We follow the way of life and spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi – the way of seraphic love. Saint Francis gave the Church a new Religious Order. In fact he founded three Orders, The Order of Friars Minor, Poor Clares and the Secular Franciscan Order. Each had its own Rule of Life. That is why St Francis is often shown with a book in his hand. It is not the Gospel it is his Rule of Life based on the Gospel. Beginning in 1215 the Lateran Council banned any new Religious Orders. The Franciscan Rules were approved after the Lateran Council on the grounds that they were already approved verbally by Pope Innocent III. Interestingly the Secular Franciscan Rule was the first officially approved in 1221. Then came the official Rule of the Friars Minor in 1223. It could be said that Saint Clare’s Rule of Life, the one she wanted, was not officially approved until 1253 when she was dying. Saint Francis was not the first person to begin a Third Order for lay people. There were already groups of lay people approved by the Holy See before the Secular Franciscans. Much later the Rule of the Secular Dominicans was approved in1285 and the Secular Carmelite Rule 1415. These were approved as Orders because they were seen as an extension of the Spirit and way of life of these Orders.

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