-------Franciscan Brothers of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary-----(for another glimps at the friars check out http://www.franciscansofbangor.com/) Who We Are... ---We are a diocesian religious community in the Diocese of Maine ---Our Bishop Protector is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Maine ---We are members of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. ---We strive toward continuous conversion. ---We live simply as a sign of our consecration to the Gospel life. ---We are a vowed, non-ordained religious order of men. ---We live simple lives of community and prayer. ---We strive to be "brothers" to those with whom we work. OUR COMMUNAL LIFE... ". . .because God loves us, the Brothers should love one another. . . Let them manifest their love in deeds." (Rule VII:23) The Brothers live together in local houses called friaries. We are called to support each other as brothers, caring for each others' needs with fraternal respect and affection. Our rule challenges us to live simply and in a loving manner. OUR PRAYER LIFE Our life is nurtured by communal prayer and our Rule asks us to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ through private prayer and daily Eucharist. ". . . since the Brothers are to be totally conformed to the Gospel, they should reflect and keep in their hearts the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. " (Rule III:11) For 800 years men and women have been inspired to follow the way of St. Francis of Assisi, joyfully bringing the Gospel message to people of every age and culture. In that spirit, the Franciscan Friars have dedicated themselves to serving the People of God by reaching out to the very poor in our society. Following the popular spirit of St. Francis of Assisi we try to meet people where they are and respond to the genuine needs of the least of the Lord's brothers and sisters. In our Mission Statement we state that, "we are disciples of Christ who seek to bring the Gospel into the everyday experience of all people through popular preaching, teaching and pastoral leadership. We foster Christian discipleship by collaborating with those whom we serve and by standing in solidarity with all people especially the alienated, the immigrant and the poor." Are you being called to be a Franciscan? The Franciscan Friars are men who choose to live a simple life-style in community. It is a life of prayer and service to the church and the world, modeled on the life of St. Francis of Assisi. We take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. We serve as religious brothers in a ministry of presence (we work among the people). Consult the information below to find about the admission process. Who can be a Franciscan Friar? Normally a candidate to our way of life is: a practicing Roman Catholic for at least 3 years realizing that many feel called but, few are truly chosen and he feels a true calling open to learning about the limitations, responsibilities and joys of living a Franciscan religious life committed to living the vows of celibate chastity, poverty and obedience not deterred by hard physical labor for the sake of Christ and His kingdom in love with Jesus with a desire to mature in the spiritual life centered around Him seeking to live, love, disagree, forgive and serve in a Franciscan Family between the ages of 22-38 in good physical and mental health with no police record free of significant financial and family obligations a US Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident a high school graduate or G. E. D. If you can say, "Yes" to these expectations, and you wish to take the next step, contact our Vocation Director. The Admission Process When a man contacts the Franciscan Vocation Director, he is sent literature that may be helpful for him to get to know us as followers of Jesus Christ in the footprints of Saint Francis of Assisi. Within the literature he will find an Information Form. After a man has completed the initial information form, he will be contacted by the Vocation Director. If the man meets our guidelines, he will be invited to join us at our Franciscan community for a weekend of hospitality, prayer, discernment, and fraternity. During a Hospitality Weekend or a Discernment Weekend Retreat, a man can come see how we live, where we minister, and pray with us. During the weekend there is time to meet personally with the Vocation Director and with other friars about our Franciscan life. Following the Hospitality Weekend or Discernment Weekend Retreat, if it is mutually determined that the man should continue to explore a vocation with the friars, he will be invited to attend a Franciscan Experience Weekend (FEW). During the FEW, the man enters into a number of formal conversations with other friars to discuss the vocation journey. The result of this weekend informs the friars and the aspirant if he is able and ready to continue in the application process. The formal application for admission to the province will be given or denied depending on the evaluation of the aspirant during the FEW. Once an aspirant has completed his formal application for admission, his application goes before the community. The friars determines if the aspirant will be admitted to our initial formation program as a postulant. Program of Initial Formation The Program of Initial Formation is a gradual process of personal, spiritual, and ministerial development. During Initial Formation, a candidate is helped to develop his personal character and theological understanding so he will be able to live and work effectively with other