The Order

About the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis) is a branch of the worldwide Franciscan Family. We are single and married. Some of us are diocesan clergy. We work, worship, and play in the community where we live.

The Order was established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

All the faithful are called to holiness and have a right to follow their own spiritual way in communion with the Church.

There are many spiritual families in the Church with different charisms. Among these families, the Franciscan Family, which in its various branches recognizes St. Francis of Assisi as its father, inspiration, and model, must be included.

From the beginning, the Secular Franciscan Order has had its own proper place in the Franciscan Family. It is formed by the organic union of all the Catholic fraternities whose members, moved by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves through profession to live the Gospel in the manner of St. Francis, in their secular state, following the Rule approved by the Church.

The Holy See has entrusted the pastoral care and spiritual assistance of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), because it belongs to the same spiritual family, to the Franciscan First Order and Third Order Regular (TOR). These are the “Institutes” that are responsible for the altius moderamen, referred to by Canon 303 of the Code of Canon Law.

  The Franciscan family since the earliest of times has had many branches. The diversity of Franciscan communities seems to be part of our history and our DNA. One big, beautiful, ancient branch of the Franciscan Family is the Secular Franciscan Order. The Secular Franciscan Order was one of the three Orders founded directly by St. Francis of Assisi. There are about 350,000 active Secular Franciscans globally today.  I especially like this Franciscan Family Map (below) that includes our Anglican brothers and sisters.

‘Now is a GREAT time to be a Secular Franciscan; the world needs you!’ This Secular Franciscan vocation of ours is a beautiful gift, something for us to be continually unwrapping, cherishing, and putting to service in a world that is so terribly in need of it.