To Bring the Gospel to the People, the People to the Sacraments and the Tender Love of Jesus to Everyone
A Franciscan Family of Religous Sisters and Secular Franciscans

Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Compassion

About Us


     The Missionaries of Divine Compassion include a Convent with Religious Sisters and a  dispersed community of Secular Franciscans and oblates.  The Religious Sisters are vowed to poverty, (celibate) chastity and obedience, live in common, share all property in common and have a common life of prayer, service and recreation.  We are seeking to grow the Convent in the United States and to help local Sisters form successful, financially self-sufficient Convents in mission lands.  The oblates are a dispersed community similar to a Secular Institute, but connected to the convent.

      Sr. Claire Marie, OSF served as an international formation director for a large, international Roman Catholic religious order and Sr. Sarah, OSF was trained to form religious sisters by Fr. John Hardon, a member of the Vatican's organization to govern religious life and shaped residentially in several religious houses. The goal of the two Sisters is to provide the highest possible quality of formation, for religious life, for leadership, for financial self-sufficiency, and for ministry so that a very healthy, stable, holy and effective in ministry religious order and related Secular Franciscan tertiaries will grow up. It is our goal to grow the motherhouse community and, also, to then send missionaries back to their home countries to establish their own formation programs.

     These Sisters will be teachers, nurses, farmers, child and senior care specialists, evangelists and catechists, women who work ordinary jobs, pray effectually from holy lives, support one another throughout their lives in residential communities, and spread the orthodox Christian faith through lives consecrated entirely to Christ and His Church by the vow of consecrated celibacy.

     An international religious order, formed according to the norms of Catholic canon law, but grounded in pure Biblical/orthodox faith, is taking shape. We welcome Christian men and women from every denomination and every walk of life, and we are affiliated with an Anglican Church.

     Our missionary charism of relational evangelization is accomplished through many ways to service, living out the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

Both our vowed celibate Sisters and oblates and our Secular Franciscans follow a Rule of Life and live out Franciscan spirituality, assist each other in mission, and form a common community with a common life of fellowship, prayer and spiritual assistance. To support our Secular Franciscans, we use local community meetings and zoom meetings to stay connected, as well as an annual community wide gathering..m Members of our family strive to create a nurturing Christian community that is enjoyable to be part of and a real practical, emotional and spiritual support to sustain us joyfully in ministry and prayer.

     Secular Franciscans may be married or single, live in their own homes, and own property. Their Rule of prayer, while significant, may not be as intense as that of the consecrated Religious Sisters. They seek spiritual mentoring and support from the Sisters and from one another, offer their lives to glorify God by growing in holiness through becoming sanctified, and in prayer and service to draw others to Jesus and to His sacraments. As a vital part of our Franciscan family, they aim to make the religious life better known and assist the Sisters in their life and apostolate.

     We are presently mentoring a young man interested in the religious life and would be willing to provide religious formation and welcome friars (Franciscan monks) into our community.

     Our Companions are young people ages 12-21 who live the prayer book disciplines of Christian life, participate in the youth and Christian education opportunities of their parish, enjoy regular spiritual direction and come together in fellowship with the Sisters and Secular Franciscans and each other.





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About Us

Location and Contact Form


  • 311 6th Street, Winona Lake, IN 46590, United States

F.A.Q.


How Does one become a Sister or Monk?

     All who are interested are urged to call Mother Sarah and to file an application.

     The formation period is an opportunity for a person to become aware of the spiritual implications of the consecrated life. Each stage of preparation is also a stage of discernment.

A postulant, meaning “one who seeks” spends a year getting to know the community and its spirit, while engaging in the apostolate, prayer life and common life of the community. She studies the catechism, with an emphasis on the elements of thorough catechesis for one day the religious will teach the faith, Christian Spirituality, the Rule and Franciscan charism of this religious order, and is introduced to the liturgy and music of the Divine Office. An emphasis is placed on growth in healthy, courteous, loving interpersonal relationships and the family spirit.

     The first year of the novitiate is a quieter time, where the focus is on deepening the novice’s prayer life. Study focuses on Christian spirituality, the theology of the consecrated life and the principles of the religious life, Sacred Scripture, Systemic Theology, and Moral Theology.

     The second year of the novitiate emphasizes integrating prayer and the apostolate, with studies focused on deepening Franciscan spirituality, preparing the novice to take a full role in the life and governance of the community and a special class in Christian Formation and Evangelization.

     Novices do not relinquish their possessions or finances, but they begin to experience another dimension of holy poverty and the common life by giving up the use of their money. Individual abilities begin to emerge and through growth in discipline and responsibility, become enrichments of the community and channels of outreach. Like postulants, a novice is free to leave at any time. After completing the novitiate and requesting to take temporary vows, the sister may be elected to make vows. Junior professed sisters participate fully in the life of the community. The vows are binding for three years; the religious is free at the end of that period, if she or the community feels that she should not continue on to a life commitment.

What is Religious Life?

      The life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, is the model of religious life. The Bible forms the core of a sister’s reading, and it is at the heart of all her worship. Religious communities have a set written standard for life together, called a Rule, and the principles of religious life, as understood by the Church, may be found in Scripture, the Church’s pastoral teaching, and the canon laws of the eastern and western Church.

