Prayer and Liturgy
The General Constitutions of the OFS remind us that prayer must be at the heart of the lives of members of the Order.
GC Art 12.3
The brothers and sisters should love meeting God as His children and they should let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do. They should seek to discover the presence of the Father in their own heart, in nature, and in the history of humanity in which His plan of salvation is fulfilled.
Our Rule (Article 8) also makes this same call to prayer and contemplation.
From the earliest rules Franciscans were expected to pray at least an adaptation of the Liturgy of the Hours. This might consist of saying the Lord’s Prayer a recommended number of times every day or some sections of the Divine Office. The Ritual handbook, appendix 2, includes several suggestions concerning how members can join in liturgical prayer. These include some prayers that Francis composed, such as The Office of the Passion (a form of the Office of the Passion may also be found in our handbook on page 128). This website will introduce a selection of Franciscan prayers.
Francis composed a wonderful Rule for Hermitages (FA:ED Vol 1 “The Saint” pages 61-2, also available in all compilations of the Writings of St Francis) . Brothers were encouraged to go into a hermitage, a place of retreat, in very small groups. For the brother in silent retreat, there was a “mother” who would deal with any external matters and there would be times of joint prayer. The brothers would then change over role so both would have had a time of being the hermit. Francis made retreats in diverse places but we know best La Verna where he spent the period from the Assumption (August 15) to the Feast of Archangels (29 September) when he was able to do so.
OFS members are encouraged to have Days of Recollection, in local or in regional fraternities. Ideally contemplative prayer becomes part of daily life. This will depend on circumstances but also on experience. According to the local council, the programme organised for fraternities will allocate some of the formation slots in meetings to ways of praying, so members can learn from one another and share experiences. Helping one another to practise meditative and contemplative prayer is a valuable gift that a fraternity can provide. Members often find it helpful to make retreats and to have a spiritual director.
There are many Franciscan saints and blessed from all branches of the Franciscan family (see link below). The latest of a long line of OFS saints will be Zelie Martin (mother of St Thérèse of Lisieux, The Little Flower), who is expected to be canonised, along with her husband, Blessed Louis, at a ceremony held during the world Synod of Bishops on the family in October 2015. This website will build up a bank of information about various of these holy people. The feasts of St Francis (October 4) and St Clare (August 11) are especially celebrated. Sometimes members gather on the eve of these feasts to recall the events of the deaths at celebrations known as Transitus. A video of the Transitus may be viewed on the ofsgb YouTube channel. Fraternities often adopt patron saints. In recent years the International Presidency has provided information about the two patron saints of the Order – St Elizabeth of Hungary and St Louis IX of France, both members of the OFS.
Petitions and Intercession
You may send prayer petitions via the website.
Links to Franciscan Resources on Prayer
Calendar of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds
Images of the various Franciscan Saints and Blessed will be regularly added to the ofsgb Pinterest page, together with brief notes. Some inspiration to Prayer may be found there also.