Welcome to the website of our fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) in the United States of America. Thank you for visiting us electronically. We hope and pray that we might one day see you in person, God willing!
The Secular Franciscan Order, formerly known as the Third Order of St. Francis, is an official Order within the Catholic Church, established by St. Francis of Assisi himself early in the thirteenth century.
Ordinarily, we do not live in community; rather, we live with our families and perform our jobs out in the world, gathering in fraternities on a regular basis. By profession, we promise to follow a Rule of Life approved and confirmed by Pope Paul VI in June of 1978.
The Rule and Constitutions might be a good place for you to begin your online inquiry. You might like to read more about St. Francis from numerous websites, including the one given above. You may pick up your phone and call 1-800-FRANCIS for more information. You might click on this list of Regions and Fraternities across the whole United States (http://www.nafra-sfo.org/regions.html) and see if you can find a fraternity near you to visit. You might email the Regional Minister for more details.
In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for ongoing daily conversion, to turn away from sin and to be faithful to the Gospel. We seek, with and only with God’s grace, perfect charity in our secular state, helping one another in this journey closer to Christ, following in the footsteps of Sts. Francis and Clare.
The SFO in the United States is structured into 30 geographic regions; the Minister of each Region is a member of the National Fraternity Council, as are the members of the National Executive Council and four members of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants, one from each of the four Friar Obediences. The National Fraternity is represented at the International level (headquartered in Rome) by an International Councilor. There are approximately 700 local fraternities with approximately 14,500 professed members. Each fraternity has a Spiritual Assistant, who is usually a First Order, or Third Order Regular, Friar, but could be a religious, diocesan clergy, or a certified lay Secular Franciscan.
St. Francis of Assisi
History of the Secular Franciscan Order:
For those who are interested, the following is a brief history of the Secular Franciscans. This requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.
Our Prayer Life:
May the Lord bless and keep us, May his face shine upon us and be gracious to us, May the Lord look upon us with kindness and give us his peace and may the Lord bless us, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Amen
Daily Scripture Readings – Daily Mass Readings and Meditations for the Day
Franciscan Crown Rosary (The Seven Joys of Mary) — National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi
ADDITIONAL PRAYER RESOURCES
Prayers & Devotions (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Many Catholic Prayers (Catholic Online) — listed alphabetically & by subject
3-Minute Retreat (Loyola Press)
Friar Alessandro – Ave Maria – Shepherd’s Fields, Bethlehem
Prayer of St. Francis being sung by Sarah McLachlan
Blackfriar Music: “Come My Way”
Hildegard von Bingen – Voice of the Living Light