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“if God can work through me, he can work through anyone.”

-St. Francis of Assisi

Saint Miriam is a Franciscan, Old Catholic Parish. In other word, we are led by priests who are Conventual Franciscans, or Friars. Within the Universal Catholic Church there is a rich variety of spiritualities. We speak, for instance, of “Benedictine spirituality”, “Dominican spirituality”, or “Franciscan spirituality”, as examples. Our intentional Franciscan spirituality finds itself drawn from Judeo-Christian, Catholic, and Biblical traditions worldwide. It is also rooted in the deep Trinitarian theology of our Holy Catholic Church. If you feel a call toward ordained life as a priest or brother, please contact us here. There is also a beautiful secular order that is detailed below. We would welcome your inquiry.
 
The humility and poverty of the Incarnation of Jesus is the model for the Franciscan way of life as an imitation of our Christ, is rooted in theology, and finds it approach as an unconditional welcome to all of God’s creation. The fruit we bear is a greater perfection of love to all whom we meet in our journey as Friars with a particular Franciscan emphasis on peace and joy! To learn more about our Franciscan identity and history, please visit our primary website by Clicking Here.
 
 
DancingFrancis2015Becoming a Secular Franciscan.
 
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, assist in the salvation of our sisters and brothers through the work of our hands, feet, and intercessory prayers. 
 
Is God Calling You?
 
So, how does one become a Secular Franciscan? Well, briefly, the process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan involves a commitment of from 18 to 36 months of formation. The extent depends on the guidelines of the particular region and diocese. The average duration of a monthly formation meeting is approximately two hours. At home, prayer and study are expected, particularly prayer!
 
An Overview Formation.
 

The initial formation is divided into three primary stages: an Orientation stage, an Inquiry stage, and a Candidacy stage.

The Orientation stage is a time for determining a person’s interest, eligibility and disposition to enter into the rest of the process.

The Inquiry stage is a time of learning about the Franciscan charism and history. It is an important time of discernment to determine if the inquirer has a vocation to the Order. If a vocation is discerned, both by the individual and the local fraternity, the inquirer is received into the Order at a brief ceremony surrounded by their new brothers and sisters.

The goal of the final Candidacy phase of formation is the candidate’s profession to live the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. Profession is a lifetime commitment to follow the Gospel in fraternal relationship with other professed sisters and brothers.
 
Formation at Saint Miriam…
 

The process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan at Saint Miriam is a journey that culminates in a lifelong commitment to live the gospel following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. This formation process unfolds in regularly scheduled formation sessions during which the home study material is thoroughly discussed. Our priests are Friars who will guide, direct, and embrace you as formation begins and your soul discovers a calling.

The first stage, Orientation, provides time for dialogue and developing relationships in fraternity. During Orientation you will be introduced to the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare and share in Franciscan prayer life. You will be given general information about the Secular Franciscan Order. You must attend monthly meetings and spiritual direction. Orientation is a time to discern if the Spirit is calling you to a Secular Franciscan vocation. The period of Orientation is a minimum of six months.

The second stage, Inquiry, is the first real formal period of initiation. It is a time of in-depth study of the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare. During Inquiry you will learn about the Franciscan charism and Franciscan history. You will deepen your understanding of what it means to be secular and Franciscan, and you will continue to discern if the Spirit is calling you to the Secular Franciscan way of life. The period of Inquiry is a minimum of six months to a year. If a vocation is discerned, the Inquirer is received into the Order.

The third stage, Candidacy, is the final formal period of initiation. It is a time of preparing for permanent commitment by immersion into fraternity life. Central to this stage of formation is to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. 

After profession of the Franciscan Rule and permanent commitment to the gospel way of life, the newly professed member joins the rest of the fraternity in ongoing formation.

 
ofsThe TAU Cross Symbol:
 

Often people find this symbol in relation to all the various communities of Franciscan faith and formation. St. Francis used the TAU in his writings, painted in on the walls and doors of the places where he stayed, and used it as his only signature on his writings.

The first recorded reference to the TAU is from Ezekiel 9:4, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter “T”.

At the Fourth Lateran Council, on November 11, 1215, Pope Innocent made reference to the TAU and quoted the above verse in reference to the profaning of the Holy Places by the Saracens. It is widely accepted that St. Francis was present at the Fourth Lateran Council and that he heard the words of Pope Innocent III when he said, “The TAU has exactly the same form as the Cross on which our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and only those will be marked with this sign and will obtain mercy who have mortified their flesh and conformed their life to that of the Crucified Savior. From then on, the TAU became Francis’ own coat of arms.

St. Bonaventure said, “This TAU symbol had all the veneration and all the devotion of the saint: he spoke of it often in order to recommend it, and he traced it on himself before beginning each of his actions.” Thomas of Celano, another Franciscan historian writes, “Francis preferred the Tau above all other symbols: he utilized it as his only signature for his letters, and he painted the image of it on the walls of all the places in which he stayed.”

In the famous blessing of Brother Leo, Francis wrote on parchment, “May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord show His face to you and be merciful to you! May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace! God bless you Brother Leo!” Francis sketched a head (of Brother Leo) and then drew the TAU over this portrait.

Due, no doubt, in large part to Francis’ own affection for and devotion to the TAU, it has been a well recognized and accepted Franciscan symbol among Franciscans of various denominations and of all orders within those denominations for centuries. It remains so today. The TAU carries with it all of the symbolism of the Cross of Christ as well as Francis’ ideal of life and dream for himself and his followers.
 
Is This Your Time?
 

So, is it time for you? Are you called to at least begin the journey? If so, Contact Us and live into a new way of life and love.

 
 

 So that none may be lost…