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Franciscan Order


A Brief History:

The Order, formerly known as Franciscan Third Order, was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209 for married people and secular priests. Earlier in 1208 he had founded the First Order for men religious. In 1212 the second Order had came into existence with Clare of Assisi as a cloistered congregation for women religious. The Rule for the First Order received approval of Popes in 1209, 1221 and 1223. The Third Order Rule was approved by Pope Honorius in 1221 and the Rule of the second Order was approved by Pope Innocent IV in 1245.
Founding of the Third Order was not pre-planned by Francis. The idea sprouted when Lucacia a rich man and his wife Bonadona, having no issues, approached the Saint with the request that they should be guided to live a life a penance. They were much attracted by the lives of Francis & Clare. The saint had not given thought till that day about a religious life for married people. It was unthinkable to correlate family life with religious way of life.

At that time some people used to gather to pray and to perform acts of charity. But none of such groups were guided by a rule of life approved by the Holy See. Lucacia and Belladona were an inspiration to Francis. He became deeply involved in founding a new Order. Cardinal Ugolini expressed his willingness to help Francis to found the Order. It was this Cardinal Ugolini who later became Pope Gregory IX and declared Francis a saint in 1228.

A life style incorporating values of religious life into family was envisaged by the Saint through the Third Order. The indispensable requirements of religious life like Poverty, Chastity & Obedience, although not explicitly imposed on the members of the Order, influenced this life style.


In 1978 while granting approval for a revised rule Pope Paul VI named the Order Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). It is an Order because it is governed by a rule approved by the Holy See and General constitutions, Ritual and Statutes approved by the congregation for religious and Secular Institutes and minister generals of the First Order & TOR and the General Chapters of the SFO.

The SFO is spread over many countries of the World. It is divided into fraternities of various levels, local, regional, national and International. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of the Rule and the Constitutions.

Formal admission to the Order is done through a ceremony of vestition followed by one year of formation. After this a member can make his/her temporary profession to live evangelical life. This is a serious commitment performed through a solemn ceremony. When this commitment is repeated for two more years, they become perpetually professed.

The First Order and the Third Order Regular Franciscan major superiors are entrusted with the Spiritual care of the SFO. These Superiors either give Spiritual assistance directly or through their delegates
The International fraternity of the Order has its head quarters in Rome .
Address :

Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis ,Consilum Internationale

Via Pomponia Grecina 31 ,00145 Rome , Italy

Web Site :

E-mail :


Tel. & Fax +39-06-9727 0312
Present Minister General Mrs. Encarnancion Del Pozo

The National Fraternity of the Order has its official headquarters at Franciscan Institute of Spirituality India, Bangalore .

The Present national Minister is John P. Fernandez from the diocese of Quilon.

Address :

Paceline, Puthenvayal, Tillery ,Kollam �691 001, Kerala

Tel.(R) 0474 �2742630 ,Tel. (Off. & Fax) �0474 �2762205

e-mail �

SFO in the Diocese of Quilon : The Order was founded at St. Antony's friary Tillery in 1934. we have around 750 professed members in the diocese. Recently the diocesan council has been devided into 4 regions, namely, Kanjiracode, Tillery, Sakthikulangara and Kovilthottam. Total number of local fraternities are 37. Each region is governed by a regional president with the assistance of Regional Councils. The present regional Presidents are:

Kanjiracode: P. Yesudasan, St. Peter's Bhavan, Padappakkara, Kollam

Tillery: Henry M. Alphonse, Susan Villa, Tillery, Kollam

Sakthikulangara: L. Andrews Kuruviparambil, Kavanad P.O., Kollam

Kovilthottam: Prof. Noreen Fernandez, Love Dale, Karithura, Chavara, Kollam

Spiritual Assistance is given by Fr. Albert Koiparambil Ofm. Cap., St. Antony's Friary, Tillery, Kollam
Activities of the fraternities :

Each member of the SFO is encouraged to live a life of testimony in accordance with his/her call prompting Franciscan Charisms of Poverty, simplicity & holiness. They practice moderation in everything in their personal lives and continue to serve the family and society in the light of Gospel values. They take upon themselves as a fraternity to witness to the teaching of Jesus Christ to care for the unwanted, poor and the marginalized like the lepers, Aid patients etc. Their financial help extends to windows, children and girls for marriage. In which ever parish the SFO is existing, the members cooperate in serving the local church physically and financially. They also work through the Basic Christian communities for the development of the Parish. The SFO of the Diocese has a poor Fund from which regular help is given to the Poorest.

© 2005 ++ Quilon Diocese++. All rights reserved

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