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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

  • Oct. 17 Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr, Memorial
    St. Ignatius is one of the great bishops of the early Church. He was the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death by wild beasts during the Emperor Trajan's persecution. On his way to Rome, he wrote seven magnificent letters, which we still have today, concerning the Person of Christ, his love for Christ, his desire for martyrdom and on the constitution of the Church and Christian life. His sentiments before his approaching martyrdom are summed in his word in the Communion antiphon, "I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread."