, which is at the same time pregnant with a future that is ours to build in hope, assuming our unavoidable co-responsibility for our common home and history.

As spiritual and pastoral assistants of the OFS and YouFra, we are called to be catalysts of the Franciscan charism, through our testimony and collaboration in formation. Hundreds of thousands of Secular Franciscans and thousands of young Franciscans have also received the gift of this charism, which has not lost its value in the face of the phenomena of secularism and postmodernity. As one and single spiritual family, secular and religious Franciscans are called to build together a «life-giving union with each other» (OFS Rule 1), not seeking our self-aggrandizement, but to be true bearers of «the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church»44 for the life of the world.


Questions for reflection and sharing

  1. What do I understand by spirituality?
  2. How do secular Franciscans live their spirituality in the fraternity I assist?
  3. What can I do to promote a better understanding and practice of the spirituality of the OFS through my service as spiritual and pastoral assistant?