This page appeared in the CIOFS publication, VOX Franciscana, and is available at the following link: https:// spring-2023/

CIOFS Presidency at work


Tuesday’s meeting began with Minister General Tibor Kauser giving a formation talk on servant leadership.

Leadership is tied to community; that is, a leader needs a team to move ahead with a project or strive for a goal. So, he said, a leader helps form and protect community, and helps members grow in their OFS vocation.

When looking at traits of leaders, one should recognize that leaders are not uniform. “Look at Moses, Jesus, St. Peter, St Francis, St. Bonaventure…”

But some characteristics should be common to OFS leaders:

  • Help form and strengthen the fraternity – it’s the OFS home.
  • Encourage and maintain communication, which brings people closer.
  • Encourage collaboration, with members using their charisms and talents.
  • Serve the growth of everyone.
  • Do not be afraid of new approaches.
  • Be prayerful (be ready to be with the Holy Spirit).
  • Live a sacramental and penitential life.
  • Embody a spirit of service (“washing the feet of others”).
  • Maintain an overview; have vision.
  • Be able to organize; and be ready to speak.
  • Always be open to dialogue, and able to evaluate a situation.

— What would Jesus do?

— Listen. Consult. Discern. Decide.

— Collective decisions are collegial when everyone respects one another.

  • Love your brothers and sisters. (Mutual respect essential for servant leadership.)
  • Be Franciscan.


Being a Secular Franciscan means being engaged in a ministry of service, Noemi Paola Riccardi reminded fellow members of the CIOFS Presidency in a Monday morning session.

“St Peter tells us what to do and how to do it: ‘Let each one place the gift he has received at the service of others…’ and ‘… whosoever does a service, let him do it with the strength that is given to him by God…’”

She went on to point out that in the OFS the function of “animation and guidance” is a collegial one. “Guidance and animation are entrusted to a set of elected persons, called to exercise co-responsibility and co-participation. We know well that with Profession we are all ‘animators’ or, at least, called to ‘animate’ the Fraternity, making available the talents/gifts God has given us.”

She noted some key traits of service, among them:

  • Personal presence (a fundamental requirement).
  • Witness of life (living evangelical life).
  • Prayer (it is the fuel for serving).
  • Collaboration (taking active interest in all service areas).
  • Graciousness (“Pope Francis emphasized that, like Jesus, we must serve with- out asking for anything and reiterated that we must not take control of service ‘by turning it into a power structure’.”)

Noemi identified another important element of service – listening. Listen before acting or making decisions. She suggested following the advice of a Greek philosopher: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”