The Rule, Article 4

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Excerpt from: A Letter to the Entire Order, St. Francis of Assisi 

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
give us miserable ones
the grace to do for You alone
what we know you want us to do
and always to desire what pleases You.
Inwardly cleansed,
interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow
in the footprints of Your beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
and by Your grace alone,
may we make our way to You,
Most High,
Who live and rule
in perfect Trinity and simple Unity,
and are glorified
God Almighty,
forever and ever.

 Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, The Early Documents

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Blessed Louise Albertoni was born in Rome in the year 1474 into a wealthy and distinguished family.  However, her parents were known more for their piety and they took great care in training their daughter.  As a wife and mother she always sought to please God above all things.  At the age of thirty-one she lost her husband in death.  With her three daughters provided for, she publicly took the habit of the Third Order and dedicated herself to the service of God.  She used the abundant income of her wealth to support the poor while she lacked necessities for herself.  She was drawn to the contemplation of the suffering of our Lord and they were so constantly before her mind that she wept continually.  God rewarded her with the gift of miracles and frequent ecstasy.  She died on January 31, 1533.  Her body rests in the Church of St Francis on the Tiber.  Pope Clement X beatified her in 1671.

Source:  The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion A. Habig OFM

Friday, February 26, 2010


St. Francis of Assisi

The Lord says in the Gospel: Whoever does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:33); and: Whoever wished to save his life must lose it (Lk 9:24).

That person who offers himself totally to obedience in the hands of his prelate leaves all that he possesses and loses his body. And whatever he does and says which he knows is not contrary to his will is true obedience, provided that what he does is good.

And should a subject see that some things might be better and more useful for his soul than what a prelate commands, let him willingly offer such things to God as a sacrifice; and, instead let him earnestly strive to fulfill the prelate’s wishes. For this is loving obedience because it pleases God and neighbor. (1Pt 1:22)

If the prelate, however, commands something contrary to his conscience, even though he may not obey him, let him not, however, abandon him. And if he then suffers persecution from others, let him love them all the more for the sake of God. For whoever chooses to suffer persecution rather than wish to be separated from his brothers truly remains in perfect obedience because he lays down his life for his brothers. In fact, there are many religious who, under the pretext of seeing things better than those which the prelate commands, look back, and return to the vomit of their own will. These are murderers and, because of their bad example, cause many to lose their souls. (1 Jn 3:15-16; Jn 15:13; Lk 9:62; Prv 26:11; 2 Pt 2:22)

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio, born 1502 in Spain, emigrated as a young man of thirty-one to Mexico. There he contributed much to the public welfare by manufacturing plows, wagons, building roads through the forests and mountains, and transporting grain and other produce to the cities. After death had robbed him of his second wife, and at the age of 71, he gave all his possessions to the poor to become a became a Franciscan brother at Puebla. There he died in his 98th year on February 25, 1600; and there, in a large chapel adjoining the Franciscan church, lies his incorrupt body in a glass tomb. The main highway that to this day connects Zacatecas with Mexico City was first built by Blessed Sebastian.

February 25

The Franciscan Book of Saints, Marion A. Habig, OFM

Wednesday, February 24, 2010



Mark was born around the year 1480 in Milliarino near Mantua, Italy, to poor and simple parents. From early youth he was endowed with a deep sense of piety and his life reflected signs of extraordinary sanctity. He joined a community of the Poor Hermits of St. Jerome who observed the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis. From the beginning of his religious life Mark was admired for his cheerfulness and promptness for carrying out all spiritual exercises. His one desire was to become as perfect an imitator of Christ as possible. Mark died at age thirty on February 24, 1510. His incorrupt body is venerated in the cathedral Mantua.

February 24

The ROADS...

The roads to Zion mourn, for none come to the appointed feasts.  Lam 1:4

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



St. Mary of the Snow convent at Prague was founded by Emperor Rudolph II in 1607 and entrusted to the care of Franciscan friars. The hope was the friars would be true to the tradition of their forebears and oppose with zeal and power the growing spirit of immorality and indifference to God in Bohemia and lead the people back to the right path.

The friars immediately began to preach by word and deed and to refute heresy. The Hussites and Calvanists enraged by the success of the friars waited for an opportune time to rid themselves of the Franciscan community. On February 15, 1611, an angry mob armed with deadly weapons stormed the church and began desecrating the Eucharist, crucifixes and holy images, robed the church of sacred vessels and demolished the altars. The mob then forced their way into the convent and proceeded to shoot, stab, club, crush and hack to pieces the holy men. In all 14 were massacred during the bloody three hour period.

