The mission of the Conventual Franciscans, and our particular Order of Saint Francis, Old Catholic (OSFoc), is to give witness to the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through an intentional and dedicated manner of living our life together as a community of Friars. We follow St. Francis of Assisi by living the out the Gospel through prayer, fraternity, and ministry. Through fraternity as a community we center our lives on Jesus, witnessing a joyful presence of hope and salvation to all in the world, especially to the poor (in all aspects of poverty). By living the Gospel in our community, we preach through our very lives and attempt to repair the brokenness found within the house of God, the Church. We do not claim to be holy or perfect, just dedicated to making life better and praying for peace.
Our founder, St. Francis, was given a mission from God while praying before the San Damiano Cross. Jesus, speaking from the Cross, told Francis to, “Go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” Francis, responding to the Lord, and begs for stones to repair the ruined Chapel of San Damiano. Francis fervently sought to know and respond to Jesus. Soon the Lord gave Francis more brothers to join him in his mission to ‘repair the Church’ through passionately knowing Jesus and living His message, the Gospel. He learned that it was not just the physicality of the Church that needed repair, but the people, too. The profound, yet simple insight of St. Francis, and the friars that followed, was to live the Gospel, the teaching and actions of Jesus, today in our world in a manner that would attract others to the call to serve.
The rule of the Order of all Friars Conventual is to observe the Holy Gospel by living in obedience, service, and charity. The living Gospel breaths new life into the Church. The Franciscans were not founded for any other mission than to live out the Gospel as we have found that our ministry flows from our intentional prayer and fraternity. St. Francis said to the friars before he died: “I have done what is my part to do, May Christ show you yours.” Therefore, all Franciscans, no matter the Order, reach out to the poor and marginalized in our world, bringing the Good News of God’s Love in Christ Jesus.
Franciscans live their mission of rebuilding the house of God in today’s world in a variety of ways through serving the Catholic Church as missionaries, scholars, educators, artists, composers, chaplains, confessors, lawyers, laborers, cooks, social workers, campus chaplains, parish priests, school administrators, and advocates for the poor, the lost, and marginalized.
The traditional outfit (or uniform) of a Franciscan is called a “habit”. Although the wearing of a habit is not an essential element of religious life, it seems to be important to many people today. The Franciscan habit is a simple long brown (or grey) gown with a detached “capuch” (hood) and a white, knotted wool cord. The cord has three knots symbolizing the three religious vows of Poverty, Charity, and Obedience. Our order uses the traditional Conventual Habit, in brown fabric, to distinguish itself from other orders.