“Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
– Gospel of Matthew 19:21-22
We have been spiritually compelled by our Lord and the Gospel to lead an active, cosmopolitan, and universal faith; serving Jesus Christ and sharing our faith with one another beyond the narrow confines of our own small, religious community. Despite the geographical miles that may physically separate some of our brothers and sisters, we share a regular, daily discipline of worship throughout the day every day. A ‘day of prayer, punctuated by work!’ as the old saying goes! And we practice that faith with those outside of our usual religious circles. We are called to live in honesty, modesty, and simplicity.
Practicing meditation or prayer every day does not mean one must become a Friar. Why then do some choose to do so? Because they feel the value of expressing in a visible, human way, the sense of community they feel with others seeking God on this path. Because we all need support, encouragement, inspiration and the challenge of others to deepen our commitment. Because the sense of tradition needs to be made real in a living community and the Franciscan tradition is deep and wide enough to give hospitality to a very broad spectrum of people. We often say, “When you have met one Franciscan, you have met one Franciscan!” So, it is with us.
Also, because we see that modern life can lack meaning, spiritual focus, and balance. In the Franciscan focus we find deeper elements for a healthier style of life: a balance and harmony of body, mind, and spirit. A context for the study of scripture and spiritual thought which the way of meditation naturally encourages and makes a source of delight.
Our simple life as Friars, the ancient habit we wear, the prayers we recite, the candles we light, all integrate the true forms of monastic life, solitude, and community. Basic to this vision is the centrality of prayer – the different forms of prayer, which lead us into the “pure prayer” of simplicity and oneness, as taught by the Desert Tradition. It offers a liberating sense of spiritual discipline appropriate to one’s temperament and state of life.
Three Ways to Fit into Franciscan Life
The information in this section will help in your discernment to a religious vocation as a Franciscan friar. Discernment begins with praying for guidance and understanding what it means to be a friar.
You don’t need to be a professed Friar to be a Franciscan! There are many ways to help make the world a better place and enhance others around you with our Franciscan charism! Here are the three main ways to live a life as a Franciscan!
We are Franciscans who have professed their Solemn (Permanent) Vows, or in transition, Temporary Vows. Our Lord Jesus invited his first two disciples to “Come and see”. This remains the first invitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ today. Those who are desirous of an authentic expression of the Franciscan Charism are invited to “Come and See.” All vocations begin with the promptings of Our Lord’s invitation and continue with our response. Like the first Apostles we must accept that invitation and follow the Lord.
Although Francis began his life of penance as a hermit, devoting himself to prayer, working among lepers and rebuilding churches in the Assisi area, other men were soon attracted to his company. By 1209, there were 12 brothers, and so they approached Pope Innocent III to gain approval of their way of life “according to the Holy Gospel.” The Order of Lesser Brothers (ordo fratrum minorum) — now more formally known as the Order of Friars Minor — had begun.
The Gospel life of the Friars, as St. Francis describes in our Rule, has four central components: first, to be men of prayer, “desiring above all things to have the Spirit of the Lord and its holy operation;” second, to live as lesser ones, “not making anything our own,” but serving the Lord in poverty and humility; third, to create a brotherhood of mutual care among ourselves, “showing we are members of the same family;” and fourth, to “go about the world” entering people’s everyday lives as heralds of God’s reign and agents of Gospel peace.
Over the course of time, Franciscan friars came to differ significantly among themselves on how best to live out these values, and in the 1500s they divided into three independent branches: the Friars Minor (OFM), the Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv.) and Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap.). Together, these three congregations have some 30,000 members, the largest family of religious men in the worldwide Catholic Church.
We, the Franciscans of The Friary at Saint Miriam, belong to The Order of Saint Francis, Old Catholic (OSF), commonly known simply as Franciscan Friars.
We believe and live out the fundamental principle that God’s love for you is deeper than your own love for you, God’s plans for you are better than your plans for you, God’s desire for your eternal happiness is greater than your desire for your happiness. So, what are you waiting for?
Trust God! “Come and See!”
For more information on becoming a professed Friar, please read the Discernment Guide and minimum requirements by Clicking Here, and then Contact Us.
The Friary at Saint Miriam community includes Oblates, or Associates, of both men and women, clergy and lay, married and single, who are bound to us in a spiritual bond of love and prayer.
Associates pledge to support our Community through their individual lives, and form an “outreach family” which is both international and ecumenical. Associates should be in sympathy with the mission and spirit of the Franciscan Community and be ready to do whatever they can for the spiritual and material interests of the Community. Those interested may receive a Manual, and after practicing the Rule for a period of time, may then be received.
Oblates are Associates who wish to dedicate their lives to God within this special bond of fellowship, while living in society and fulfilling their responsibilities to their families, their jobs, and other secular roles.
Oblates make an annual commitment to a personal rule of life that includes regular prayer and service to the Church. They spend time each day in reading and meditation, and take an active part in their local church communities. Oblates meet several times each year for shared study and reflection, and for service to the Community.
The Oblate Promise is made after a probation of at least a year, and is renewed annually. At his or her admission an Oblate will be given a cross and a Certificate of Oblation.
We give thanks for our Oblates, and pray for them. Their prayers for us strengthen and renew us in our work!
For more information on becoming an Oblate, please Contact Us.
The Third Order Franciscans
The Secular Franciscan Order, formerly known as the Third Order, (Latin: Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, hence one often finds the abbreviation OFS) is a community of Catholic men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. It was established by St. Francis of Assisi himself early in the thirteenth century.
Saint Miriam is a Franciscan Old Catholic Parish and as such patterns its life and ministry after St. Francis. We are Conventual Franciscans (striving to live together in communities such as convents, or a friary.) However, our Secular Franciscans, live with family and perform their jobs out in the world, gathering in community on a regular basis. On the one hand, our fraternal living takes place within the whole world; on the other hand, our local home-based faith community is the world where we work out our salvation, learn to deepen our faith, and assist in the salvation of our sisters and brothers through the work of our hands, feet, and intercessory prayers.
Third Order Franciscans meet monthly at the parish or Friary and discern a deeper vocation. Their discernment process is lengthier than an Oblate and requires a regular commitment of prayer and regular formative meetings.
For more information on becoming a Third Order Franciscan, please Contact Us.