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 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 Romans 8:28

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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".

Franks SFO Profession cropMary Queen of Peace Fraternity, St. Paul Mn. is proud to announce and welcome 93 year old, Frank Junghans, as he makes his Profession to the Secular Franciscan Order...

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St. Anthony Spirituality Center

   A Resident Franciscan Community

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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

 

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

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New International Council

 

Our new International (CIOFS) Council:

General Minister: Tibor Kauser, from Hungary

Vice General Minister: Maria Consuelo De Nunez (Chelito) from Venezuela.

Presidency Councillors:

Ana Fruk, Croatia

Ana Maria Raffo Laos, Peru

Attilio Galimberti, Italy

Michel Janian, Lebanon

Diana Silva Noemi, Argentina

Jenny Harrington, South Africa

Augustine Young Hak Yoon, Korea

A Blessed Advent To All!

Kim Pappas, QOP Minister

 

Reflections

Understanding the Nativity Scene

Most Catholics have grown up associating nativity scenes with Christmas, so it is hard to imagine that the first nativity scene only appeared about 800 years ago and more than 1200 years after the birth of Christ.  The story of the first nativity scene is actually an important reminder that we are called to be good stewards.   

St. Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene in a cave outside of the town of Greccio, Italy on Christmas Eve night 1223.

It is said that St. Francis was inspired to re-create the nativity scene because he was disgusted with the greed and materialism that was rampant in Italy at that time.  He felt that people had forgotten that Jesus came to us not as a rich king but as a poor child.  In planning the scene St. Francis wrote to his friend Giovanni, “I want to do something that will recall the memory of that child who was born in Bethlehem, to see with bodily eyes the inconveniences of his infancy, how he lay in the manger, and how the ox and ass stood by.” 

The idea of a nativity scene was so radical that St. Francis first wrote to Pope Honorius III for permission before he moved forward with his plans. 

The nativity scene that St. Francis planned was a live but silent scene.  Hay was piled into a cave outside of town and a manger was set up where the Baby Jesus would lay.  It was also important to St. Francis that a live ox and ass be part of the scene because he wanted the people of the town to be moved by the reality that Jesus was born among the animals.  To this day, an ox and an ass are standard figures in a nativity scene even though they are not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Our Lord’s birth.  Just as St. Francis intended, when we look at these animals and the humbleness of the nativity scene we should be reminded that if God did not provide a fancy birth for His Son, surely we do not need all of the fancy, new and expensive things that we often associate with Christmas or think that we should have.

According to stories told about St. Francis, on Christmas Eve 1223 he gathered all of his religious brothers from the places where they served and together with the people from the town and the hillsides he led them to the place where he had worked to set up his first humble nativity scene.  The people were delighted by this simple scene lit only by the stars above and the lanterns and candles they carried.  They celebrated Mass there and St. Francis preached to them, reminding them of how poor and simple the Christ Child’s birth truly was. 

After the Mass was over and the people all went home, the brothers wanted to clean up the hay, but St. Francis told them to leave it so that it could bring health to the animals of the forest.  Legend says that many sick animals came from all over that night to eat the hay and all were cured.

Quickly the idea of setting up live nativity scenes became popular throughout Italy and within a hundred years every church in Italy had a nativity scene. 

Today it is a common tradition to set nativity scenes up in early Advent.  However, the Baby Jesus is never added to the scene until Christmas Eve.  Some families (or classrooms) may have a tradition of preparing a soft manger for Jesus by allowing children to place a piece of hay or golden yarn in the crib each time that they do a good deed.

 

  

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