What is the Secular Franciscan Order?
The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is a worldwide community of Catholic men and women, married and single. We live in the world in communion with the Church in Rome. We seek to pattern our lives after Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. OFSs are members of the Third Order of St. Francis as canonically established by Pope Honorius III in 1221.
Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live, work, worship and play. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others grow in faith.
In today’s world we are plagued by time schedules, projects and activities that may leave us tense and stressed. The OFS becomes our place of spiritual refuge and renewal where others support and inspire us on our spiritual journey. Secular Franciscans use the example of walking in St. Francis’ footsteps as we endeavor to bring Christ more fully into our daily lives.
What do Secular Franciscan do?
Secular Franciscans gather monthly. We support each other through the ups and downs of daily life. We pray together. We create opportunities to learn about our Church, our community and our world. Secular Franciscans do not make religious vows of chastity or poverty.
The OFS members are involved in apostolic ministries and with youth. When we are called to action, we embrace the call joyfully. Examples of Franciscan service include: teaching religious education, leading the rosary before masses, committing to Perpetual Adoration, serving as stewards of the environment and working with the poor, sick and homeless.
Is the OFS for you?
If you have a Franciscan vocation, you probably have a desire to do something more — perhaps you feel a need for support in growing spiritually. Perhaps, deep down, you sense a need to serve God in a special way. Perhaps you have felt an affinity with St. Francis of Assisi, Padre Pio, St. Clare, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Louis IX, St. Joan of Arc or other Franciscan saints. Perhaps God is calling you to the Franciscan family.
Getting to know the OFS better may be a way to determine if you have a Franciscan vocation. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know us before you make a commitment.
The three required phases of spiritual progression that encompass the two year period prior to the formal lifetime commitment are: Orientation, Inquiry and Candidacy.
Both during exploration of a potential vocation in the Fraternity and following the lifetime commitment, there are monthly gatherings, informal study sessions, retreats, volunteering opportunities and other programs.
St. Margaret of Cortona Fraternity – Bloomington
Linda Howley-Skuby, OFS
Click here to view other Fraternities in the Franciscans of the Prairie Region.