What Is The
Purpose And Mission Of The FODC?
Formed to preserve the historic Catholic
Faith as the Anglican Church received it, the purpose of The Franciscan
Order of the Divine Compassion is to build a Community of like-minded
persons who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to
him in body and spirit. At the taking of vows, they surrender their lives
to him and to the service of his people, following closely in the footsteps
and spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through the observance of the Holy
Rule and a firm commitment to the Order's Credenda,
the statement of belief we profess in common.
How Would You
Describe Your Franciscan Way Of Life?
Living according to the form of the
Holy Gospel implies that our mission is to make our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ known and loved everywhere following the examples of Saint Francis
and Saint Clare of Assisi. The proper implementation of this requires adherence
to our Franciscan Way of Life, some of the aspects of which are:
The Charism of Our Franciscan
Way of Life is that the Holy Gospel becomes for us both "Rule" and
Adherence to our vows,
For Third Order Tertiaries
(FODC), this means adherence to the promises of Simplicity, Purity,
For Oblates of St. Francis
(OSF) this requires adherence to the promises of Simplicity, Purity,
Fidelity and vow of Obedience (the additional vow of Chastity being optional)
For Poor Clares (PSC) and
(FODC) the religious vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience are required
Exemplifying the Three Characteristics
of the Order: humility, love, and joy being the three notes marking
the lives of our members. Briefly stated,
confesses that we have nothing that we have not received and admits of
our insufficiency and our dependence upon God. Showing the humility of
Christ, we welcome any opportunity for humble service that may come our
way, not looking for any recognition or praise.
meaning love for God and our neighbor that is measured by self-sacrifice.
Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just
as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone
will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Rejoicing in the Lord always, our members are expected to show in their
lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. Mixing freely with all people
and carrying within ourselves an inner peace and happiness, we are ready
to help bind up the brokenhearted, and to bring joy into the lives of others.
The implementation of The Three
Ways of Service. Jesus, the Master, took upon himself the form of a
servant, coming not to be ministered unto, but to be a minister. He went
about doing good, healing the sick, preaching good tidings to the poor,
binding up the broken-hearted. We too, must go and do likewise, by striving
to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve through prayer,
study and work. In the life of the Order as a whole these "three ways
of service" must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not
to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them.
Each member's service varies according to his or her abilities and circumstances,
and yet each member's personal rule of life includes each of these three
ways of service.
Taking into consideration the
different lifestyles lived by Friars, Poor Clares, Oblates of St. Francis
and Third Order Tertiaries, Franciscan spirituality is founded upon the
poor and crucified Jesus Christ. The Franciscan way of life may therefore
be contemplative or actively given to apostolic works pursued consistently
with the demands of the times and the varying gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Patterned after the Life of St. Francis, this is concretely expressed in
the fraternal relationship of brother and sister closely modeled on the
word of the gospel.
Must Each Member Of The FODC Subscribe To One Common Statement of Belief?
In Chapter 19 of his First Rule of Life,
the Regula Non Bullata, St. Francis required that "All the brethren
must be Catholics, living and speaking as Catholics. If anyone has wandered
from the faith and the Catholic life in speech or in deed and has not amended
himself, he is to be completely expelled from our fraternity." Thus, the
rule St. Francis produced for his Order demanded that each aspirant thereto
give evidence of whole-hearted acceptance of the Catholic religion. Then,
as now, many of those whom the Church might rightly expect to be her chief
supporters were disloyal or disaffected through unbelief or worldliness.
All such are likely to stir up controversy. It is obvious that a religious
order needs unity, and one great means of this is coherence in the faith.
Thus, in obedience to the prescriptions of the Franciscan Rules and in
imitation of the practice of some other Anglican Religious Communities,
Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion has drawn up a Credenda or
statement of belief to which permanent adherence is required of each one
of our members as an ongoing condition of membership in this Order.
What Is The FODC's
Position Regarding The Many Changes Made To The Historic Doctrine, Ministry,
And Morality Of The Episcopal Church In The United States, And In Some
Other Parts Of The World-Wide Anglican Communion?
