WHO WE ARE
"The object, therefore, of the First Order, is to build up a body of men and women who, accepting Christ as their Lord and Master, will seek to follow him in the way of renunciation and sacrifice as an act of witness and for the loving service of his brothers and sisters in the world."
The Principles, SSF
“Wait, there are Episcopal Franciscans?”
It’s one of the most common questions we are asked (following “Are you guys real?” and “What do you wear under the robes?” … seriously, people ask that all the time). Vowed Religious life within the Episcopal/Anglican tradition is unfortunately an all-too-well kept secret. And while Anglican religious orders are, and always have been, much smaller than our Roman Catholic counterparts, we are convinced God has a vital role for us to play in the church today.
Monasticism, and vowed religious orders generally, were purged from the Church of England during the course of the English Reformation, and did not return until the mid-1800’s. Our own order began in the US in 1919, when Father Joseph Crookston founded what was then the Order of St Francis in Merrill, Wisconsin. The Society of St. Francis was founded in England a few years later, and the two merged in 1968, forming what is today the American Province of the Society of St. Francis.
We are a canonically recognized religious order in the Episcopal Church USA, and part of a worldwide order of Brothers and Sisters living in community and dispersed. Our family of orders includes our Brothers of the Society of St. Francis, the Sisters of the Community of St. Francis, the Sisters of the Community of St. Clare (in England), and the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis.
As Brothers of the Society of St. Francis, we live together in a community guided and inspired by the life and witness of St. Francis of Assisi and his unique and radical response to the Gospel. We embrace traditional vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, and seek to be a visible presence of the love and compassion of God for all people.
As we approach our 100th anniversary in this Province, we are committed to renewing and ever re-imagining our role in the Franciscan community worldwide, in the church, and in our communities. Francis called his Brothers “Minores” … little ones or lesser ones. Though our Society is small in numbers, we trust God to use us as lesser ones to serve the kingdom, and especially those on the margins of modern life and society.
We join more than 800 years of Franciscan history in offering the blessing of “Pax et bonum” –Peace and all good –to all of Creation.
Father Joseph Crookston founded the Order of St Francis in the USA in 1919. OSF merged with the English SSF in 1968.
SSF in the Americas is part of the Episcopal Church, USA.
SSF has Brothers worldwide in England, Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, and the United States.
The Brothers live under vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We hold all property in common, remain unmarried, and share common responsibility for major decisions and the direction of the community.