men as a Franciscan friar in service to the Church. There are three areas of Initial Formation. Postulancy: For one or two years, a man lives with a friar community and engages in various aspects of its life and work. He will be asked to jump in with both feet when he is offered opportunities for service through ordinary Franciscan ministries within the friary as well as in the world. During this time, the candidate is presented with resources (e.g. workshops, personal advisors) to help him develop the psychological and emotional qualities necessary for religious life and ministry. Novitiate: As a novice, the candidate's goal is to deepen his relationship with Christ. He is introduced more intensely to the Rule of Life of the friars and to the history and traditions of the Franciscan Order. At the conclusion of the novitiate year, the candidate promises to be faithful to his first vows (poverty, chastity, and obedience) as a Franciscan friar. Post-Novitiate: The five years after first profession are spent developing a competence for service to the church in programs of study suitable to the kind of work the friar performs. With the completion of each of the five years the novice renews his tempory vows annually to the Bishop Protector of the community. The friar's initial formation of annual temporary vows concludes with the profession of solemn or final vows, an event which fully incorporates him into the Franciscan community. The friar is now a mature member of the Franciscan family and permitted to participate in the decision making process that guides the community in apostolate work, financial undertakings and general family/household decisions. The total process takes seven years. As with brother death, life is not ended but, merely changed, final vows do not signal the end to a friar's growth in Christ. Each of the brothers is encouraged to work toward growth in all areas of his religious life, especially in developing a rich prayer life and deepening the commitment to communal living. Spiritual direction, retreat and renewal experiences, educational and professional development are all part of the brother's commitment to live as a member of our Franciscan family. Friars are encouraged to have a balanced life consisting of work, prayer, recreation and rest in order to be a happy, healthy and productive member of our community. Prayer Before the Crucifix "Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge so that I may carry out Your holy and true command." ---Words of St. Francis Profession of Vows The Lord Gives Us Brothers Francis of Assisi set out in the early 1200s to live and share the message of the Gospel. His instruction is found in three Bible verses, where Jesus says: "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me." (Matt. 19:21) "Take nothing with you for the trip: no walking stick, no beggar's bag, no food, no money, not even an extra shirt." (Luke 9:2-3) "If anyone wants to come after me, he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24) "The rule and life of the Friars is this: to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of their own, and in chastity." (The Rule, Chapter One-St. Francis of Assisi, 1223) Promises Of Life Having completed their formation in simple vows, friars proclaim their will to profess solemn vows in the Order of Friars: After pleading for the help of Mary, the angels and saints.... One by one they come before their Bishop Protector to profess their vows: "Since for the glory of God, the Lord has given me this grace, of living more perfectly and with firm will the Gospel of Jesus Christ I...., in the presence of the assembled friars, and into your hands, (provincial minister), vow for the whole time of my life to live in obedience, without anything of my own, and in chastity according to the Rule of St. Francis confirmed by Pope Honorius III and the General Constitutions of the Order of Friars Minor. I give myself to this brotherhood that through the work of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Father Francis and all the saints and with the help of my brothers I may fulfill my consecration to the service of G
St. Elizabeth was queen of Hungary and wife of Louis, the landgrave of a part of Hungary called Thuringia. Elizabeth followed the example of Francis in her love of the poor. She would bring bread daily to the hungry who lived in her jurisdiction. Her husband, Louis, forbade her to mingle with the poor but, her call to love Christ in the "least of her bretheren" outweighed the powerful authority of her spouse. One day while on secret mission of delivering bread she encountered her husband coming on horseback in the other direction. She quickly concealed the basket of bread beneath her cloak. When the king met up with her, he demanded that she reveal what she was hiding. Elizabeth obediently, though reluctantly, opened her cloak and revealed her basket but, upon looking down she discovered that the freshly baked bread was gone and the basket was overflowing with fresh scented, ruby red roses.. To this day, images of St. Elizabeth always include these two beautiful symbols...bread and roses! After the king's death, St. Elizabeth renounced her fortune, converted her palace into a hospital for the poor and joined the Secular Franciscans. She spent the remainder of her short life in service to God's poorest of the poor. Elizabeth is the patron saint of bakers. It is for that reason and the wonderful witness of her life of consecration to Christ that she was chosen as our patron saint as well.
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