     The unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit. 1 Corinthians 7:34

     A person is consecrated to God specifically by the vow of chastity, for in this directing of human love, the human person gives the very substance and symbol of his or her self-giving nature, made to love and be loved. Because he or she gives up the very great good of marriage, it is understood that religious consecration is primarily for the sake of giving oneself to prayer, not for the sake of the work or the pursuit of material things, as is consistent with human dignity. Through vows, a religious commits her whole life to God. Freed from continuous search for security, the religious is able to grow, to take risks, and to reach out to others in love.

A material simplicity sets a consecrated person free from the tyranny of material things. Remembering that Christ emptied himself and took the form of a servant, a religious relinquishes the personal ownership of property and seeks to live in simple dependence on God in a family spirit with her community.

     The vow of obedience sets a religious free from the selfish desire to have one’s own way. Complete surrender to God is a life-long task, but day by day, a sister or friar offers his or her will to God as he or she lives out the vow of obedience.

     The religious life is, first of all, a life of prayer. A religious man or woman gives oneself to God and receives the outpouring of his love and grace. The religious speaks to him and listens to his voice. The friar or sister prays for the Church and the world, uniting her prayers with Christ’s intercession before the throne of his Father. In regular times of private and corporate prayer, the religious community finds the wellspring of life and the source of its witness and ministry. In a spirit of continual conversion, each religious strives to grow in love into a closer communion with The Divine Spouse.

     The Holy Eucharist is central to the life of a religious community. Daily the religious offer all they are and do, and daily they are renewed and strengthened in Holy Communion. From the Eucharist, the individual religious takes courage, joy, strength and the tenderness of the love they lavish on others.

     The Divine Office is the Church’s constant sacrifice of praise, as the sisters join their praise with that of the whole Church on earth and in heaven. As the community meets together at regular times for prayer, they recall from Psalm 113: “From the rising of the sun to its going down, let the Name of the Lord be praised!”

     Daily meditation time before the Blessed Sacrament is a great source of the religious’ tendemess and fruitfulness, for as the sun is the source of all energy and warmth, so Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, is the source of all grace and love.

     Times and places of silence produce a creative atmosphere in which community members’ relationships with God and each other may be deepened. In silence, a religious is free to adore God, to lift up her heart to him in praise, gratitude and intercession, to draw near to the Giver of life.

     The words of Jesus in the Gospel impel the sister to let her love for God be expressed in compassionate service to others. Because the foundation is active and non-cloistered, its sisters are free to respond to human needs in many ways, but, of course, our faith perspective causes us to recognize that all people were created to love and to be loved and to find the fullness of their life in God and, thus, to share as generously as we can the good news of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Apostolate: What kinds of works do you do to share Jesus?



We are a religious order seeking to live the consecrated life while loving, serving and evangelizing the people in our community. In Africa, our Sisters are trained to nurse, teach, provide child care, senior care and farm. We recognize that the poverty of the west is greater than the poverty of the third world, a spiritual poverty, people who are not loved, do not know Jesus, do not have any sense of meaning, or value, and often do not even like themselves. Therefore, the first work of the order will be in Christian Formation and direct evangelization. We want everyone to be able to access the healing forgiveness of Christ. It is the intention of the foundation to train every sister as a catechist and evangelist so that she will take that missionary spirit with her in all her works. Recognizing the importance of the key areas of pastoral strategy for evangelization in the western world, the foundation has a special concern for strengthening the Christian family, education that passes on Christian values, Christian Education and Formation and direct evangelization.

In addition, the foundation envisions strengthening parishes in the way they pass on and strengthen the faith by placing religious in parish communities.
We work in ordinary parish churches and community organizations, primarily, at this time, in catechesis and evangelization. We work to address the spiritual poverty, by meeting the deepest needs of all.
If we bring our people to Jesus, He can transform lives and families and pour out blessings beyond comprehension.


Ministries the FMDC is Involved with
Divine Compassion House (retreats, spiritual direction, inner healing)
Health Care
Soup Kitchen
Alpha Course
Shrine of Divine Mercy
Christian Education
Parish Work
Combined Community Services http://www.combinedcommunityservices.org/
Transformative Prayer Ministry
Intercession Seminars
Retreats, Quiet Days, Youth Events
Children’s Retreats
St. Michael’s Conference http://saintmichaelsconference.com/

What is the prayer life of the monastery?



From the depths of their inner life, let them love, honor, adore, serve, praise, bless and glorify our most high and eternal God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit
–The Rule

The Rule and Constituions call the  Sisters to a regularity of prayer, sacramental life and spiritual exercizes, which nurture the religious’ union with Christ. No work can be successful without a deep prayer life.
The daily pattern of a religious’ lfe includes:
  • The Holy Eucharist or Communion Service

  • The Liturgy of the Hours–Morning Prayer,  Evening Prayer and Compline
  • Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament–From the Eucharist, a consecrated person draws courage, joy and the tenderness of Christ’s love.
Other exercizes of our common life include:
  • Monthly Quiet Days and annual retreat
  • Fasting and Sacrifice
  • A rich sacramental life
The rule, constitution and formation for our religious calls them to live a Christian faith based spirituality, responding and cooperating with grace, to grow in union with God, through love and union of their will with God’s will.
St. Francis was adamant that we must live lives of loving tenderness, humility and continual conversion. He was passionate that we live a deeply sacramental life in union with the Church and study and pattern our lives on Sacred Scripture and apostolic teaching.

The postulant and novice ordinarily learn many new forms and techniques of prayer, especially those that are dear to our religious family, but each is given time and space for the uniqueness of their own devotional life.

The community members are also involved in prayer walking, community intercession groups, inner healing prayer and other ministries of prayer.
Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Compassion
311 6th Street, Winona Lake, IN 46590
(574) 453-1082

Can one be Associated with the Community without Joining the Monastery? What About Youth?

