Would you like to give more time to God, but wonder how to do that when your life is so busy? Do you long for holiness, and feel a need for support in growing spiritually? Perhaps your heart has been moved by stories of St. Francis of Assisi, or the Peace Prayer attributed to him, and you are seeking that same holy simplicity, true peace and perfect joy? If so, Christ may be calling you to explore the Secular Franciscan life. We would be happy to meet with you to share about the Franciscan journey. We invite you to contact us.
The Secular Franciscan Order is an order within the Catholic Church, founded by St. Francis of Assisi during his life time, and canonically established in 1221 by Pope Honorius III.
Our foundations come from the desire of ordinary people living in the times of St. Francis who wanted to join his new order. St. Francis counseled them not to leave their families or abandon their work in the world, but to embrace the Gospel in the ordinary circumstances of their lives. He wrote a Rule of life for these men and women who came to be known as the “Brothers and Sisters of Penance.” In later year these brothers and sisters were called members of the Third Order of St. Francis. Today we are known as Secular Franciscans, and our initials are “OFS”.
The Secular Franciscan Order is made up of women and men, single or married, or members of the diocesan clergy. We live in our homes and with our families but come together on a regular basis with our local Franciscan communities which we call Fraternities. Generally, we gather in fraternity once or twice a month to pray, to share with one another about our lives, and to continue our life long journey of formation. Both individually, and as fraternities, we engage in apostolic work and various ministries, with a particular outreach to the poor and marginalized, and a focus on peace, justice and care of creation. As Franciscans we are called to prayer and contemplation, as well as to an active presence in the world.
The Secular Franciscan Order is a world-wide Order with over 300,000 members. In the United States there are over 600 local fraternities and approximately 12,000 professed members. The Holy See has entrusted the pastoral care of the Secular Franciscan Order to the Franciscan Friars of the First Order and Third Order Regular who serve as spiritual assistants to the OFS.
Admission into the Order is gradually attained through a time of initiation and a period of formation. It is a journey that involves three stages, culminating in Profession. Profession is a solemn ecclesial act by which the candidate publicly affirms their personal commitment to live the Gospel according to the Rule, and a commitment to the fraternity. To be admitted to the Order a person must be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church. In the United States the minimum age for perpetual profession is 21; for temporary profession, 18. Youth and young adults who may be interested in Secular Franciscan Order, but are not ready to make a lifelong commitment, may be interested in our program for Franciscan Youth.
Interested in joining the
Secular Franciscan Order?
Here are your next steps:
- Find a local fraternity using our interactive map (click here).
- Reach out to the contact person listed below the map for detailed information about when and where the local fraternity gathers.
- Visit the local fraternity to learn more about the Order and how to proceed on your Franciscan journey.