Ordine Francescano Secolare - Montughi
The Franciscan spiritual family brings together all those members of the People of God, lay people, religious and priests, who recognize themselves as called to follow Christ, in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. Within this family, the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) has a specific place, which is formed by the baptized who, driven by the Spirit to achieve the perfection of charity in their own secular state, wish to live the Gospel ideal by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, undertaking to do so according to the Rule approved by the Church.
The SFO is therefore an Order, not a movement, an association or a prayer group. It is precisely the vocation that distinguishes, from the point of view of motivation, belonging to the O.F.S. compared to other pious associations. And in fact, to follow the individual vocation of belonging to the SFO, a rite of public profession is necessary, at the end of a period of discernment and formation (novitiate) and of participation in the life of fraternity.
The SFO is not even an emanation of the First Order (Friars Minor, Capuchins and Conventuals), as the SFO is linked to the First Order, the Second Order (Poor Clares) and the Third Order Regular (TOR) from a relationship of 'reciprocal vital communion', to signify complementarity and co-responsibility of the Orders in fully expressing the charism of the Founder St. Francis.
The Third Order (prevalent name of the Secular Franciscan Order until 1978) was born in the heart of Francis to meet those who wanted to follow him, without breaking the bonds of the family and domestic things. With prophetic intuition, Francis, through the path of penance, offers lay people, men and women, married and unmarried, of all ages and conditions, to live the Gospel in their day, in their family, in their work.
In fact, the first great lay movement in the history of the Church was constituted, the movement which, anticipating the ecclesiology of Vatican II by eight centuries, promoted a life fuller of the Church, promoting the life of the laity.
In this case, Francis' penance must be understood in its deepest meaning, that is, as conversion, change of heart and mind, it is thus united with everyday life, with living in the world, in order to consecrate the world. The way of penance / conversion is proclaimed, therefore, as a possibility for everyone to access total communion with God. And this we find attested in the 'Letter to all the faithful, now recognized as the source document of the SFO, in which Francis he himself outlines an orientation of life for the laity according to what the Lord inspired him, the true evangelical nucleus from which the SFO's fruitfulness over the centuries is released. For our time the Church has authoritatively remembered it with the approval of the current Rule (1978), by Paul VI, which places as its Prologue the 'Exhortation to the brothers and sisters of Penance', the first review of the Letter a all the faithful (1215) and first programmatic form of life for those who remained in their homes while following the Saint of Assisi.
The Church has always paid much attention and consideration over the centuries to Franciscan penitents, and through four Rules:
Memoriale Propositi (1221) di papa Onorio III
Supra Montem (1289) di Papa Niccolo' IV
Misericors Dei Filius (1883) di Papa Leone XIII
Seraphicus Patriarca (1978) di Papa Paolo VI
he has adapted the Secular Franciscan Order in different ways to the needs and expectations of the holy Church in the changed conditions of the times.
The evangelical form of life that the Secular Franciscans today profess is a treasure in their hands, as Saint John Paul II effectively said, inviting them to study, love and live the last Rule. In light of this, the Secular Franciscans commit themselves to live this vocation in every situation in which they find themselves at the family and work level, seeking the living and active person of Christ in the other Brothers, in the Church, in the Word of God, in the Liturgy. They strive to proclaim Christ with Life and the Word, and to witness future goods in daily life: in the love of poverty, in obedience, in purity of heart
The Secular Franciscans are committed to building a more just, more evangelical and fraternal world by welcoming all men as a gift from God, happy to be on par with the weakest, promoting justice. They live the Spirit of St. Francis in their work and in their family, on a joyful journey of human and Christian maturation with their children. Peace bearers are confident in man and bring him the message of joy and hope.
The purpose of the SFO is to live as Christians in the world following in the footsteps of the Saint of Assisi, passing from the Gospel to life and from life to the Gospel. Therefore his program is not identified in any specific work of assistance, or of charity, or of devotion, even if the passage from the Gospel to life and from life to the Gospel has led over the centuries to a very wide, varied and creative apostolic activity. or charitable.
The vocation to the Franciscan charism is carried out first of all by experiencing all its facets through the life of fraternity. The local fraternity is the cell first of all the Order and a visible sign of the Church, a community of love. It should be the privileged environment for developing the ecclesial sense and Franciscan vocation, as well as for animating the apostolic life of its members. For this reason, the SFO is structured in fraternities, starting from the local ones, to switch to regional, national and international ones. Each fraternity, at any level, is led by a minister and a council.
The Secular Franciscan Order also has a particular relationship and also takes care of:
of the heralds (from 6 to 13 years):
of the Franciscan Youth (the age range between 14 and 30), young people who, under the call of the Holy Spirit, have the desire to live a Christian experience on the model of Francis of Assisi.