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Food for Thought

"God made you just the way you are so that He can use you the way He has planned."

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Welcome...please linger awhile with St. Francis and St. Clare...fall in love with... 

The Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order, or SFO, gives the religious life to Catholic men and women who cannot leave home and family for monastery, seminary or convent.  It offers to people of all occupation and conditions a Rule that makes their life rich and peaceful by centering it on God.  Secular Franciscans profess the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, to “follow Christ in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi” (Rule, Article 1),  preaching the Gospel…using words when necessary.   It fills them with the charity of St. Francis, engaging them in apostolic work, which flows out into the community, offering help and comfort to those in need.

Individual Secular Franciscans gather in local fraternities to share fellowship, pray, witness to one another and grow in the knowledge of the Lord increasing their Faith.  The local fraternities in the United States are organized into Regions.  Queen of Peace Region under the patronage of our Blessed Mother Mary, whose feast we celebrate on December 8th, includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and the western section of Wisconsin.

From the days of its founding, the Secular Franciscan Order of St. Francis of Assisi has been the inspiration not only of the poor and the humble, but also of some of history’s towering geniuses.  It has developed the spirit of St. Francis in outstanding men like the artists Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Murillo; musicians such as Palestrina, Liszt and Gounod; explorers like Christopher Columbus; the writers Dante, Cervantes, Johannes, Jorgensen and Francis Thompson; such scientists as Galileo, Galvani, and Volta.

"Oh, what a joy to walk with the Lord as St. Francis did.  May you hear the call and experience the peace of Franciscan life".

Interested in becoming a Secular Franciscan?

USA, call 1-800-FRANCIS for information, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Find out more about the process of becoming a Secular Franciscan HERE

 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing "
Edmund Burke

“Each day is a new discernment to make the decision to live our Franciscan covenant with God. "
Ilia Delio, OSF

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Reflections

Focus on Formation, Ministers Retreat

Fr. Steve McMichael, OFM Conv. walked participants through Francis’ “Canticle of the Creatures” and its place in the medieval cultural and theological landscape of Francis’ time. Fr. Steve made the case that instead of the traditional view that Francis was praising nature as it was; he was really describing a sacramental view of creation redeemed by Christ, “everything stamped with God’s presence” and “creation participating in the Resurrection.”

In doing this Francis was showing himself to be an astute theologian.  Fr. Steve noted that medieval theology was obsessed with Genesis 1-3 and as we read it the parallels with the creation story were obvious. He described the 5-step movement scholars saw from Formation in the creation story through Deformation with the Fall of Genesis 3 to Reformation in Christ’s life, death and Resurrection to Conformation as we conform ourselves to Christ and finally to the Transformation that life in Christ brings to us when we are faithful to it. Fr. Steve highlighted three commands from the Canticle: 1) to forgive/to extend mercy, 2) to enter willingly into sickness and trial with compassion, and 3) to make peace.

Finally Fr. Steve presented Bonaventure’s view of the relationship among God, creation and humankind: the Fall caused “disharmony” between man and God, and between man and Nature.

In Bonaventure’s theology, Creation had four purposes before the Fall:

1) to testify to human dignity through subservience to humanity, 2) to offer beauty, 3) to provide wonder, and 4) to move us to action and to praise God. These didn’t go away in the Fall of Genesis 3 but were “dimmed.” Francis’ life was a movement to return to the pre-Fall state. As Fr. Steve said, echoing Bonaventure, “The more we are reformed and conformed toward harmony by the Grace of the Holy Spirit working in us, the closer we come to that original relationship of creation.” In other words, as we learn to see all of creation as brother and sister under God, worthy of care and respect instead of as mere commodities to be exploited for our benefit, we begin to experience Creation as God intended it.

It was pretty heady stuff but fits perfectly with that part of the Rule that states: “they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which ‘bear the imprint of the Most High,’ and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept of universal kinship” (Article 18).

Bob Barnes, OFS, Fr. Solanus Casey Emerging Fraternity,

Duluth, MN

Greetings from...

Your Minister

When we think of the summer time, we might think of family reunions, class reunions etc. It is good to get together with the people who mean so much to us. The Fraternity Ministers gathered in Buffalo at the end of May for the Region's annual meeting. During this meeting, we take time out for prayer, formation, social time and of course, necessary business. These are the four cornerstones that our National Fraternity has been preaching since the International Fraternity did their Visitation. It is what NAFRA looks for when they do Regional Visitations. It is what the Region looks for when we come to visit your fraternity. It is vitally important that fraternities are represented so that we are all on the same page. Yes, it is in the General Constitutions as well that we gather annually. I will be attending the National Fraternity Annual Meeting in New Jersey in October. The newly elected General Minister of our Order will be conducting an election of National Officers. If you would like to run for an office or know someone that would be good at the National Level, let someone on the Regional Council know and we will put them into the Nominations process. Have a good summer and remember to spend time with the ones you love.

Peace and all Good,

Kim Pappas, OFS Regional Minister

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