 Men and women, including youth, seek to be affiliated with the monastery for a variety of reasons including desire for community support, prayer support, and involvment in the community's ministries and desire to support the religious life.  These people find life-long spiritual. emotional and practical  support living in a loving Christian family, being shaped and formed by an intentional process of formation and holy mentors, and, in turn,helping to raise up and form the next generation of strong Christian ldeaders.

There are two adult communities associated with the Monastery. One is the Secular Franciscans and the other is the wider Community of St. John the Beloved.

The wider Community of St. John the Beloved is less structured, similar to Associates of other religious orders, where there is a sharing in the family but not necessarily a daily recitation of the Divine Office or formal initial formation program, beyond a suggest book or two. The Secular Franciscans live a more structured life with more formation and pastoral care.

Both communities host retreats and events that all community members of wahtever type of affiliation may attend.

The Companions of the Franciscan Missionaries of Divine Compassion are young men and women living in the world who desire to connect themselves during their Junior High, High School and College years with the Community for the strengthening of their spiritual lives through a disciplined Rule of Living in order to become more effective witnesses for Christ in the Church and in the world. Membership is open to anyone between the ages of twelve and twenty-one who is a Christian.

The Companions is for ANY young person desiring to grow in his or her relationship with Christ in the Church. The Sisters strive to support the young people through prayer, friendship, retreats, teaching, and spiritual direction and to facilitate the formation among themselves of peer spiritual friendships.

Companions may become Secular Franciscans or Community of St. John members when they reach age 21.

The Companions' Rule:

The Rule embraces the four areas of Worship, Education, Service and Fellowship.


Worship
To participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist on all Sundays and major feast days (ie Christmas, Holy Name, Epiphany, Annunciation, Ascension, and All Saints’ Day, unless there is no opportunity for them to do so and to receive Holy Communion fasting (at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion).

To include in their daily personal prayers:

–the Companions, Sisters and Secular Franciscans

–the reading of a portion of Holy Scripture and at least five minutes in simple meditation on the text

–self-examination before Communion

It is reocmmended to observe the Prayer Book/Church's days of fasting and abstinence.

It is recommended to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession to a priest) at least once a year if their denomination makes it available.

It is reocmmeneded to meet regularly with a spiritual guide or director in order to review the living our of their Rule and the growth of their spiritual lives

Education

To participate actively in the Christian Education program in their local parish or mission. (If there is no program available, they will seek to get one started or contact the convent to see what resources are available for private study.)

It is recommended to make a two day retreat at least once a year. (If this is not possible, one may fulfill this requirement by attending two one day retreats or Quiet Days.)


Service

To exercise the gifts given to them by God in the service of their parish or mission.

To be willing to take part, according to ability, in all works undertaken by the Companions for the benefit of the Sisterhood.
Fellowship

To participate actively in their parish fellowship, especially in the parish, diocesan or regional fellowship for youth or young adults, men or women.

To write at least once a year to the Sister in charge of the Companions and to describe one’s living of this rule, any difficulties encountered and one’s Christian prayer and service. (The Companions’ secretary will reply.)

This program is designed to provide support to young people who seek to live the traditional prayer book disciplines of Christian life by affiliation with the Sisters and wider community for peer and cross-generational support.

Persons interested in being oblates of the monastery (basically members of a secular institute, that is celibate, consecrated persons who live outside the walls of the monastery but share in fellowship with the community) are invited to discuss the matter with the Mother Superior.

All adult members of the community must pass a background check and are screened for sex offenses.  Safe youth practices are followed.

To join or for more information, write:
missionariesofdivinecompassion@gmail.com or call (574) 453-1082

What kinds of works do you do in Africa?

       The leaders of the African aspirants will be trained in religious life (make their novitiate) in the United States. They will be trained in farming, child care, and senior day care. In Africa, in addition to professional and charitable service, they will help local churches to evangelize and catechize.

Do you have a retreat house?

     People often come to the monastery for spiritual renewal, retreat and discernment time with the Lord, to join in community worship, and for spiritual direction or inner healing prayer.

     Spiritual direction and inner healing (Transformative Prayer Ministry) can be scheduled with the religious, and the local priest is available for Confesison.

      We join in the Eucharist most days and share Morning and Evening Prayer.  All baptized Christians who believe Jesus is present in the Eucharist are invited to receive Holy Communion. All worship and sacramental care offered here is available to all baptized Christians.

        The convent has a chapel, library and quiet sitting areas that are available for prayer, study, reflection and rest. The bedrooms of the religious are cloistered and not to be entered.

     Our grounds offer quiet meditative gardens and have walking access to the Winona Lake Greenway, the Village at Winona, the Winona Lake public beach and playground and the free Limitless Water Park.

     Divine Compassion House in Winona Lake, IN has two guest bedrooms, one on the men's and one on the women's floor.  Nearby Grace College also has overnight rooms available with continental breakfast.  Meals can also be arranged in the convent.  Please speak with a Sister to make arrangements for a visit, whether it be just an office and perhaps a meal with the community, a full day of retreat or overnight retreat.

Shrine of Divine Mercy?

The Shrine of Divine Mercy is a dream, a garden, a place of prayer with museum style teaching.

