Conversion was an integral value in both Francis and Clare’s lives as they moved beyond the status quo of their times and founded two great religious communities: the Friars Minor and the Poor Ladies. Born into wealth, Francis and Clare each were compelled to divest themselves of anything that would lead them away from Christ. They did this by following in the foot prints of Jesus. This entailed a profound conversion—a complete surrender of their lives to God and God’s service!
Prayer is the fundamental value in a Franciscan’s life—prayer that flows from the depths of an inner life. For Francis and Clare all of life was rooted in prayer: ministry, community, solitude and silence, joy and pain. Embracing this value, we are called to love, honor, adore, serve, praise, bless, and glorify God in our lives.
Poverty for Francis and Clare was a mirror image of Jesus’ poverty because Jesus had “nowhere to lay his head.” Thus, we are called to live our complete dependence on God through identifying with people around us who are poor, living a simple lifestyle and sharing all things in common. Our poverty extends beyond material poverty to an “attitude of the heart.” Embracing this attitude we strive to identify with the needs of the poor ones in our world and share our gifts, talents, ideas, resources and prayer life with them.
Minority in the times of Francis and Clare referred to a socio-economic status. Although born into wealth, each of these great saints made a conscious decision to become one of the minores (the lesser ones). Each had a keen awareness of “God’s little ones”—those who are marginalized, oppressed, helpless and unwanted—and actively reached out to them in loving service. Today, we are called to no less—to search out the “lesser ones” in our midst and live our lives in solidarity with them.
The Rule of Life and the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. (1982, 1997). American-English Commentary written by Margaret Carney, OSF and Thaddeus Horgan, SA. Washington, DC: Franciscan Federation