Welcome Brothers and Sisters to the St Francis of Assisi Fraternity!

Secular Franciscans in San Antonio, Texas

Papal Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, Italy

Is Christ calling you to follow Him in the manner of St Francis?

Your journey starts here!

Secular Franciscans are Christian laymen and women living in the secular world and have publicly committed themselves to follow a Way of Life that the church has officially approved and recognized as being in conformity with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our fraternity consists of men and women, married and single, young and old, rich and poor, that come together to live the Gospel under a Rule of Life written by St Francis of Assisi, and approved by the Holy See. The Third Order is a true Order of St Francis within the Catholic Church.  

If you are interested in learning more about Franciscan spirituality, or possibly find yourself discerning a call to the Secular Franciscan Order, we invite you to join us. Inquiry is open to all Catholic men and women not members of another religious order or secular order and 18 years or older. Candidates must be practicing Catholics, faithful to the teachings of the Church, if married, be married within the Church/in good standing, and loyal to the Apostolic See.  Is God calling you to explore the Franciscan way of life?

Basilica of St Clare of Assisi

The Formation Process

The process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan is a journey that involves three separate stages and 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.

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. 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 three months.

The second stage, Inquiry, is the first 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. If a vocation is discerned, the Inquirer is received into the Order as a Candidate.

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 Article 4 of The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order which states, “The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: 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.” The period of Candidacy is a minimum of 18 months and culminates in permanent commitment to the gospel life.

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

Here is a link that explores many questions people have when they feel they may have an invitation from God to become a Secular Franciscan. secularfranciscansusa.org/frequently-asked-questions

Not a Catholic?

To become a Secular Franciscan, you must be an actively practicing Catholic (of any of the rites in union with Rome). If you are Anglican/Episcopalian, please visit the Third Order Society of St. Francis. If you are a member of another Christian denomination or simply prefer an ecumenical Franciscan community, please visit the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans.

black pencil on top of ruled paper
black pencil on top of ruled paper

Our Fraternity's Spiritual Assistant

Fraternity Life







The Secular Franciscan Order belongs to the Franciscan Family and is “formed by the organic union of all the Catholic fraternities, whose members, moved by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves through profession to live the Gospel after the manner of St. Francis in their secular state following the Rule approved by the Church” (Const. 1,3).

If you are interested in learning more about Franciscan spirituality, or possibly find yourself discerning a call to the Secular Franciscan Order, please join us. We walk with each other in love, prayer, celebration and service, and furthering the Kingdom of God in community.

We love visitors! Please contact our Minister to schedule a visit!
Contact us at: sfoasainfo@gmail.com