Realizing that following Jesus often
requires moral behavior that runs contrary to the prevailing culture of
the times, our religious order rejects the widespread attempts within the
Anglican Communion and elsewhere to re-create Christianity in order to
accommodate contemporary fashions. We remain loyal to the traditional faith
of the Catholic Creeds and the Ecumenical Councils, the Apostolic Ministry
of male Bishops and Priests, and traditional Christian Biblical morality.
We affirm the text of the 1998 Lambeth
Conference of Bishops' resolution on human sexuality. In keeping
with that resolution, we affirm that God loves all persons, regardless
of sexual orientation. However, we uphold faithfulness in marriage between
a man and a woman and believe that abstinence (chastity) is right for those
who are not called to marriage. We cannot sanction or bless same sex unions,
life partners, or active homosexual lifestyles, nor can we approve ordaining
What is the position of the FODC
on the issue of women's ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of the
In keeping with the testament of our Seraphic Patriarch and the
Founder of the Franciscan religious movement, Blessed Francis of Assisi,
Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion from its very foundation
has consistently held to the historic and traditional understanding of
the sacraments and ministry of the Church. At present, the Eastern Orthodox
Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and much of the Anglican Church still
hold to the historic and traditional position of the ordination of only
men to the Sacred Priesthood. Anglican traditionalists therefore, in keeping
with the vast majority of Catholic Christendom, are obliged to continue
to profess belief in the historic Catholic Ministry as it has been received,
until such time as the universal church's mind is changed through Catholic
consent on this matter. However, since we cannot be sure that this is not
God's will, in our denial let us do so with charity and brotherhood.
Consistently with the Freedom
Of Conscience clause of the 1998 Lambeth Conference's resolution
Unity of the Anglican Communion, we furthermore believe that
there is and should be no compulsion on any bishop in matters concerning
ordination or licensing and repudiate the taking of any action against
bishops who in conscience cannot ordain women to Holy Orders.
What Is The Place
Given To Holy Scripture In The Life Of The FODC?
As stated in our Credenda, "We believe
that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary
to salvation and are the basis of authority in matters of faith, order
and morals in the Church. We accept them according to that sense which
the Catholic Church has held and does hold them, to whom alone it appertains
to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; neither
will we ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the consentient
teaching of the ancient Fathers and the undivided Church."
We should always bear in mind that
neither the Church without the Bible, nor the Bible without the One, Holy,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is a guide upon which we can confidently
Who Can Become
A Member Of The FODC?
The Franciscan Order
of the Divine Compassion, seeks to reach across the many divides in the Anglican
Communion in outreach, and is open to otherwise qualified laypersons or
clergy who are baptized and confirmed members in good standing of any
Anglican Church Province or of a Continuing Anglican Church with valid
Vocational Opportunities Are Presently Available To Members Of The FODC?
We presently have members who are:
Non-Conventual Oblates of St.
Francis (single and married men and women under the religious promises of Simplicity, Fidelity, Purity, and vow of Obedience (the additional vow of Chastity being optional);
Third Order Tertiaries
(single and married men and women under the religious promises
of Simplicity, Fidelity, and Purity); and
are associates of the Order not under promises or vows.
religious states are thus different ways of experiencing a more intimate
consecration that has been rooted in Baptism and dedicated to God who is
loved above all, following the pathway to complete holiness of life after
the pattern of our Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi. Working for
the sanctification of the world, we commit ourselves to sacred bonds and
observe among ourselves the communion and fellowship appropriate to our
particular secular way of pursuing the "religious life". We remain open
to the possible future establishment of a First Order of Friars and a Second
Order of Poor Clare Nuns "living in community", as God may direct.
Does The FODC Have
A Formal Training Program?
Yes we do. The present formation
process consists of a postulancy and novitiate that must be successfully
completed prior to achieving Holy Profession in the Order. The over-all
time involved from his or her first entrance into the Order as a Postulant,
until the time arrives to take Holy Profession vows is generally about
26 - 30 months, (a postulancy of approximately 6 months, and a novitiate
of approximately 20 - 24 months). These formations are generally handled
by means of correspondence with the Postulant or Novice. The filing of
monthly reports is also required.
Normally, six months or more after
his or her initial acceptance into the postulancy, and upon proper completion
of all required lessons, the Postulant may request "clothing" (investiture)
as a Novice. When the Postulant is admitted to the novitiate, the first
definite step in the Franciscan life is taken. He or she is "clothed" (invested
with the Habit) and given a "Religious Name" by which (s)he is to be known
in the Order.