After three days devout Catholics ventured into the church and convent and wrapped the precious remains in canvas and secretly buried them in the transept. Five years later the remains were exhumed and found to be wholly incorrupt and the wounds still bleeding and fresh. Te remains were interred in the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel where they continue to be glorified by many miracles.

February 23

Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Margaret of Cortona, SFO

St. Margaret of Cortona
Feastday: February 22

Margaret of Cortona, born in Italy in 1247 was only seven when her mother died. When her stepmother rejected her high-spirited daughter, Margaret eloped with a youth and bore him a son out of wedlock. Nine years later when her lover was murdered, Margaret returned as a penitent to her father's house. When her father refused to accept her and her son, she went to the Friars Minor at Cortona where she received asylum.

Margaret first earned a living by nursing sick ladies; later she chose to serve the sick poor without recompense, subsisting only on alms. Eventually, she joined the Third Order of St. Francis (SFO)/ She grew prayer and was believed to be in direct contact with Jesus including frequent ecstasies.

In 1286, Margaret was granted a charter allowing her to work for the sick poor on a permanent basis. Others offered work; some gave financial assistance. Margaret formed her group into tertiaries (SFO). Later they were given the status of a congregation called The "Poor Ones". She founded a hospital at Cortona and the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mercy. Through Margaret many returned to the sacraments because of her great love for the Eucharist and the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Divinely warned of the day and hour of her death, she died on February 22, 1297, after twenty-nine years doing acts of penance. She was canonized in 1728.



Matthew Rossi of the well known Orsini family was a knight of extraordinary piety and virtue. Once as St. Francis of Assisi was traveling through Rome, Matthew invited Francis to visit his palace in Rome and teach him how to save his soul. St. Francis’ preaching on the vanity of the world was so impressive that Mathew fell at his feet and humbly begged for admission to the Third Order to live out his life in penance. Many noble men and women soon followed his example.

During a later visit to Rome, St. Francis held Matthew’s young son, John Cajetan and declared: “This boy will at some future time be a religious not in garb but in sentiment; he will be a mighty ruler and great protector of our order.” The prophecy was fulfilled. John Cajetan became a priest, cardinal protector of the Franciscan Order and in the year of 1277 he ascended the papal throne as Nicholas III.

February 22

THE RULE - The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One - 3

The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One

The present rule, succeeding “Memoriale Propositi” (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan order to the needs and expectations of the Holy church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010



Born Henry Mai September 1, 1866, in Westphalia to poor parents, he worked until age 29 as a simple laborer and soldier. He became Franciscan Brother Jordan in 1895 and spent the last 15 years of his life in the Franciscan friary at Dortmund. He lived a quiet and retired life full of humility modeled after the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his interior life he attained a high degree of mysticism. One of his greatest delights was to serve the priest at holy Mass. His charity toward his neighbor made him loved by many. Franciscan cheerfulness radiated from is whole being. The extraordinary answers to prayers directed to him have caused him to be called “The St. Anthony of Dortmund.” His tomb is at the foot of the sanctuary in the Franciscan church in Dortmund.

Pour out your heart....

Pour out your heart like water
   before the presence of the Lord!
Lift up your hands to him
   for the lives of your children,
Who faint for hunger
   at the head of every street.  Lam 2:19

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Return to Me

"Yet even now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, ..."  Jl 2:12

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Admonitions - IX Love

The Lord says: Love your enemies [do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute and slander you]. Mt.5:44
For that person truly loves his enemy who is not hurt by an injury done to him, but because of love of God, is stung by the sin of his soul. Let him show him love by his deeds.

St. Francis of Assisi
Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

CONRAD OF PIACENZA, Hermit, Third Order

Conrad was born in Piacenza. Following an accident that occurred while he was hunting, he sold all his possessions and he and his wife forsook the world. After joining the Third Order of Saint Francis he went to Sicily where he lived a very austere life for almost forty year He died in the year 1351.

