We are an Order of men and women seeking to follow Jesus Christ in the way of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi.
Riven with infighting and inequality, Thirteenth Century Italy was the crucible from which emerged two of the greatest Saints of the Church; St Francis (Francesco Bernardone) and St Clare (Chiara Offreducio) of Assisi. Born into comparative wealth each found profound inspiration in the ‘poor naked Christ’ and, eschewing the greed and emptiness of the world, passionately desired to share their ‘pearl of great price’ (Jesus) with all people in word and in action prioritising especially those considered ‘untouchable’ or ‘unimportant.’
Although neither appears to have intended to found a Religious movement nonetheless many women and men over the centuries have been inspired by their example to live out their own Christian discipleship as Franciscan Brothers and Sisters seeking, in their own context, to share Jesus with all people irrespective of social status, creed or race.
The First Order consists of men (Society of St Francis) and of women (Community of St Francis) who live under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
‘The object of the First Order is to build up a body of men and women who, accepting Christ as their Lord and Master, will seek to follow him in the way of renunciation and sacrifice as an act of witness and for the loving service of his brothers and sisters in the world’
Speaking About Our Vocation
Other ways of being a Franciscan
In addition to our First Order, there are other ways of being a Franciscan:
The Second Order – The Community of St Clare (Freeland) The Second Order is a community of women living under vows at a convent in Freeland, Oxfordshire. They follow the Rule of St Clare and are principally dedicated to the life of prayer.
The Third Order (TSSF) European Province The Third Order, consists of men and women, married and single, whose Rule of Life commits them to following the way of Francis and Clare through their daily life at home, at work and with the Christian community wherever they find themselves set.
The Companions of the Society of Saint Francis are those who, in the course of their Christian journey, have met or heard of the Sisters and Brothers, and have a desire to accompany them in the way of Christian commitment. While they do not wish, or are not in a position to live a life in community, Companions wish to support those who have been called to this way of life.
Additionally, as Anglicans, we rejoice that there are many Franciscans in other Communions, particularly within the Roman Catholic Church. Although we are separate, we give thanks to God for our good relationships with our fellow Christians, sharing a common vision of Christ’s love for all.
Other Anglican Religious Communities
The Anglican Religious Life is surprisingly diverse, and Communities can be found all over the world. The Anglican Religious Life Yearbook is an excellent online resource giving lots of information about locations and different charisms.
Vocations Becoming a First Order Franciscan Brother (SSF) or Sister (CSF)
“…God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught…” Thus wrote St John Henry Newman. All Christian people have a Vocation; a special calling from God which will lead them to ‘life in its fullness’ (Jn 10.10) and it may be the work of a lifetime to discern what that calling might be!
There is no ‘hierarchy’ in Vocation and for many people this calling will be simply to live as faithful baptised Christians in the world; for others it will be to serve in the Ordained Ministry of the Church and for others it will be to serve as a member of a Religious Community as a Monk, Nun, Brother or Sister.
The Church of England has its own procedures for discerning a vocation to Ordained or Lay Ministry. Within Religious Communities a Sister or Brother is usually entrusted with the responsibility of trying to help people begin to listen to God’s call on their lives and see whether they might be called to live in Community.
The Society of Saint Francis accepts applications from men aged 45 and under, who are in good physical and mental health. If you are interested in having a conversation about vocation (without being placed under any obligation) please contact the Novice Guardian SSF.
The Community of Saint Francis warmly welcomes enquiries from women who are exploring a possible vocation to the Religious Life. If you are in good physical and mental health and have the ability to adapt to new circumstances, please contact the Novice Guardian CSF.