–an ecumenical ministry of evangelization and healing

–a place of prayer where Confession and the Eucharist are available

–a tourist attraction and outreach along the walking trails of a tourist attraction

–a place to focus on teaching about the power of prayer and how to receive forgiveness of sins

–with regard to the power of prayer, practical Scriptural teaching about how to pray effectively and human examples of powerful intercession and resulting miracles and teaching about inner healing prayer and resulting escape from pain and the crazy thinking that causes crazy behavior (personality disorders)

–with regard to the forgiveness of sins, Biblical teaching and examples of how various denominations experience the release of guilt of shame & new or renewed empowering union with Jesus Christ

–a place for volunteer hosts and intercessors to minister graciously to people from far and near

–a place of reflection and prayer

divine-mercy-icon-shrine
The Divine Mercy image represents the love and mercy flowing from the heart of Jesus to humanity. We would like to use a giant lighted image, landscaped grounds, a small chapel/theatre with a repeating video, side walking to make the garden handicapped accessible, statues and signage to proclaim the message.

We also need to endow ongoing marketing to bring people to the proposed Shrine of Divine Mercy.

So many people are afraid to set foot in a church. They are hurting and lost. Others are craving renewal. Our society has lost touch with the power of prayer to change lives and situations. People need to know that prayer can change things. They need people to witness to the power of prayer and to pray with them. They need to be introduced to Jesus, the sin-forgiver and healer and connected to Him in a more vital and life-giving way.

We estimate that this project will cost about $50,000. We will make it happen if the funds are provided. Please help us fund this project for Jesus’ sake. You can help by writing a check to the Missionaries of Divine Compassion, marked Shrine Fund.
Budget:
land 20,000
Icon 1,000
Icon House  2,000
Chapel/Theatre 6,000
Computer/TV  1,500
Video Development 8,000
Sidewalks, land clearing  ???
Signage   1,000
Fencing  1,000
Statues, art, landscaping ???
Lighting, electricity???
Professional Fees?
Marketing (website, brochures, distribution to rest stops, hotels, etc.)????

What is your Faith and History?

      Faithful to the Elizabethan settlement,  we hold the faith and morals  of the earliest Christians, cherishing the spiritual and pastoral concerns of the evangelical and charismatic Christians

     Many of our vocations are referred to us from overseas.

Our church is growing very rapidly. It is intensely service oriented and pastorally sensitive and cultivates a climate of loving one another. We fast for the church and nation and strive to repent quickly if we fall into sin, keeping our prayer clean before God. This combination of united faith, love, service and purity appears to be very effective in reaching souls.

      The Missionaries of Divine Compassion will receive candidates from any Christian tradition, provided that they believe the orthodox faith and are willing to be baptized and chrismated/confirmed. They also minister in any church or organization where they are asked to serve.


What is a Secular Franciscan Tertiary?

The special privilage of Franciscans who live outside the Monastery is to be the primary evangelizers of the world, working from within families, workplaces, and community organizations to Christianize the world and evangelize the world.  The word Secular honors those who practice this precious vocation.

Franciscans seek to make the Gospel their way of life. They live a life of penance, which means, continual conversion, evaluating their thoughts, words and deeds and seeking to be transformed into becoming more and more obedient to God, through accepting His mercy and drawing strength from His Word, Sacraments and prayer.

We seek to form a loving community of persons who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to Him in body and spirit, committed to actively engaging in the Church's mission. We surrender our lives to Him and to the service of His precious people. We feel called to dedicate our lives under a definite disipcline in accordance with the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. We are men and women, married and single, lay and ordained. We believe the inward drawing to this way of life comes from the Holy Spiirt, but it is inspired, at least in part, in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis loved Jesus passionately and tried to follow the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ as perfectly as he could. He cherished the Word of God, the Eucharist, and the Holy Mother of God. He sought to bring others through Christ by loving relational evangelization. He strove to be cheerful, orthodox, missionary.

At the time of novicing, the Secular Tertiary makes three promises to God to serve Him in a particular calling. Those promises are Simplicity, Puristy and Fidelity. At the same time a pledge is made to keep the Rule of the Seuclar Franciscan Order and one's personal Rule of Life, according to the norms of this document, is laid on the altar. The personal rule of life may change with time, but the following of Jesus is according to plan.

Secular Franciscans make promises to simplicity, purity and fidelity and to keep the Secular Franciscan Rule with life-long intention. During the novitiate, they renew their committment to their personal Rule of life monthly, and the professed report at Ember Days. This reporting process of accountability serves as a time of renewal and allows a Minister of the Community to pray for, encourage and attend to the needs of the member.


The promise of Simplicity:

The first Christians surrenderely completely to our Lord and gave to each other, as each had need, offering a new vision of society where material possessions were stewarded to serve others and the mission of the Church. This vision was renewed by St. Francis when he chose Lady Poverty as his bride, desiring that all barriers set up by privilege based upon wealth should be destroyed by love. Simplicity commits us to live simply and dedicate our resources to the mission of the Church and the needs of others. We possess and control our own property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, but we show ourselves true followers of Christ and Sr. Francis by our readiness to live simply and share with others. We avoid luxury and waste and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God. Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for the health and well being of themselves and of their dependents. We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than for the value of the property in itself. In this way, we reflect the acceptance of Jesus' challenge to sell all, give to the poor and follow him.


The promise of Purity

The promise of Purity seeks to respect the integrity and worth of all people. The chief object of the promise of Purity is to emphasize the truth that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we were bought with a price. This can only be achieved by a spirit of chastity which sees our own bodies and others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfillment, but it is properly understood as seeking to uphold the dignity of each person and to love and honor them as God does.

