Franciscan Brothers of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary
A simple, devout life of the Franciscan rule.
- Who We Are . . .
- We are a community in formation located in the
geographical center of the state of Maine.
- Our rule is an adaptation of the Third Order Rule confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1982.
- 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.
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- 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 frequent reception of Holy 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 Your 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.
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- Who can be a Franciscan Friar?
- Normally a candidate to our way of life is:
- * a practicing 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 18-45
- * 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 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 determine if the aspirant will be admitted to our initial formation program as a
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- 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.
For six months to 1 year, 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.
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.
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 temporary vows annually to the Bishop Protector of the community or a cleric designated by the bishop.
The friar’s initial formation of annual temporary vows conclude with the option of the candidate
to profess final vows or continue in annual temporary vows. Regardless of the brother’s choice,
this milestone in his formation, grants him full incorporation into this Franciscan community.
Once the friar’s initial formation of annual temporary vows concludes, 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.
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- 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."
"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 annual temporary vows, friars proclaim their free will to
profess final vows or continue with annual vows in the Franciscan Brothers of St. Elizabeth of
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, (N.),
vow for the whole time of my life
to live in obedience, without anything of my own,
and in holy chastity, I give myself to this brotherhood
that through the work of the Holy Spirit,
the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
our Father Francis our patroness, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, and all the saints
and with the help of my brothers
I may fulfill my consecration
to the service of God and of the Church."
Their minister replies:
"In the name of the Church and of the brotherhood,
I accept your vows. And on the part of Almighty God,
if you observe them, I promise you life everlasting.
Therefore, O Lord, Look upon these our brothers
whom in your providence you have called
to follow the poor, humble Francis, the lover of the cross.
Pour into them the fullness of the sevenfold Spirit
so that what they have promised today
with joy and gladness through your giving,
they may with the divine assistance
observe faithfully to the end.
May they follow highest poverty,
gird themselves with the virtue of patience
and not extinguish the spirit of prayer and
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
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