Secular Franciscan Order
"They have been made living members of the Church in Baptism... Therefore, they should go forth as witnesses and instruments of her mission among all people proclaiming Christ by their life and words".
Secular Franciscans are as diverse in their fidelity to following Christ as their numbers are large. They are first of all committed to living in the world, to family, job, and society. They are devoted, as well, to the church and to the speicial apostolate of their fraternity. The differences which exist among the professed members of the Order reflect both the stength of their personal gifts as well a genuine devotion to living the virtues of Saint Francis in today's world. Whatever the pattern, however, always look for and expect the gifts of peace, joy and love.
Our Lady of Consolation Fraternity hopes, by the grace of God, to embody the commitment made at our profession -- to observe the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.
Members of Our Lady of Consolation Fraternity strive to make present in their life the charisma of St. Francis within their family, their fraternity, their community, and in the life and mission of the Church, through a life of renewal and growth in the Spirit.
On the third Sunday of most months, at 3:00 p.m. Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center hosts a meeting of the Fraternity of Our Lady of Consolation of the Secular Franciscan Order.
This "third order" was started by Saint Francis himself, in response to the enormous popularity of his movement and after a personal request from the Pope. While the "first order" consists of friars --both brothers and priests– and the "second order" is the "Poor Ladies of Assisi" -- or the "Poor Clares" -- the Secular Franciscan Order is made up of Catholics of every stripe: male and female, married, single, divorced, widowed, priests, etc.
The term "Secular" indicates that we live in the world and although we make a public profession we are not bound by public vows as are religious orders living in community. Becoming a Secular Franciscan is a journey that involves three separate stages and culminates in a lifelong commitment to live the Gospel following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. This formation process unfolds in regularly scheduled formation sessions that usually involve a prayer service and a presentation and discussion on our Franciscan approach to life.
At fraternity meetings, we foster an active participation of each member in the life of the fraternity to experience community by:
1. A deep, personal and communal knowledge of the Lord Jesus and one another through Prayer (Days of Recollection, para-liturgies, communal prayer, prayer basket, prayer line, Liturgy of the Hours, etc.)
2. The sharing of insights and ways for applying the gospel life to everyday experiences, through on-going formation, faith sharing, and our Newsletter.
If you are interested in the Secular Franciscan Order, please attend a meeting or ask one of the friars to help you contact a member.
Each year Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center conducts a Friends of Francis retreat for Secular Franciscans and those who are interested in Franciscan spirituality. Please check our Calendar for a schedule of upcoming retreats.