The promise of Fidelity

The promise of Fidelity is found in the conviction that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God; that true life has been made available to us through his Incarnation and Sacramental Ministry, by his Cross and Resurrection, and by the sending of his Holy Spirit. The Order believes that it is the commission of the Church to make the Gospel known to all and therefore seeks fidelity to the duty of bringing others to know Christ, and of praying and working for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The primary aim of the promise of Fidelity therefore is to make Christ known.

Secular Franciscans take on a definite apostolic ministry. This may be the Christian education of their own or parish children, work with addicts, sick or the poor or any sort of ministry, but through their ministry, we seek to bring others to Christ and the fullness of the obedience of faith and morals. We seek to remain faithful to the historic Christian faith and to obey those in authority over us in the church and our order. We also be faithful in prayer, work, and financial support of their Order for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.



Three Characteristics of the Order

Humility, love, and joy are the three notes which mark the lives of Tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident throughout the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them, all that it attempts will be in vain.

Humility means obedience to God and respect for other people. We seek to serve one anther, as Christ served us, with tenderness, tact, thoughtfulness, giving what is needed.
Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said, "No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility." It is the first condition of a joyful life within a community.

The faults Tertiaries see in others are the subject of prayer rather than of criticism. They take care to cast out the beam from their own eye before offering to remove the speck from another's. Nevertheless, when asked to undertake work of which they feel unworthy or incapable, they do not shrink from it on the grounds of humility, but confidently attempt it through the power that is made perfect in weakness. They should be ready to accept the lowest place when asked, and to volunteer to take it. We try to show the humility of Christ, welcoming any opportunity for humble service that may come our way, and not looking for any recognition or praise.

Love means doing our evangelization and interaction with others out of other-centered motivations of care for the other person. Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35.
Love is the distinguishing feature of all true Disciples of Christ, who are in right relationship with God for God is love and will manifest His charcter through them unless they have created barriers to action in their lives by sin. We seek to love all those to whom they are bound by ties of family or friendship. Their love for them increases, as their love for Christ grows deeper. They have a special love and affection for members of the community praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. They are on their guard against anything which might injure this love, and they seek reconciliation with those from whom they are estranged. They seek the same love for those with whom they have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling up of emotion, but is a bond founded in their common union with Christ.

The Secular Franciscans are a Christian Community whose members, though varied in race, education, and character, are bound into a living whole through the love they share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. As such the personal problems or situations of a member are not discussed with anyone outside the Order, and are not the subject of gossip among ourselves.

It is our Franciscan life of prayer, study, and work that is of interest to those outside our Order. In their relationship with those outside the Order Tertiaries will show the same Christ-like love, and gladly give of themselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice

Joy is a fruit of the spirit that comes from frequent Confession, from receiving God's mercy and being intimately united with God through repentance and release from our sins. Our joy is maintained by intentional efforts are renewal, repentance, and sacramental Confession, if at all available to us. We should strive to be cheerful and lift up a part of the burden of our fellow men, but we will never have true joy without ongoing repentance, and the deepest joy is found in sacramental Confession, which utterly irradiactes every barrier of sin to intimacy with God.


Secular Franciscans, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in their lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. They remember that they follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. Tertiaries delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God's world, its beauty, and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. They mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the brokenhearted, and to bring joy into the lives of others. They carry within them an inner peace and happiness which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardship, and persecutions for Christ's sake; for when they are weak, then they are strong.

The humility, love and joy, which marke the lives of Secular Franciscans are all God given graces. They are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of Christ is to work miracles through people who are willing to be emptied of self and to surrender to him. They then become channels of grace through which his mighty work is done.

Three Ways of Service

Secular Franciscans desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom they serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to his calling and abilities.


Prayer

Secular Franciscans seek to live in an atmosphere of praise, prayer, and meditation. They aim to be constantly aware of God's presence, so that they may indeed pray without ceasing. Their ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ's love that inspires them to service, and strengthens them for sacrifice.

The heart of their prayer is the Eucharist, in which they share with other Christians the renewal of their union with their Lord and Savior in his sacrifice, remembering his death and receiving his spiritual food. In their watch for the Holy Eucharist, they will join with the Church in her round of prayers in the Daily Office. And let them not neglect devotion to the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament or the honor due his Holy Mother, our Lady.

Tertiaries recognize the power of intercessory prayer for furthering the purposes of God's kingdom, and therefore seek a deepening communion with God in personal devotion, and constantly intercede for the needs of his church and his world. Those who have much time in their disposal give prayer a large part in their daily life. Those with less time must not fail to see the importance of prayer and to guard the time they have allotted to it from interruption. Lastly, Tertiaries are encouraged to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, through which the burden of past sin and failure is lifted, and peace and hope restored.


Study

"And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17:3.
True knowledge is knowledge of God. Tertiaries therefore give priority to devotional study of Scripture as one of the chief means of attaining that knowledge of God, which leads to eternal life.

In addition to this, all recognize their Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular there are members of the Third Order who accept the duty of contributing through their research and writings, to a better understanding of the Church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace, and of all other questions concerning the life of faith. Jesus took upon himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve.

Work

Secular Franciscans endeavor to serve others by active work directed toward the Principles of the Order. They will try to secure that in their own lives each of the three vows (Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity) finds concrete expression, and they will also, as far as time and circumstances allow, render active help to those doing similar work. Their service will not, however, be limited to these special spheres, but their lives will be marked throughout by a reflection of One who came among us as a servant of all. The chief form of service which Tertiaries have to offer is indeed to reflect the love of Christ, who, in his beauty and power, is the inspiration and joy of their own lives.
Jesus the Master took upon himself the form of a servant. He came not to be ministered unto, but to be a minister. He went about doing good, healing the sick, preaching good tidings to the poor, binding up the broken-hearted. We, too, must go and do likewise.








