The Franciscan Order
One of the early biographers of St. Francis of Assisi, a friar named Thomas of Celano, offered the following glimpse into the life of St. Francis:
“After the blessed father Francis had returned from a period of prayer], he said to the brothers with you: ‘Be strong, dear brothers, and rejoice in the Lord. Do not be sad, because you seem so few, and do not let my simplicity or yours discourage you. The Lord has shown me that God will make us grow into a great multitude, and will spread us to the ends of the earth, I must also tell you what I saw about your future, though it would please me more to remain silent, if charity did not compel me to tell you. I saw a great multitude of people coming to us, wishing to live with us in the habit of a holy way of life and in the rule of blessed religion. Listen! The sound of them is still in my ears, their coming and going according to the command of holy obedience. I seemed to see highways filled with this multitude gathering…from every nation”. (cf. The Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano, First Book, paragraph 27).
While the “Franciscan Order” traces its roots to the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, it can be shown that no single community of Franciscans has embodied every aspect of the charism and spirituality of St. Francis. The ideals of St. Francis of Assisi have indeed been adopted by many others, individuals and groups, which do not belong to any of the branches that emerged during the lifetime of St. Francis. In fact, over the course of the more than 800 years since the initial papal approval of the first generation of Franciscan friars, there have been individuals who have founded still other religious communities of brothers and sisters under the patronage of St. Francis of Assisi, the members of which also call themselves “Franciscans”. It’s quite possible that the “great multitude” about which he spoke to his early followers has indeed been realized to an extent far beyond what St. Francis had envisioned.
Chiesa Nuova invites you to experience a bit of the spirit of St. Francis through your participation in the events it offers.
For a brief synopsis of the founding of the Franciscan Order and to access relevant links to the different branches of the Order, follow the “St Francis of Assisi” link here: www.ofm.org/
For more information about the OFM Province of the Sacred Heart, to which Fathers Art, Dennis and Bob belong, go to: www.thefriars.org/.
For more information about St. Clare, especially during the eighth centenary of the foundation of the Order of St. Clare, the following web site is highly recommended: http://poorclarestmd.org/.