Order of Franciscans Secular: The Most Holy Stigmata Fraternity, OFS

The Order of Franciscans Secular, one of the three orders established by St. Francis, is open to Roman Catholic men and women, single or married. (See Eligibility.) As stated in our Rule: In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church, by living from gospel to life and life to gospel.

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Contact Information

( 1-800) FRANCIS: General information or location of a fraternity near you.

Most Holy Stigmata Fraternity, OSF
Mount Alvernia Retreat Center
P.O. Box 858
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
(845) 297-5706

Call (845) 223-3641 or e-mail may be sent to the Fraternity Minister: Carol Munger, OSF, at cpmunger@aol.com.

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Information Night

Usually held annually at our May monthly gathering. Each person interested in learning more about the Order of Franciscans Secular and our fraternity and in discerning their vocation is provided a packet of information. Usually a couple of our members speak about their vocation and experience as a Secular Franciscan. Those interested in further inquiry are invited to attend or call (845) 223-3641 or e-mail the Fraternity Minister: Carol Munger, OSF, at cpmunger@aol.com.

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Orientation Meetings

Anyone desiring further information, following the Information Night, is encouraged to attend three monthly Orientation meetings, usually beginning at 6:00 PM prior to our regular monthly gatherings in June, July, and August. During these meetings, they will receive further information about our Order and fraternity, as well as the Formation process, should they desire to continue. We emphasize that no obligation to become a Secular Franciscan is incurred during the Initial Formation period, which is a time for discerning whether God is calling the person to the Secular Franciscan way of life.

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To be admitted to the OSF in the United States, a person must be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church (i.e., having received the Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation/Confirmation and Holy Eucharist) in addition to being an actively practicing Catholic. The minimum age for Perpetual Profession is twenty-one years. The minimum age for Temporary Profession is eighteen years.

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Secular Franciscan formation is a life-long process consisting of two portions, Initial formation and On-Going formation. Initial formation consists of Orientation (at least three months, from Information Night to the Introduction and Welcoming Ceremony), Inquiry (at least six months, Introduction and Welcoming to Admission Ceremony), and Candidacy (at least eighteen and not more than thirty-six months, Admission to Profession). All persons in Initial formation, in addition to attending their formation sessions, must participate in all activities of the fraternity, as this is an indispensable presupposition for initiation into community prayer and into fraternity life.

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Formation Conferences

Formation conferences are held at least three Sundays a year from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, as an integral part of our Initial and On-Going formation programs. These consist of a presentation on the subject matter of the conference (e.g., one or more of the Admonitions of St. Francis), small group discussion periods, and a "wrap-up" session.

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Monthly Gatherings

Regular monthly gatherings of the fraternity are held, usually on the fourth Thursday of the month, beginning at 7:15 PM, in the Mount Alvernia Chapel. The gatherings usually begin with Holy Mass, followed by the fraternal gathering. Exceptions are: the gathering during Lent begins with Stations of the Cross; Information Night begins with the Franciscan Crown rosary; and during July and August there is no gathering following Mass.

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Annual Retreat

Our annual retreat is usually held during October and is open to all Secular Franciscans, including those in Initial Formation. The retreat is coordinated by the Formation Committee of the Most Holy Stigmata Fraternity and is based upon the Rule and life of Secular Franciscans, providing participants the opportunity for spiritual growth as Secular Franciscans. Information and registration materials may be obtained by e-mail cpmunger@aol.com or by writing to the minister c/o Mount Alvernia Retreat Center.

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The Troubadour

The fraternity publishes a monthly newsletter, Troubadour, available at our monthly gatherings. For a sample copy or to be added to the e-mail distribution list, e-mail cpmunger@aol.com.

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Secular Franciscans Library

A selection of books and video and audio tapes, most of which are donations by fraternity members, is available to those in Initial Formation and Professed members. Multiple books of the lives of St. Francis and of St. Clare are available for the benefit of those in Initial Formation.

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Franciscan Links

CIOFS - International Fraternity: www.ciofs.org

National Fraternity: www.nafra-sfo.org. Includes: How to become a Secular Franciscan, The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, NAFRA Statutes General Constitutions 2001, and TAU-USA national Newsletter.

Franciscan Websites

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