What is a Secular Franciscan?

The special privilage of Franciscans who live outside the Monastery is to be the primary evangelizers of the world, working from within families, workplaces, and community organizations to Christianize the world and evangelize the world.  The word Secular honors those who practice this precious vocation.

Franciscans seek to make the Gospel their way of life. They live a life of penance, which means, continual conversion, evaluating their thoughts, words and deeds and seeking to be transformed into becoming more and more obedient to God, through accepting His mercy and drawing strength from His Word, Sacraments and prayer.

We seek to form a loving community of persons who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to Him in body and spirit, committed to actively engaging in the Church's mission. We surrender our lives to Him and to the service of His precious people. We feel called to dedicate our lives under a definite disipcline in accordance with the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. We are men and women, married and single, lay and ordained. We believe the inward drawing to this way of life comes from the Holy Spiirt, but it is inspired, at least in part, in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis loved Jesus passionately and tried to follow the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ as perfectly as he could. He cherished the Word of God, the Eucharist, and the Holy Mother of God. He sought to bring others through Christ by loving relational evangelization. He strove to be cheerful, orthodox, missionary.

At the time of novicing, the Secular Tertiary makes three promises to God to serve Him in a particular calling. Those promises are Simplicity, Puristy and Fidelity. At the same time a pledge is made to keep the Rule of the Seuclar Franciscan Order and one's personal Rule of Life, according to the norms of this document, is laid on the altar. The personal rule of life may change with time, but the following of Jesus is according to plan.

Secular Franciscans make promises to simplicity, purity and fidelity and to keep the Secular Franciscan Rule with life-long intention. During the novitiate, they renew their committment to their personal Rule of life monthly, and the professed report at Ember Days. This reporting process of accountability serves as a time of renewal and allows a Minister of the Community to pray for, encourage and attend to the needs of the member.


The promise of Simplicity:

The first Christians surrenderely completely to our Lord and gave to each other, as each had need, offering a new vision of society where material possessions were stewarded to serve others and the mission of the Church. This vision was renewed by St. Francis when he chose Lady Poverty as his bride, desiring that all barriers set up by privilege based upon wealth should be destroyed by love. Simplicity commits us to live simply and dedicate our resources to the mission of the Church and the needs of others. We possess and control our own property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, but we show ourselves true followers of Christ and Sr. Francis by our readiness to live simply and share with others. We avoid luxury and waste and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God. Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for the health and well being of themselves and of their dependents. We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than for the value of the property in itself. In this way, we reflect the acceptance of Jesus' challenge to sell all, give to the poor and follow him.


The promise of Purity

The promise of Purity seeks to respect the integrity and worth of all people. The chief object of the promise of Purity is to emphasize the truth that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and we were bought with a price. This can only be achieved by a spirit of chastity which sees our own bodies and others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfillment, but it is properly understood as seeking to uphold the dignity of each person and to love and honor them as God does.

The promise of Fidelity

The promise of Fidelity is found in the conviction that Jesus Christ is the perfect revelation of God; that true life has been made available to us through his Incarnation and Sacramental Ministry, by his Cross and Resurrection, and by the sending of his Holy Spirit. The Order believes that it is the commission of the Church to make the Gospel known to all and therefore seeks fidelity to the duty of bringing others to know Christ, and of praying and working for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The primary aim of the promise of Fidelity therefore is to make Christ known.

Secular Franciscans take on a definite apostolic ministry. This may be the Christian education of their own or parish children, work with addicts, sick or the poor or any sort of ministry, but through their ministry, we seek to bring others to Christ and the fullness of the obedience of faith and morals. We seek to remain faithful to the historic Christian faith and to obey those in authority over us in the church and our order. We also be faithful in prayer, work, and financial support of their Order for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.



Three Characteristics of the Order

Humility, love, and joy are the three notes which mark the lives of Tertiaries. When these characteristics are evident throughout the Order, its work will be fruitful. Without them, all that it attempts will be in vain.

Humility means obedience to God and respect for other people. We seek to serve one anther, as Christ served us, with tenderness, tact, thoughtfulness, giving what is needed.
Humility confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits of our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. It is the basis of all Christian virtues. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said, "No spiritual house can stand for a moment except on the foundation of humility." It is the first condition of a joyful life within a community.

The faults Tertiaries see in others are the subject of prayer rather than of criticism. They take care to cast out the beam from their own eye before offering to remove the speck from another's. Nevertheless, when asked to undertake work of which they feel unworthy or incapable, they do not shrink from it on the grounds of humility, but confidently attempt it through the power that is made perfect in weakness. They should be ready to accept the lowest place when asked, and to volunteer to take it. We try to show the humility of Christ, welcoming any opportunity for humble service that may come our way, and not looking for any recognition or praise.

Love means doing our evangelization and interaction with others out of other-centered motivations of care for the other person. Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35.
Love is the distinguishing feature of all true Disciples of Christ, who are in right relationship with God for God is love and will manifest His charcter through them unless they have created barriers to action in their lives by sin. We seek to love all those to whom they are bound by ties of family or friendship. Their love for them increases, as their love for Christ grows deeper. They have a special love and affection for members of the community praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. They are on their guard against anything which might injure this love, and they seek reconciliation with those from whom they are estranged. They seek the same love for those with whom they have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling up of emotion, but is a bond founded in their common union with Christ.