History of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is a community of Catholic men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Jesus Christ and in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis, the founder of the Order almost 800 years ago, was moved to establish the Secular Third Order because of the powerful attraction by married men and women wanting to join the First or Second Order. As St. Francis went about his preaching, coupled with his and his disciples’ own living example, many men and women were moved to join his group. So powerful was Francis’ preaching of penance and his way of life example, in town after town, that many devout lay persons who had family responsibilities asked and wanted to do more and follow Francis and his way of life.
The birth place of the Secular Third Order was Florence on December 16, 1221 on the authority of the Papal Bull “Regesta Pontificum”. Secular Franciscans are tertiaries, or members of the Third Order of Franciscans. They were originally known as Brothers and Sisters of Penance. The Third Order is approved and recognized by the Holy See by the official name of Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis (OFS). It is open to any Catholic not bound by any other religious vows to another Religious Order. It is made up of lay men and women and also secular clergy (deacons, priests, bishops). Secular Franciscans make a public profession, however, they are not bound by public vows as are religious orders living in community.
There are much early history about St. Francis and why and how he started the Secular Third Order. One such instance is St. Francis preaching to the birds in Saburniano; his listeners were so energized by his message that they wanted to leave the city and follow St. Francis and his friars. St. Francis told them that was not necessary and instead he established the Third Order “for the universal salvation of all people." St. Francis was concerned about the expansion of his order at the expense of families. He refused married men from entering his order and married women from joining the Poor Clares because he did not want families to suffer.
Another instance talks about Luchesio Modestini and his wife Buonadonna, rich merchants from Poggiboni, who after meeting St. Francis were moved to dedicate their lives to prayer and serving the poor. They felt called to live out their life in the way Francis and his followers were living. St. Francis was moved to write a Rule strictly for people like these that wanted to follow in his footsteps. They were soon known as the Brothers and Sister of Penance which also became known as the Franciscan Third Order.
This way of life was soon embraced by many couples and single men and women who did not feel called to harsh poverty St. Francis’ followers were living. They did live and practiced the teachings of St. Francis concerning prayer, peacemaking, self-denial, humility, fidelity and charity especially to the poor and the lepers --- those that society shunned.
St. Francis in his “Letter to All the Faithful” established The Rule by which his followers would live by, it was a call to all the faithful to a life of penance turning away from sin and moving towards God. Francis expressed the conversion process as: 1) love God, 2) love one’s neighbor, 3) turn away from our sinful tendencies, 4) “receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ” and, as a result of the above, 5) producing worthy fruits of penance – a renewed life characterized by charity, forgiveness and compassion toward others. The “primitive Rule” was approved by Pope Honorius III in 1221 with the Memoriale Propositi. Pope Nicholas IV, a Franciscan, revised the Rule in 1289, with Supra monteum and so did Pope Leo XIII in 1883 with Misericors Dei Filius. “The current Rule was given by Pope Paul VI in 1978 with the Apostolic letter Seraphicus Patriarcha. It is designed to adapt the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Church in the conditions of changing times.”
Francis when he established the Rule and encouraged his followers to this way of life said: “Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them since the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon them and He will make His home and dwelling among them. They are children of the heavenly Father whose works they do, and they are spouses, brothers and mothers of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” (source: “ ‘De Illis Qui Faciunt Penitentiaum’: The rule of the Secular Franciscan Order: Origins, Development, Interpretation, “ Robert M. Steward, OFM.)
The Spirit of the Rule found in Article 4 is as follows: “The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan Order is this: To observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to him, the Truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us, and the life which he has come to give abundantly. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the gospel, going from "gospel to life and life to the gospel.”
The Secular Franciscan Order is a public association in the Roman Catholic Church. It is made up of Fraternities at different levels, i.e., local, regional, national, and international. The OFS is under the universal law of the Church, as well as its own statutes: the Rule, the Constitution, the Ritual, and Franciscan Statutes. The interpretation of the Rule and of the Constitution belongs to the Holy See. The day-to-day interpretation of the Constitution and its application within the Order belongs to the General Chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS). The regional and local fraternities have their own statutes approved by the council of the higher levels. Each fraternity is guided by the an elected minister or president, a council composed of a vice-minister/president, secretary, treasurer and a formation director. The leaders of the fraternity govern according to the Franciscan Rule, the Constitution, and the applicable Statutes. The International Fraternity consists of members of all the Catholic Secular Franciscans fraternities of the world. It has its own juridical character within the Church. The International Fraternity is guided by the Minister or President with the International Council (CIOFS) that has its seat in Rome, Italy.
Secular Franciscans, once professed, commit themselves to live the Gospel according to Franciscan spirituality in their own secular state. Secular Franciscans personally and diligently study the Gospel and Sacred Scripture to encourage love for the word of the Gospel. They propose to live in the spirit of continual conversion by listening to and celebrating the Word of God, attending retreats and penitential celebrations, listening to and following the advice of their spiritual advisor, and pledging themselves to live the spirit of the Beatitudes. They embody taking "The Gospel to Life and Life to the Gospel."
Secular Franciscans, as followers of Jesus Christ in the manner of St Francis, embrace his love of nature, the environment, of peace and justice. St. Francis is known as the Patron of Ecology, as such, Franciscans recognize God in His creation. Secular Franciscans value the dignity of the human person, oppose discrimination of every form, do not believe in the exploitation of any living thing. They promote the building of fraternity among all people. They are dedicated to creating just conditions of life for all, and work for all people to be free.
There are two Secular Franciscan Fraternities in San Antonio. The St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity meets at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, a Franciscan parish, at 1321 El Paso St. On the south side of San Antonio is the San Jose Fraternity at the San Jose Mission.

St Clare of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi

Pax eT Bonum

Paz y Bien

Peace and All Good

We look forward to meeting you!

Please contact us at: sfoasainfo@gmail.com or you may fill out the form below. Se habla español.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

We meet at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 1 pm.