WHAT WE DO
"The Lord granted me, Brother Francis, to begin to do penance in this way: While I was in sin, it seemed very bitter to me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I had mercy upon them. And when I left them that which seemed bitter to me was changed into sweetness of soul and body; and afterward I lingered a little and left the world."
The Testament of St. Francis
THE FRANCISCAN WAY
Sometimes, Religious Orders are categorized as being either "Active" or "Contemplative." Like many Franciscan orders, we try to live a "middle way" life, balanced between the life of Contemplation and the life of Action. Our own Principles describe this in terms of three ways of service:
The pattern of our life is built around the daily "offices" or prayer services that we share together: Morning, Midday, Evening, and Night Prayer. Whenever possible, we share in the Eucharist together daily as well. Our life includes times of silence, daily private prayer and meditation, and community quiet days, retreats, and opportunities for reflection.
The other side of our contemplative life consists of dedicated time for study of the Scriptures, spiritual writings, and various other disciplines of interest to each individual Brother. Novices in particular engage in regular group study of the Bible, Theology, Francis, and Franciscanism, but ongoing learning (whether formal or informal) is never ending for us all.
Since the time of St. Francis himself, Franciscans have lived lives of service to the poor and marginalized. While some of our houses are dedicated to a specific work, each Brother is also encouraged to find ministries that suit his particular gifts and passions. Brothers engage in charitable work, direct service, advocacy and activism, often in partnership with other agencies, parishes, or charities. Those we serve alongside are often populations neglected by others: the poor, homeless, at risk youth, elderly, disabled, mentally ill, dying, ethnic, racial, religious or sexual minorities. We seek to be the incarnate presence of Christ in our communities.
Whew! Sounds busy, doesn't it? We do keep full schedules, but we try to avoid the press of urgency in our daily activity. Those who share our prayers with us may notice that we conduct our liturgies just a bit more quietly and a bit more slowly than most are used to. Similarly, we try to conduct our lives the same way. When the contemplative meets the active, it reminds us: a little quieter, and a little slower.
We also insist on maintaining regular habits of rest and refreshment. The Brothers have one full day "off" from community commitments each week, and are also expected to take an annual individual retreat and a proper vacation (the community sets aside funds for these priorities).
Brothers are encouraged to develop and/or maintain hobbies and creative interests which serve as healthy recreation, and often as forms of ministry, prayer and study in and of themselves!
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Schedules vary from house to house and Brother to Brother, but an ordinary day might look something like this:
Eucharistic Adoration in silence for early risers
Brothers gather in silence for Morning Prayer
Morning Prayer and
Breakfast on your own
Through the morning
Time for individual prayer, study, or projects.
- or -
Formation classes/group study time.
- or -
Individual and group ministries outside of the house.
Lunch on your own
Through the afternoon
Activities as in the morning
Household duties, including preparing the evening meal.
Brothers gather in silence for Evening Prayer.
Evening Prayer and
Dinner as a Community
Night Prayer (Compline)
The remainder of the evening is open for Brothers to socialize or work on other tasks.