From the common of holy men, 1452

Monday, February 15, 2010

THE RULE - The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One

The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One

The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By heir profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the church.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blessed Angela of Foligno, SFO - On Prayer

Blessed Angela of Foligno, SFO on Prayer

The purpose of prayer is nothing other than to manifest God and self. And this manifestation of God and self leads to a state of perfect and true humility. For this humility is attained when the soul sees God and self. It is in this profound state of humility, and from it, that divine grace deepens and grows in the soul. The more divine grace deepens humility in the soul, the more divine grace can grow in this depth of humility. The more divine grace grows, the deeper the soul is grounded, and the more it is settled in a state of true humility. Through perseverance in true prayer, divine light and grace increase, and these always make the soul grow deep in humility as it reads, as has been said, the life of Jesus Christ, God and man. I cannot conceive anything greater than the manifestation of God and self. But this discovery, that is, this manifestation of God and self, is the lot only of those legitimate sons of God who have devoted themselves to true prayer.

Those who possess the spirit of true prayer will have the Book of Life, that is, the life of Jesus Christ and man set before them, and everything they could want, they will find there. Thus they will be filled with its blessed teaching, which does not puff anyone up, and will find there every doctrine they and others need. Hence, if you wish to be super enlightened and taught, read this Book of Life. If you do not simply skim through it but rather let it penetrate you while reading it, you will be taught every thing needed for yourself and for others, no matter what your state of life. Also, if you read it carefully and not casually, you will be so inflamed by divine fire that you will accept every tribulation as the greatest consolation.

Blessed Angela of Foligno, SFO

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Admonitions - XII Knowing the Spirit of the Lord

A servant of God can be known to have the Spirit of the Lord in this way: if, when the Lord performs some good through him, his flesh does not therefore exalt itself, because it is always opposed to every good. Instead, he regards himself the more worthless and esteems himself less than all others.

St. Francis of Assisi
Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Monday, February 8, 2010

THE RULE -The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One - 1

The Secular Franciscan Order - Chapter One

The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God – laity, religious, and priests – who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi.

In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the church.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

COLETTE, Virgin, Second Order

Colette was born in France in the year 1381. After the death of her parents she distributed all her possessions to the poor, joined the Third Order of Saint Francis and lived for some time as a recluse. Following admission to the Pore Clares, and with permission of the Pope, she brought many monasteries of the Second and First Orders back to the primitive observance of the Franciscan way of life, especially by inculcating poverty and prayer. She died on March 6, 1447

From the common of virgins, 1441

From the spiritual testament of Saint Colette
(E.S.M. Perrin, La belle vie de sainte Colette de Corbie [Paris 1920] 274-277)

Humble obedience is precious in the sight of God

Beloved daughters, understand your vocation well; understand your great dignity and the perfection expected of you. Ignorance is very injurious, knowledge is very useful. Understand, then the way of life you took upon yourself through your vocation under God’s inspiration. Our loving Savior says, No one can come to me unless the Father draws him through inspiration. Blessed is the entry into the fertile field of evangelical perfection; it is nothing less than the renunciation of the world, the flesh, one’s own will. This is what one blessed Jesus born of the virgin says, Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self and take up his cross, without leaving off doing penance for sins committed, so as not to offend God, and also to keep in his grace more easily.

Keep in mind, then beloved daughters, that through no merit of your own have you been called to perfect obedience; therefore obey always and in all things which do not offend God. Jesus became obedient unto death. It is not enough to obey for a time or only in some things; you must obey in everything that is not contrary to God, your souls and the holy Rule. Let us not prefer our own judgments to those of our superiors, for true wisdom is subject to Jesus and his loving virgin Mother.

The truly obedient person simply does what he does for the sake of Gd. He takes account of nothing but genuine obedience and renders obedience reverently as if the directive came from Jesus himself. In this way the command becomes easier from the human viewpoint, and humble obedience is more precious in the sight of God since evil flows from disobedience. One prayer from an obedient person is worth more than a hundred thousand from a disobedient one. If you will obey God he will obey you.

After self-denial our Lord wants us to carry our cross, that is, our vow of holy poverty. The cross is heavy when we want to have something more than the one who carried his cross on his shoulders and deigned to die on it Beloved daughters, following the example of Jesus Christ, of our glorious father Saint Francis and our mother Saint Clare, love this glorious virtue. Be content in your privations so that you may more easily reach the kingdom to which you have been called through the poverty you have promised to boserve. Beloved daughters, live then like truly poor people and remain such till death as our loving Savior did for us on the cross. Since there are few in the world who love this kind of poverty, we have a greater opportunity of loving it second to Lady Holy Obedience which I commend to you most highly.

