Carolyn Bel, OFS
Doug Bel, OFS
Joann Carter, OFS
Dorthy Craig, OFS
Sue Fennell, OFS
Don Ferder, OFS
Merle Orthel, OFS
Bill Titus, OFS
Betty Whalen, OFSLinks Section
|Followers of Francis OFS Fraternity, |
|Walking the Path of Prayer
To St. Francis and St. Clare prayer was an important part of their tradition. They set aside time for daily liturgical prayer, community prayer and praying alone. Francis felt prayer was a necessary condition for following in the footsteps of Jesus who encouraged his followers to “pray always.” Like Francis and Clare, Jesus calls us to live a life of prayer and to live in communion. To pray always is to find oneself in prayerful communion with God and others while working, playing and experiencing all of the extraordinary and ordinary activities of daily life. Our daily living activities are not distractions from prayer but the source of meaningful prayer. Quoting Richard Rohr, “Prayer is the life of the one who prays.” Prayer is a relationship with God and the universe. Like all meaningful relationships, it takes intentional time and energy. If we are awake and present to the moment, we will grow in our relationship with God through every life experience.
Prayer is the path to following in the footsteps of Jesus. The Christian life calls us not only to take time out to pray but to live a life of service and to pursue peace and justice. Those that pray always are empowered and risk boldly the future.
--Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
|Who Are the Secular Franciscans? |
There are about a million and a half Secular Franciscans today living in many countries throughout the world. Called to a vocation, they form a unique branch of the Franciscan family tree with whom they share a common heritage. They are, in fact, the most numerous of all the different types of Franciscans within this family. Secular Franciscans throughout the ages have constantly sought to live the Gospel in the footsteps of St. Francis within the secular state in society. This diverse membership of married and unmarried lay people reflects God's desire to bring the Franciscan message beyond the boundaries of age, gender, race, and culture.
OFS local communities are called fraternities; our fraternity was canonically established on March 24, 1988. We are a global community, in turn, since our fraternities are organized into regions, which belong to a national fraternity, which is a part of the international fraternity, based in Rome, papally sanctioned (Seraphicus Patriarcha, Paul VI, 1978), and fully recognized by and faithful to the Catholic Church. The Tau (pictured above) is usually considered as the symbol of Franciscan orders due to St. Francis' love for it, symbol of the redemption and of the Cross. In the book of Ezekiel (9:4), an angel (traditionally believed to be St. Gabriel) is instructed by God to go and mark the foreheads of the faithful with the Tau symbol.
It is easier to sense Franciscan spirituality than to define it. You will find Franciscans, in each of the branches of the Order, to be intensely human. In following the Franciscan way of living the Gospel, we are truly set free from the encumbrances that bind the soul to ‘the world’. God takes a bigger place in our life, and becomes its center. In giving all control over to The Father, we are free to live, and love to the fullest, working together in Joy to accomplish His Will.
We hope that this web presence will be a means of education and outreach, reflecting the Gospel message that we attempt to live. Pax et bonum (peace and good)!
|Question of the Month|
This section consists of a question our fraternity members consider, meditate, and pray on prior to our next monthly meeting. At that meeting this question and its implications for our Franciscan lives are discussed. Through these questions, we hope that visitors to our site will get a taste of the directions that our journey is taking us.
For April & May: Historically, there have been four Franciscan popes: Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, and finally Clement XIV, who died in 1774. In what ways do you think that Pope Francis can be considered the fifth "Franciscan" pope?
For June & July: "The Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction."--Pope Francis. What face-to-face encounters do you find risky?
Do you have a Franciscan outlook, perhaps without even knowing it?
If you do, you'll likely find much to consider in Everyone's Saint. There you'll learn why the appeal of Francis' gentle acts of loving charity and emphasis on ongoing personal and institutional conversion remains so strong even after 800 years.
Other avenues of exploration in the "Links Section" toward the bottom left of this page fill you in on how Franciscans think and live.
"In the final analysis, the significance and the relevance of Francis is founded not in the charm of his personality or in the magnitude of his gentleness but in the seriousness with which he took the person of Jesus as he saw it in the Gospels." --Lawrence S. Cunningham
|How to Send Us a Prayer Request|
"Do not be anxious about anything. In everything resort to prayer and supplication together with thanksgiving and bring your requests before God." Phillippians 4:6 (CCB)
"As Jesus was the true worshipper of the Father, so let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all [Secular Franciscans] are and do." Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, 8
Prayer is integral to daily life in each of the Franciscan orders. As a ministry of this fraternity, we pray particularly for all those who request our prayers. Use the email form on the bottom of this page to make a prayer request. Only your request itself will be seen by all our members; your identity and email address will be deleted and will never be used for solicitation by ourselves or others.
The first name (only), city, and state/country of the person to be prayed for will appear on this accompanying list unless your email specifies that the person's identity should be withheld. We will post the names online as time and space allow, so that visitors to this page may add their prayers to ours for the requested intentions. Those requests most recently received appear on the accompanying list, although all requests remain in our prayers. Due to volume of requests, we regretfully are not able to provide a personal email acknowledgement or response to prayer requests.
|Books on Francis and the Franciscans|
A Smithsonian study cited in 2001 claims that more biographies have been written about Francis of Assisi than any other person who ever lived! Listed below are just a few of the numerous fine titles available from libraries, bookstores, and online booksellers. Our In Brief page has short reviews of a few more.
LITTLE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS - (many editions and translations)
| The Franciscan Crown & the "Little Offices"|
The Franciscan rosary, or as it is properly called, The Franciscan Crown, dates to the early part of the 15th century. At that time a young man who found spiritual joy in weaving a crown of wild flowers for a beautiful statue of Mary decided to enter the Franciscan Order. After entering the community, however, he was saddened when he no longer found the time to gather flowers for his personal devotion. One evening, while feeling tempted to abandon his vocation, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mother encouraged the young novice to persevere by reminding him of the joyfulness of the Franciscan spirit. She also instructed him to meditate daily on seven joyful events from her own life as a new form of the rosary. Instead of a crown of flowers, the novice would now weave a crown of prayers. Before long, many other Franciscans began to pray the Crown and soon it spread to the entire Order, becoming officially established in 1422. (Much more on the Crown is provided by the Franciscan Friars Third Order Regular.)
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin is one form of daily prayer for Secular Franciscans. Since there are several editions (here is one), there is some difference but in general, the structure of the Little Office of the BVM is based on the Liturgy of the Hours, but with much fewer variations and almost no page turning.
Saint Francis composed the Office of the Passion. It can found in some versions of our Ritual, and also in a separate book: "The Geste of the Great King," by Laurent Galliant, OFM and Andre Cirini, OFM. The Geste (unfortunately out of print and only available used) is perhaps more useful because it has hymns and hymn tones and an easily understood structure of how to pray it. Here is one of the online versions.
The Office of the Twelve Our Fathers is perhaps the simplest to pray. One prays the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be twelve times. Books can be found with optional short antiphons; here is an online version. This would be useful for a hospitalized or incapacitated Franciscan or when one is traveling, but the Office of the Twelve Our Fathers can be used by any Secular Franciscan. As our Ritual states: "This form of prayer still thrives in many parts of the world and is a useful way of praying in everyday circumstances."
|FOLLOWERS OF FRANCIS OFS FRATERNITY, SPRINGFIELD, MO|
2818 E Bennett Springfield, MO 65804