The Secular Franciscans are a Christian Community whose members, though varied in race, education, and character, are bound into a living whole through the love they share in Christ. This unity of all who believe in him will become, as our Lord intended, a witness to the world of his divine mission. As such the personal problems or situations of a member are not discussed with anyone outside the Order, and are not the subject of gossip among ourselves.

It is our Franciscan life of prayer, study, and work that is of interest to those outside our Order. In their relationship with those outside the Order Tertiaries will show the same Christ-like love, and gladly give of themselves, remembering that love is measured by sacrifice

Joy is a fruit of the spirit that comes from frequent Confession, from receiving God's mercy and being intimately united with God through repentance and release from our sins. Our joy is maintained by intentional efforts are renewal, repentance, and sacramental Confession, if at all available to us. We should strive to be cheerful and lift up a part of the burden of our fellow men, but we will never have true joy without ongoing repentance, and the deepest joy is found in sacramental Confession, which utterly irradiactes every barrier of sin to intimacy with God.


Secular Franciscans, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in their lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. They remember that they follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. Tertiaries delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God's world, its beauty, and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. They mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the brokenhearted, and to bring joy into the lives of others. They carry within them an inner peace and happiness which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.

This joy is a divine gift, coming from union with God in Christ. It is still there even in times of darkness and difficulty, giving cheerful courage in the face of disappointment, and an inward serenity and confidence through sickness and suffering. Those who possess it can rejoice in weakness, insults, hardship, and persecutions for Christ's sake; for when they are weak, then they are strong.

The humility, love and joy, which marke the lives of Secular Franciscans are all God given graces. They are gifts of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of Christ is to work miracles through people who are willing to be emptied of self and to surrender to him. They then become channels of grace through which his mighty work is done.

Three Ways of Service

Secular Franciscans desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom they serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to his calling and abilities.


Prayer

Secular Franciscans seek to live in an atmosphere of praise, prayer, and meditation. They aim to be constantly aware of God's presence, so that they may indeed pray without ceasing. Their ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ's love that inspires them to service, and strengthens them for sacrifice.

The heart of their prayer is the Eucharist, in which they share with other Christians the renewal of their union with their Lord and Savior in his sacrifice, remembering his death and receiving his spiritual food. In their watch for the Holy Eucharist, they will join with the Church in her round of prayers in the Daily Office. And let them not neglect devotion to the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament or the honor due his Holy Mother, our Lady.

Tertiaries recognize the power of intercessory prayer for furthering the purposes of God's kingdom, and therefore seek a deepening communion with God in personal devotion, and constantly intercede for the needs of his church and his world. Those who have much time in their disposal give prayer a large part in their daily life. Those with less time must not fail to see the importance of prayer and to guard the time they have allotted to it from interruption. Lastly, Tertiaries are encouraged to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, through which the burden of past sin and failure is lifted, and peace and hope restored.


Study

"And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17:3.
True knowledge is knowledge of God. Tertiaries therefore give priority to devotional study of Scripture as one of the chief means of attaining that knowledge of God, which leads to eternal life.

In addition to this, all recognize their Christian responsibility to pursue other branches of study, both sacred and secular. In particular there are members of the Third Order who accept the duty of contributing through their research and writings, to a better understanding of the Church's mission in the world: the application of Christian principles to the use and distribution of wealth; questions concerning justice and peace, and of all other questions concerning the life of faith. Jesus took upon himself the form of a servant. He came not to be served, but to serve.

Work

Secular Franciscans endeavor to serve others by active work directed toward the Principles of the Order. They will try to secure that in their own lives each of the three vows (Simplicity, Purity, and Fidelity) finds concrete expression, and they will also, as far as time and circumstances allow, render active help to those doing similar work. Their service will not, however, be limited to these special spheres, but their lives will be marked throughout by a reflection of One who came among us as a servant of all. The chief form of service which Tertiaries have to offer is indeed to reflect the love of Christ, who, in his beauty and power, is the inspiration and joy of their own lives.
Jesus the Master took upon himself the form of a servant. He came not to be ministered unto, but to be a minister. He went about doing good, healing the sick, preaching good tidings to the poor, binding up the broken-hearted. We, too, must go and do likewise.








St. Francis of Assisi biography


Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

St Francis is well loved by people of all denominations, because of his kindness, simplicity, courtesy, missionary spirit and overwhelming love of God. He sought to live according the Gospel of Jesus Christ as his ideal, and he did it empowered by the sacraments of the Church.

Many people have heard how St. Francis tamed the wolf of Gubbio or preached to birds, but the essence of his message is continual ongoing conversion, deepening love of God.

Thomas of Celano, in the First Life of St. Francis, wrote, "almost up to his twenty-fifth year, he squandered and wasted his time…He was…very rich, not greedy but prodigal, not a hoarder of money, but a
 squanderer of possessions, a cautious businessman but an unreliable steward. On the other hand, he was a kind person, easy and friendly…Overwhelmed by a host of evil companions, proud and high-minded, he walked about the streets of Babylon until the Lord looked down from heaven and for His own name's sake…and for His praise bridled Francis lest he should perish. The hand of the Lord came onto Francis and a change was worked by the right hand of God, that through Francis an assurance might be granted to sinners that they had been restored to grace and that Francis might become an example to all of conversion to God."

