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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Franciscans of Primitive Observance - Community and Vocations Information

The information included in their tri-fold brochure is as follows:
Vocation Director
Franciscans of Primitive Observance
Co-Redemptrix Friary
30 Trinity St.
Lawrence, MA 01841-2644


St. Francis of Assisi lived the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ in a radical and courageous way. He captured this way in the Rule of Life which the Lord have him. Toward the end of his life, St. Francis stated in his Testament that his brothers should live the Rule "simply, plainly, and without gloss."

As the Order grew, some embraced relaxations for the sake of higher studies or apostolic work. This legitimate development of a modern observance has borne much good fruit. However, from the beginning, there have always been those called to a strict, or "primitive" observance of the Rule. The Capuchin reform of the 16th century is the classic example of such movements.

Our community of priests and brothers was formed with the conviction that the Holy Spirit is calling us to wholeheartedly embrace a strict observance of the Rule of St. Francis. We began in January, 1995 under the auspices of Bishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. We are again under his jurisdiction in the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Second Vatican Council called for religious institutes to return to their "primitive inspiration, ... The spirit and aim of each founder should be faithfully accepted and retained" (Perfectae Caritatis, 2). Such is our intent.

We are inspired and guided by the heroic early Capuchin reformers and their Constitutions of 1536. Like them we propose to observe St. Francis' Testament, and take his words and example as sure guides of discernment. By the grace of God we hope to imitate these holy men, who so captured the heart of our Seraphic Father, who so captured the Heart of Jesus Christ.

This way of life is first of all one of radical poverty in imitation of, and union with, Christ Crucified. By this we witness to His Kingdom and the Father's Love, which provides for all of our needs. In addition, we give priority to contemplative prayer, as St. Francis did, and to a life of penance, fraternity, minority, and manual labor. The silent testimony of a holy life of total renunciation, for the "one thing necessary" is our primary apostolate.

At the time of profession each friar vows to live "in total consecration to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, in obedience, without property and in chastity." Our Marian vow of total consecration therefore governs our entire religious life. Union with Our Lady is our path to holiness.

The community is governed by traditional religious obedience, including unswerving loyalty to our Holy Father the Pope and all Church Teaching. The Holy Eucharist is the center and source of our life.


· Strive for immediate and total dependence on Divine Providence both communally and individually.

· Only those items will be kept which are strictly necessary (i.e., no TV, stereos, computers, musical instruments, washing machine, refrigerator, telephones, etc...)

· Travel is by walking, hitchhiking, public transportation or begging for rides. No air travel for the apostolate or ownership of cars.

· As far as possible, money is not accepted or used. No bank account is held individually or communally.

· Brothers are sent out to beg or work for food and supplies.

· No item may be kept for the apostolate that we would not have for ourselves. Buildings may not be established for apostolic work.


2:00 AM Office of Readings

6:30 Morning Prayer

7:00-8:00 Mental Prayer

8:00 Holy Mass

12:00 Noon Midday Prayer

4:45 PM Evening Prayer

5:00-6:00 Eucharistic Adoration

9:00 Night Prayer

9:15 Holy Rosary

· A respectful silence is kept in the friary apart from breakfast and dinner in order to cultivate an atmosphere of prayer.

· Fridays are set aside as a strict day of prayer, silence, and solitude.

· All friars go regularly to remote mountain hermitages for periods of solitude and recollection

· The various communal fasting requirements include a bread and beverage fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and no eating between meals.


Without any material means of his own, St. Francis zealously sought to spread the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ by preaching and caring for lepers and the poor. Likewise, the early Capuchins were noted for evangelical preaching and generous service to plague victims. Herein lies the model of our apostolic mission in the Church today.

Thus we seek to evangelize through parish missions, youth and other retreats, hearing confessions, spiritual direction, door-to-door evangelization and catechetical instruction. We also strive to serve those in need by pro-life work, food distribution, visiting the sick, elderly and imprisoned, and assisting at existing shelters, soup kitchens and hospices.


Michael said...

I am trying to reach the Very Reverend John Sweeney FPO. I am Dr. Michael Henry of Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center. Please have him or someone call me at 508 878 3647. My email is michael.henry@caritaschristi.org

Thank you and God bless

Eric Darpel said...

Br. James is an inspirational figure every time he comes to visit Cincinnati (Old Saint Mary's parish). His ability to talk to children, his strict observance of poverty, his assertive yet compassionate attitude, and his love of the Blessed Sacrament are very reminiscent of what I imagined the first disciples of St. Francis must have looked like. I love this branch of the capuchins.