Our Life - Franciscans of Life - Vita ad Vitam Vocat
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Vita ad Vitam Vocat

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Our Life

Regular Brothers Extern Brothers Attire
 

Founded in 2009 by a widowed father of two and former Capuchin friar, the community strives to proclaim the Gospel of Life in the manner of St. Francis of Assisi and to do penance in atonement for those who embrace the culture of death.

We attempt to replicate that brotherhood that grew up around Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century, where regular and extern brothers met to follow the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance written by Saint Francis. While all of the Franciscans of Life are lay and secular, the fraternity uses the term “extern” to identify brothers who are husbands, fathers, and single men wishing to marry, and the term “regular” to identify brothers of common life who are celibate, in private vows, and live in community.

The Franciscans of Life make a covenant to live the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance and the constitutions of the society.  Every brother, celibate, single, or married is a full member of the fraternity.  Therefore, each one binds himself to observe obedience to the Church and the superior of the fraternity, to live a life of detachment from material things and temporal honors, and to persevere in chastity in the celibate, single, or married life.

The invisible dimension of our life is penance. Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, private prayer, fasting and abstinence are the guiding lights for the brothers. Fraternity is a hallmark of Franciscan tradition.  Therefore, the brothers look to Christ and the apostles and endeavor to follow that model of fraternal life and service.

Common prayer, sharing, openness to each other, our families, and support for each other along the journey toward the perfection of charity are the means by which the brothers sanctify their lives and the lives of those they touch.  

Like Saint Francis and the first generation Franciscans, the Franciscans of Life look to the Trinity for guidance and example in community, intimacy, love, unity and holiness. Entrusted to the Immaculate, under the example of our patrons and in faithful obedience to the successor of Peter and the local bishop, the brothers learn to live under the mantle of the "Virgin made Church" and to uphold the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

 

Regular Brothers

The regular brothers live in community under the guidance of a superior known as guardian. They make private vows of obedience, poverty and chastity and are celibate for life. 

None of the brothers owns anything individually or in common.  They rent their home, share their material resources, and work to provide for their material needs as prescribed by Saint Francis in his Testament.  When the income is not enough, the brothers beg as did the early Franciscans.

The daily life of these brothers is comprised of prayer, apostolic service to the voiceless, study, and labor that generates enough income to support the brothers and their work for the poor.

Under the guidance and encouragement of their guardian, the brothers strive to live the present moment as a family where brother serves brother as Christ served the apostles when he washed their feet at the Last Supper.  These brothers spend a great deal of time together at prayer, work, ministry, study, recreation and rest. 

 

Extern Brothers

The extern brothers live in the secular world, but are not of the world.  They are husbands, fathers, and single men.  The fraternity is also open to deacons and diocesan priests who have the permission of their bishop to join.

These brothers hold typical jobs in the world and belong to different parishes in the Archdiocese.  However, they come together with each other and the regular brothers at the weekly family meeting, liturgical functions, prayer, and apostolic activities.

Those who are husbands and fathers include their spouses and children in as many of the fraternal activities as possible.  In this way, the Franciscan spirit is carried into the family and the family is embraced by the fraternity.

 

Attire

In proposing the attire of the Franciscans of Life, we went back to early Franciscan tradition. We found that Clare and Francis were practical.  Not only did they try to make use of whatever wool was the cheapest, but they were also very conscientious about working conditions.  Although the brothers are men of penance, this does not mean that we be unreasonable.  Penance does not have to be a torture in order to please God. Francis and Clare gave us an example of dress that set them apart as poor and part of a family. The tunic and cord were the constant.  Today, the Tau is the constant.  

Our clothing must be simple enough to avoid all appearances of extravagance, wealth or luxury. It should be practical according to culture and climate. Subdued enough so as not to call negative attention to the brother. Over the heart, every Franciscan of Life wears the Tau just as St. Francis drew it on his habit when he first learned of its meaning.

Aspirants - whether they are interested in the regular or extern life - wear grey slacks, a blue or white polo in honor of Our Lady or a white button down shirt, tucked inside their pants.  They are to wear a Tau pin on the left wing of the collar, not a pendant.

Postulants are to wear a white "Guayabera" shirt with the grey slacks, along with a wooden Tau pendant with a brown string. The brown string is exchanged for a red string upon entering novitiate as an outward sign of his desire for transformation to the new man, liberated by the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The postulant who is a regular brother would receive a tunic, scapular, and belt. Upon entering novitiate, he replaces the belt with a cord, as a reminder that he be willing to be led like a sheep to the altar of sacrifice, as Christ was led. 

Upon profession, both the regular and the extern brothers exchange the wooden Tau for a bronze Tau as a sign of the permanency of their commitment.

The white shirt, grey slacks, and the Tau are the official work garb of the men in formation for both the regular and the extern life.  

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