We must faithfully keep what we have promised. If thorough human weakness we fail, we must always without delay rise again by means of holy penance, and give our attention to leading a good life and to dying a holy death. May the Father of all mercy, the Son by his holy passion, and the Holy Spirit, source of peace, sweetness and love, fill us with their consolation. Amen.

Proper offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Saturday, February 6, 2010

PETER BAPTIST, PAUL MIKI & COMPANIONS, Martyrs, First and Third Orders

Peter Baptist was born in Spain in the year 1542. After completion of his studies and ordination to the priesthood he west out for the Orient to preach the Gospel. For many years he worked in the Philippine Islands. In the year 1593 he was sent with five other friars to Japan where he labored zealously converting many to the faith, building churches and a hospital. Due to the rise of religious and political controversies in the region Peter Baptist’s apostolic activities were interrupted, and he was arrested. Amid the jeers of the populace he was taken to Nagasaki where he and his companions together with three members of the Society of Jesus and fifteen Franciscan Tertiaries were executed by crucifixion. They achieved the glory of martyrdom on February 5, 1597. (names listed at end of post)
From the common of several martyrs, 1407

From the letters of Saint Peter Baptist of January 4 and February 2, 1597
(Archivio Ibero-Americano 6 [1916] 16-17)

We forfeit our lives for the preaching of the Gospel

Of the friars here six were arrested and kept in prison for several days. With them were three Japanese of the Society of Jesus – one of them professed – and also other Christian faithful. There are twenty of us all together. We are now traveling in this rather cold month of the winter. They are conducting us with cavalry and a strong guard. On some days more than two hundred men were assigned to keep us under guard. In spite of this we have great consolation, and we continue to rejoice in the Lord because according to the sentence pronounced against us we are to be crucified for having preached the law of God contrary to the king’s command. The rest were condemned because they are Christians.

Those who wish to die for Christ now have a golden opportunity. I think that the faithful of this region would have been greatly consoled if religious of our Order had been here, but they may rest assured that as long as this king rules, men in our habit will not live long in Japan because he will quickly send them to eternal life. May he get us there.

The sentence pronounced against us was written on a sign and carried before us. The sign read that we were condemned to death because we preached the law of Nauan (i.e., the law of Christ) contrary to the command of Taycosama, and would be crucified when we reached Nagasaki. For this we were very happy and consoled in the Lord since we had forfeited our lives to preach his law.

There are six friars here and eighteen Japanese, all condemned to death; some because they are preachers, other because they are Christians. From the Society of Jesus there is a brother, a catechist and a third, a layman. They took us out of the prison and put us on carts. Each had a part of an ear cut off and thus they conducted us through the streets of Miyako with very many people and soldiers following. Then we were again remanded to prison. On the following day, our hands were tied securely behind our backs, as they took us to Osaka while mounted soldiers urged us on.

On still another day they brought us out of prison again, mounted us on horses and conducted us through the streets of the city. We were also taken to Sakai where they did the same thing. On each occasion there was a public proclamation by the town crier. We knew we had been condemned to death but only while in Osaka were we informed that our execution was to take place in Nagasaki.

For the love of God let your charity commend us to God that the sacrifice of our lives may be acceptable in his sight. From what I have heard here I think we will be crucified this coming Friday because it was on a Friday that they cut off a part of each one’s ear at Miyako, an event we accepted as a gift from God. We all ask you then with great fervor to pray for us for the love of God.

Dearest brothers, help us with your prayers that our death may be acceptable to the majesty of God in heaven where, God willing, we hope to go. We will remember you . We have not forgotten your love here. I have loved you and still love you with all my heart. I wish you the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Farewell, dearest brothers, because there is no longer any time to speak to you. Until we meet in heaven. Remember me.

