ORDO FRATRUM MINORUM

Franciscan

Friars

About

The Order

 

The Order of Friars Minor, founded by St. Francis of Assisi, is a fraternity. In a more complete fulfilment of their baptismal consecration and in answer to the divine call, the friars give themselves totally to God, their supreme love; through profession of obedience, poverty and chastity, which they are to live in the spirit of Saint Francis.

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The Friars Minor, embodied in the People of God, paying attention to the new signs of the times and responding to the conditions of a developing world, are always to be of one mind with the Church; they are to adopt as their own and foster as much as they can the Church’s undertakings and aims.

Mission

 

THE OFM PRIORITIES

 

Our entire fraternity is missionary and shares in the mission of the Church, following the example of St. Francis and the desire he expressed in the Rule. Each friar, therefore, conscious of his own responsibility, is to play his part in missionary work.

Spirit of Prayer and Devotion

Mission and Evangelisation

Formation and Study

Fraternity

Minority

History

 

Over 800 years ago, a young man in Assisi heard a sermon on how Jesus’ disciples were sent out “without silver or gold”. This passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew made such an impression on Francis that he decided to devote himself totally to living poorly, like the apostles. He dressed in a rough garment, went barefoot and with “no bag for the journey, nor a staff”, he began to preach repentance. He also heard a message of renewal from the beautiful crucifix in the abandoned church of San Damiano; “Repair my Church.”

 

Francis was soon joined by other companions, including a young noblewoman, Clare. They cared for the lepers forced to live outside Assisi, and repaired ruined churches. Their life was extremely austere, but they lived joyfully with a deep spirit of service toward the poor and excluded, and with a trust in God’s providential care…

 

St. Francis

Saint Francis of Assisi, canonised on 16 July 1228 founded the Order of Friars Minor.

Born in Assisi, baptized Giovanni di Pietro Bernardone, renamed Francesco by his father.

Francis sets out to join the army of Walter de Brienne. Returns after a vision and message in Spoleto. Beginning of a gradual period of conversion.

They return to the Portiuncula and Francis writes a brief Rule for himself and his eleven friars. They receive the approval of Pope Innocent III in Rome. The friars return to Rivotorto and then to the Portiuncula.

General Chapter of all the friars at the Portiuncula. First mission outside Italy.

First Franciscan martyrs are killed in Morocco. That same year Cardinal Hugolino is appointed Protector of the Order and Francis resigns as General Minister.

“The journey is essential to the dream.”

– SAINT FRANCIS

I

The Rule

 

I. In the name of the Lord, the life of the lesser brothers begins.

 

The rule and life of the lesser brothers is this: To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own, and in chastity. Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope Honorius and his canonically elected successors, and to the Roman Church; and the rest of the brothers are obliged to obey Francis and his successors.

II. Concerning those who wish to adopt this life.

 

If someone should wish to adopt this life and should come to our brothers, they must send them to their provincial ministers to whom alone is granted the right to receive brothers. The ministers should examine them carefully regarding the Catholic faith and sacraments of the church.

II

General

Constitutions

 

Chapter 1. Article 1

 

§1 The Order of Friars Minor, founded by St. Francis of Assisi, is a fraternity. In this fraternity the friars follow Jesus Christ more closely under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; through profession they dedicate themselves totally to God whom they love above all, living the Gospel in the Church according to the form observed and proposed by St. Francis.

“To observe the holy gospel of our lord Jesus Christ”

(RB 1, 1)

§2 The friars, as followers of St. Francis, are bound to lead a radically evangelical life, namely: to live in a spirit of prayer and devotion and in fraternal fellowship; they are to offer a witness of penance and minority; and, in charity towards all mankind, they are to announce the Gospel throughout the whole world and to preach reconciliation, peace and justice by their deeds; and to show respect for creation.

Prayer

 

St. Francis is known as the man who was most like Christ, “the first after the only one”, the universal brother, a man of peace and reconciliation, the Poverello, the lover of the poor, the troubadour of creation. It is true. Francis of Assisi, however, was first and foremost a mystic, a real contemplative, enamoured with the poor and crucified Christ. Francis was not only a man who prayed, but, as his biographer Thomas of Celano says, he was “a man become prayer”. The presence of God transfigured him until He made him “another Christ”.