Since it is upon "clothing" that
the Novice becomes a true Franciscan, he or she is under obedience, so
far as the Rule and other documents of the Order ordain, to The Franciscan
Order of the Divine Compassion. As a member of the family and sharing
in the life of the Franciscan household, they come under the direction
of the head of that household in those matters which are defined by the
Rule, Constitution, Statutes, Credenda and other regulations of the Order.
During the novitiate, the Novice
shall pursue the course of training and formation prescribed by their formation
director(s), and shall file such reports as may be required by the Order.
A Novice ready for profession will
have demonstrated his or her vocation by perseverance in the rule and way
of St. Francis, the stability of persevering love, especially within the
life of the Community; and some indication of the stabilizing virtue of
humility, - the ability to accept others and himself or herself with grace
All true Franciscan rules command
that each person desiring to enter the Order shall be examined as to whether
they accept the whole of the Catholic Faith. To facilitate the observance
of this command of St. Francis, The Franciscan Order of the Divine
Compassion has adopted a "Credenda" or statement of belief. Since
the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion is one spiritual family within
the larger relationship of God's Church and lives under Rules expressing
the same ideals, and shares in the same devotions, it is necessary before
all things that they be bound together by unity of belief in "the
Faith once for all delivered to the Saints" that they may be both of one
mind and one heart. Therefore, before being admitted to Holy Profession
in the Order, each Novice is also required to give written evidence of
their belief in and firm commitment to "The Credenda", in the form established
by the Order.
The novitiate usually lasts for two
years, but may be extended beyond that time if the Order requires. After
the novitiate has been successfully served and the Novice has met all of
the prerequisites, the Novice may be admitted to Holy Profession.
How Is The FODC
The center of unity in The
Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion is our Minister-General,
the superior general of the Order. Obedience to him as the administrator-in-chief
of the affairs of the Order, the executor of its Rule, Constitution, Statutes,
Credenda (our Statement of Belief), and form of Government, and the chief
spiritual director of the Order's members is the means whereby union and
unity is maintained. But it is impossible for the Minister-General, even
though according to the Rule established by St. Francis he is minister
and servant of all, like our Lord, to minister in person to each individual
member of the Order; therefore, he must delegate his authority to others
who give pastoral care as his deputies. Those who govern the Order do so
according to written laws of the Order, so that all, those who obey and
those who govern, are under obedience. Furthermore, the Minister-General
is assisted by a Council of Advice known as the Discretorium, and to their
vote many things must be submitted according to the Franciscan observance
of Religion. In back of the Minister-General and his Discretorium is the
General Chapter. It is by the General Chapter that the Minister-General
is elected for life, (until his resignation, disability, death or retirement),
and the office put upon him by obedience.
Do The Members
Of The FODC Take A Religious Name And Wear A Religious Habit?
Our members wear two different forms
of religious habit. The "Little Habit", consists of a small scapular and
cord, and is worn beneath the street clothing unless the "Greater Habit"
is being worn. The Greater Habit varies according to one's stage and/or
category of membership in the Order. Generally, the Greater Habit consists
of a Franciscan style robe, a cord with the three-fold vows represented
by three knots, a full-length brown Scapular, and in some instances depending
upon whether one is a brother or sister, a capuche or caprone is worn. (Once,
the Oblate sisters
wore a veil, and for some this remains an option.) Professed
members of the Order also wear a "Tau" Cross bearing the image of our crucified
Lord. Some of our members can be seen wearing the Greater Habit by referring
to the several pictures displayed on our web site's "picture page". Our
members select religious names, when (s)he becomes a Novice in the Order.
Where Can I Find
More Information On The Rule And Life Of The FODC?
For further information regarding
vocational opportunities in The Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion,
you are invited to contact:
Br. Philip Francis, OSF, Secretary-General
Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion
149 Van Dyke Drive
Canton IL 61520-1152 USA
We will be happy to respond to your
questions about the Order.
Adopted: June 29, 1999
Revised: October 10, 2002
Updated: October 11, 2005
Updated: January 29, 1013