From: Proper Offices of Franciscan saints and blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Martyrs of Nagasaki (5-II-1597
Franciscan Friars:
San Pedro Bautista Blázquez, superior of the mission (1542-1597)
San Felipe de Jesus or de las Casas (1571-1597)
San Francisco Blanco (1567-1597)
San Francisco or La Parrilla de San Miguel (1543-1597)
San Gonzalo García (1562-1597)
San Martín Aguirre of the Ascension (1567-1597)

Secular Franciscans:
Nagasaki San Antonio (13 years old)
St. Bonaventure of Miyako
St. Cosmas Takeya
Miyako San Francisco Fahelante
Miyako San Francisco Medical
San Gabriel Ize
San Joaquin Sakakibara Osaka
San Juan Kinuyo Miyako
San Leon Kasasumara
San Luis Ibaraki (12 years old)
St. Matthias of Miyako
St. Michael Kozaki, father of St. Thomas Kozaki
San Pablo Ibaraki, Ibaraki uncle of St. Louis
St. Paul Suzuki
Miyako San Pedro Sukejiro
Thomas Idauki Miyako or Ize
St. Thomas Kozaki (14 years), son of St. Michael Kozaki

Saint Paul Miki, professed priest
San Juan de Goto, catechist
San Diego Kisai, catechist

Friday, February 5, 2010


St. Francis of Assisi
Let all of us, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd Who bore the suffering of the cross to save His sheep. The Lord’s sheep followed Him in tribulation and persecution, in shame and hunger, in weakness and temptation, and in other ways, and for these things they received eternal life from the Lord. Therefore, it is a great shame for us, the servants of God, that the saints have accomplished great things and we want only to receive glory and honor by recounting them. Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

The Admonitions - XXIV True Love

Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and cannot repay him as when he is well and can repay him.

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: St Francis of Assisi, The Saint, The Early Documents

Thursday, February 4, 2010

JOSEPH OF LEONISSA, Priest, First Order

Joseph Desideri (baptized Eufranio) was born in 1556 and joined the Capuchin Friars in 1572. He was noted for the purity and austerity of his life. In his zeal for the faith he went to Turkey where he was taken captive and tortured, but surprisingly he survived and escaped. Upon his return to his native land he labored with great success in apostolic endeavors, being favored with God's gifts. He died at Amatrice in 1612.

From the common of pastors, 1426, or holy men: religious 1470

From a sermon of St. Joseph of Leonissa:

The Gospel and the good news of our Lord's coming into the world through the Virgin Mary is not a matter of recording primarily on writing materials but in our hearts and souls. This is the difference between the written law and the law of grace. The former is called written because it was engraved on the tablets of stone, the latter is called the law of grace because it is imprinted on the hearts of men through the infusion of grace by the Holy Spirit. This is what was promised by the Lord according to Jeremiah: I will make a covenant with you not like the covenant I made with your fathers. Concerning this new covenant Scripture adds: I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts.

Every Christian, then must be a living book wherein one can read the teaching of the Gospel. This is what Saint Paul says to the Corinthians: Clearly you are a letter of Christ which I have delivered, a letter written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh in the heart. Our heart is the parchment, through my ministry the Holy Spirit is the writer because my tongue is nimble as the pen of a skillful scribe.

Would indeed that the preacher's tongue were moved by the Holy Spirit, dipped in the blood of the spotless Lamb and writing skillfully on your hearts today. But how can one writing be written over another writing? Without erasing the first the second cannot be written. But avarice, pride, wantonness and the rest of the vices have been written on your hearts. How will we write humility, uprightness and the rest of the virtues unless the previous vices are erased? If men had such writing on themselves each one, as we said would be a book and his life would teach others by his example. For this reason Paul adds: You are my letter, known and read by all men.

This is the method prelates and preachers should adopt in converting souls to draw all gently to the way of truth. We cannot persuade all men by the same methods. Therefore Paul, the beloved minister of Christ and the spiritual merchant, said: I became like a Jew to the Jews, to those not subject to the law I became like one not subject to it. Finally he adapted himself to all and added: I have made myself all things to all men in order to win all to Christ.

From: The Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Admonitions - XIII Patience

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. MT 5:9

A servant of God cannot know how much patience and humility he has within himself as long as he is content. When the time comes, however, when those who should make him content do the opposite, he has as much patience and humility as he has at that time and no more.

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Openness to life is at the center of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every person and every individual.

Pope Benedict XVI

Source:  Magnificat, January 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Admonitions - IV Let No One Make Being Over Others His Own

I did not come to be served, but serve, says the Lord.

Let those who are placed over others boast about that position as much as they would if they were assigned the duty of washing the feet of their brothers. And if they are more upset at having their place over others taken away from them than at losing their position at their feet, the more they store up a money bag to the peril of their soul.

St. Francis of Assisi

Source: St. Francis of Assisi, The Saint, Early Documents