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History

The preaching of St. Francis, as well as his example, exercised such a powerful attraction on people that many married men and women wanted to join the First or the Second Order, but this being incompatible with their state of life, Francis found a middle way and gave them a rule animated by the Franciscan spirit. In the composition of this rule St. Francis was assisted by his friend Cardinal Ugolino di Conti, (later Pope Gregory IX). As to the place where the Third Order was first introduced nothing certain is known.

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The Rule

The earliest Rule was found in the Guarnacci Library in Volterra. This primitive document is known as the Earlier Exhortation, or the Earlier Version, of "The Letter to All the Faithful" and was likely composed before 1215. An expanded version, the Later Exhortation, was completed by about 1220. Both have been established as having been composed by Francis. Both documents call the lay faithful to a life of penance, i.e., of turning away from sin and toward God.

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Spirituality

Francis's spirituality was simply to "observe the Gospel."  Pope Pius XII stated in 1956:  "There is, then, a Franciscan doctrine in accordance with which God is holy, is great, and above all, is good, indeed the supreme Good. For in this doctrine, God is love. He lives by love, creates for love, becomes flesh and redeems, that is, he saves and makes holy, for love.

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About us

The Saint Francis de Sales Fraternity in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA is a community of Catholic men and women who belong to the Secular Franciscan Order (Latin: Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis, post-nominal abbr. O.F.S.; also called the Third Order Secular).  The Secular Franciscans seek to pattern their lives after Christ in the spirit of Francis of Assisi.  Secular Franciscans are tertiaries or members of the Third Order of Saint Francis founded by Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.

Saint of the Day

  • Feb. 21 Optional Memorial of St. Peter Damian, bishop and doctor, Opt. Mem.
    St. Peter Damian, a man of vehemence in all his actions who was brought up in the hard school of poverty, found that he had the vocation of a reformer. He exercised it in the first place against himself as one of the hermits of Fontavellana in about 1035, but he did not remain for long hidden in his cell: his colleagues soon made him their abbot (1043). In 1057, Stephen IX made him Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. By his preaching and writings he was one of the valuable collaborators of the eleventh century popes in their great work of reform. Pope Leo XII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1823. His feast is celebrated on February 23 according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.