Conversion, or rather living in a state of constantly being converted, is what Francis' life was about. Drawn by the love of God, drawn away from worldly ambitions for glory, Francis instead found his treasure in the total surrender of self to God. He is our model, mentor and guide in loving Jesus passionately and so giving ourselves in ongoing conversion.

We know a good deal more about St. Francis than we do about many other saints. We have some of his own writings, and many other original source writings. Here are some free resources on St. Francis.

The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi (lulu.com)

Work info: Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi - Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org)

The Life and Legends of Saint Francis of Assisi by Candide Chalippe - Free Ebook (gutenberg.org)

Life of St. Francis of Assisi by Paul Sabatier - Free Ebook (gutenberg.org)






Meet the Sisters


Mother Sarah, OSF

Mother Superior

Mother Sarah has been a Franciscan Sister for twenty years; she was formed by the Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, SJ for religious life and blessed to be shaped by a number of holy men and women from a variety of charisms. Mother Sarah is a practicing chiropractor. She is highly trained in inner healing prayer and also, in spiritual direction. She served on the national catechetical body of a large church and was the founding director of Mary's Home Homeless Shelter. Mother is a hard worker, always striving to make a lovely home for her Sisters and to facilitate the various ministries of the institute.

Sr. Claire Marie, OSF

Formation Team

Sr. Claire Marie spent twenty years doing international formation of religious for another community. She has served in Rome, Italy, the Philippines, and Canada. Her bright, bubbly personality brings joy to all she meets. She has worked in catechesis and joined our community to be part of something good to the lost. Her heart is to bring the tender love of God to all people. She is presently running feeding ministry.

Asl Gizem

Aspirant

Asl Gizem just finished her first two years of college (what in USA is 11th and 12th grade) specializing in pre-medical studies. She seeks to pursue work in a health care field and will study from the motherhouse in USA. Asl is the daughter of one of our lay catechists and has helped her father in pastoral visiting in the home and the church choir.

Makegho Moreen

Aspirant

Moreen is a cosmetologist who has been cutting hair for several years. She was raised in Uganda and has been active in our church for several years in a variety of ministries. While her school is closed, she is working online to complete her GED.

Monica Mwangi-Mwanghi

Aspirant

Monica is a second vocation vocation, having been widowed and raised her child in Kenya.

Meet the SECULar Franciscans


Sr. Judy Nielsen

Formation Director, Secular Franciscans

Sister Judy Nielsen is a life professed Franciscan Oblate whose mission is spiritual direction and formation focusing on prayer, meditation, building community and personal accountability as well as serving the recovery community. Her life time profession vows were professed under the religious name Sister Teresa Margaret in 2001 she is known best as“Sister Judy”. She is the author of "Spiritual Direction and the Journey of the Soul" along with other articles published on living life in company with God. As with most Oblates, Sister Judy fulfilled a business career in her field of sales management and finance along with her religious duties for many years which give her the unique understanding of the challenges of living family life, keeping up with business and staying balanced in your personal relationship with God. She retired in 2009 to devote full time to her mission of Spiritual Direction. As a Franciscan, Sister Judy has provided spiritual direction to many who seek a better understanding of the presence and work of God in their everyday life working through challenges, dreams and failures. Directions includes discernment as others seek the reflection of God's work in their own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Years of experience & mentorship provide the foundation for those in discernment to a religious call, renewal to ministry as Deacons, Priests, Ministers, Sisters or Brothers to the Third Order religious life or just working through God is in the balancing of life, work and family.

Fr. Richard and Sr. Joy Jones

Br. Eric Bradley

Eric is a husband and father of a young family who is drawn to a life of prayer and service. He works full time as an educator, a substantial part of his time invested with academically at risk young adults. Beyond his family and work responsibilities, he serves in a prison ministry, on two boards related to Christian education, and is a regular blood donor.

Fr. Michael Hinton

Fr. Michael Hinton is church planting Christ Anglican Church and writing Christian Education material for children.

Documents


Secular Franciscan Application

This application whould be used by those who wish to unite with the community while living in their own homes.

Faith Statement

MDC Sisters brochure

This tri-fold brochure explains what our life is all about.

Sister/Friar Religious Life Application

If you are interested in residential religious life in the monastery, use this application.

Blog


What is the Anglican Pastoral Method?

Anglican pastoral method is focused on relational evangelization and discipleship. The Anglican pastoral method focuses on teaching the disciple the English Rule of Life: Sunday Eucharist, daily office or Bible study and daily prayer and regular examination of conscience and confession of sin, with sacramental Confession, if the disciple is able to receive that precious grace.

Read More  
It's Lent:  Repent:  Why????

Sometimes, those of us raised in western catholicism and its descendant protestant or evangelical churches can get the idea that we seek forgiveness of sin because otherwise we are in legal trouble with the Big G.

Read More  
Divine Office

Long before there were Christians, Jews prayed every morning and every evening in the village synagogue

Read More  

Blog


What is the Anglican Pastoral Method?

Anglican pastoral method is focused on relational evangelization and discipleship. The Anglican pastoral method focuses on teaching the disciple the English Rule of Life: Sunday Eucharist, daily office or Bible study and daily prayer and regular examination of conscience and confession of sin, with sacramental Confession, if the disciple is able to receive that precious grace.

Read More  
It's Lent:  Repent:  Why????

Sometimes, those of us raised in western catholicism and its descendant protestant or evangelical churches can get the idea that we seek forgiveness of sin because otherwise we are in legal trouble with the Big G.

Read More  
Divine Office

Long before there were Christians, Jews prayed every morning and every evening in the village synagogue

Read More