SFO Constitution

Were their sfo constitutions prior to 1978? If not how was order of administration and procedures of the old orders carried out.?

Really a good question. I’ll have to look for the specific details, but in the US before 1978, the SFO was under the care of the 4 groups of friars (OFM, Conv, Cap, TOR), and each of them did have paperwork to go with the rule that was in use, which was the one revised by Pope Leo XII in 1883. There were, in effect, 4 parallel groups of SFOs. And of course then, it wasn’t called SFO, but the Third Order of St. Francis.

There were even gatherings every 5 or 10 years then, but the order was much more dependent on the friars for leadership at that time. I have some old books here about them.

I believe that fraternities were attached to a specific family in those days (ie, the Capuchins, for example, as opposed to the entire 1st or 2nd Orders)

What’s really interesting is that some fraternities have still not changed very much from that model, particularly if they meet at a Franciscan-run parish, although those are getting pretty rare outside big cities. This is so regardless of the new rule, constitutions and so on.
The friars themselves are also getting far less commonly-seen, since the Order itself is pulling their friars, even ordained ones, out of parishes.

Other fraternities are very, very modern and sometimes progressive too, which leads them to be sort of interesting and causes some people some difficulty.

Other fraternities struggle to make sense of it all.

Thanks all for your answers.

I thought that perhaps by reading Little Flowers I could grasp the method. One such administrative act was the assignment of a new Vicar of the order, since Francis was dieing.

"Then Brother Bernard placed himself on the left side of St Francis, who, crossing his arms in the form of a cross, put his right hand on the head of Brother Bernard and his left on that of Brother Elias. Then said he to Brother Bernard: “May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, bless thee with every blessing, spiritual and celestial; for thou art my first-born son in God, chosen in this Order to set an example of every virtue, and to follow Christ in evangelical poverty; for not only didst thou give all thy possessions and distribute them freely and liberally to the poor, but thou didst likewise offer thyself to God in this Order as a sacrifice of love; blessed be thou, then, by our Saviour Jesus Christ and by me, his poor servant, with eternal blessings, when thou goest out and when thou comest in, when thou wakest and when thou sleepest, both living and dying; he that blesseth thee shall be blessed, he that curseth thee shall not remain unpunished. Thou shalt be at the head of all thy brethren, and all thy commands the brethren shall obey. I give thee power to receive into this Order whomsoever thou willest; no brother shall rule over thee. Thou art free to go where thou wilt, and to remain where it pleaseth thee best.”

So in this example we have through verbal command a takeover of leadership and how he could conduct himself in his duties. So i would guess that was the typical standard. The rule was written however because later in Flowers there was mention of it being given to someone to read.

Thanks everyone. :slight_smile:

No, no. Little Flowers is just a collection of the legends around St. Francis. It really has very little to do with the administration of the Order, then or now.

If you want to see something about Franciscan Third Order history, you have to look specifically for that. There are many, many books on the topic. Here’s a good start to get you oriented. christusrex.org/www1/ofm/fra/FRAht11.html

And I’m not sure now whether you are looking for the RULE, the CONSTITUTIONS, the STATUTES or the RITUAL. They all work together, but they’re different documents, you know. And each of them has been updated a few times.

And I’m not sure now whether you are looking for the RULE, the CONSTITUTIONS, the STATUTES or the RITUAL. They all work together, but they’re different documents, you know. And each of them has been updated a few times.

Has anyone read this? Can you write a short review?


Actually, I have a copy of it right here, but I haven’t read it yet.

I was looking for constitutions prior to 1978. Your point is the issue, I can’t find historical constitutions prior to 1978. Constitution: (Definition) fundamental principles or established precedents according to which an organization is governed, not rules of conduct of individuals. There were a few rules post 11th Century, and that’s clear enough, however, writings that show formal administration of the fraternity is my interest.

Ok, I see now.

Going to your site reference, I see the connection. The later part of MEMORIALE PROPOSITI, 1221, goes into administration and situational ruling, today’s constitutional material.

As an aside, what is article 37 saying? :o

  1. That’s a secular definition of “constitutions.”

  2. Why do you want to know this?

What’s a non secular definition of constitution.?

First, why do you want to know about pre-1978 constitutions? What’s the point of that?

You claim the ability to identify cases of “secular definition of constitutions”.

So give me an example of one that is and one that isn’t with their accompanying definition.

Perfectly valid questions.

I personally do not have any knowledge on this topic. I know about the development of the Rule, but this is before my time in the Order and I personally did not feel the need to research the developments of the Constitutions in that detail. I would suggest you send a personal message to Brother JR (JReducation). As I said before, he has more knowledge of SFO/OFS then most of the members, especially the history. Of all the people on Catholic Answers, he would probably be your best bet for a good answer.

Thanks for the help. :slight_smile:

there should be some kind of constitution of the SFO prior to 1978. I will double check. I am and Secular Franciscan myself

I asked you first. Why do you want to know?

PS. Your designation says “Baptized Catholic/(Wanabee).” What does that mean?

Is this a continuation of a conversation we had earlier this year?

Actually I think there are 2 rather argumentative threads already out there, about whether a fraternity can admit who they want, what the constitutions say, etc etc. I don’t really want to participate in a rehash of that. Actually, I even think both those threads are still open.

Update on my research.

Just had to share with you my new discovery. The first paragraph answered my question, but it would seem more pleasant surprises were ahead on the scroll bar. It included a complete lesson for anyone who’s interested. Definitely a good addendum to Picking Daisies. I am sure there are a few more sites that you know of similar to this.

Anyway, everyone, thanks for your patience, and God bless you all.


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