About Us

The Secular Franciscan Order is an international Order for lay people who want to follow Jesus and live the Gospel in the style of St. Francis of Assisi. It was founded by St. Francis himself over 800 years ago.


Who are Secular Franciscans? The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS*) is a branch of the worldwide Franciscan Family. We are single and married. We work, worship and play in the community where we live. The OFS is a secular movement, established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

In today’s world we are plagued by time schedules, projects and activities that leave us tense and stressed. The OFS becomes our place of refuge and renewal where our brothers and sisters in Francis support and inspire us. You, too, can become a life-time member of our family -- if God is calling you.


What do Secular Franciscans do? Secular Franciscans follow the OFS rule that requires us to spend time in community with our Franciscan brothers and sisters. We gather at least monthly. We support each other through the ups and downs of daily life. We pray together. We take opportunities to learn about our Church, our community and our world.

Our rule mandates us to be involved in apostolic ministries and with youth. When we are called to action, we embrace the call joyfully. Some of us are religious education teachers,some have a special ministry to animals, some have made a commitment to Perpetual Adoration.
Some work with the poor and homeless. As a fraternity, we take action on issues that affect the lives of others. We do letter-writing campaigns in response to social justice issues; we support the efforts of our brothers and sisters who are serving the poor and lepers halfway around the world.


Is the OFS for you? If you have a Franciscan vocation, you probably have a desire to do something more. Perhaps you feel a need for support in growing spiritually. Or, deep down, you sense a need to serve God in a special way. Or, for years, you have felt an affinity with St. Francis. He seems to pop up all around and you just don’t know why. Perhaps, God is calling you!


Getting to know the OFS better may be a way to determine if you have a vocation. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know us before you make any commitment. The OFS requires three months of orientation and six months of inquiry. During that time, you’ll come to our monthly gatherings and have a few informal classes. Then, if you feel the call to continue, you’ll have another 18 months of formal discussion, education and involvement as a candidate.


When you get that far, you may ask to be professed. The decision is that of the Fraternity Council, after all other prerequites have been satisfied. Prayer and sacrifice on the part of the applicant and us, is a large part of such a decision.

If you feel that God is calling you to  do something more, please contact us.

*OFS is "Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis". All order names are in Latin, so the abbreviations have changed.



History of Secular Franciscan Order
Adobe Acrobat document [298.6 KB]

A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

Vero Beach, FL


Term expires: 2/10/2022

Fred Schaeffer, OFS

Helen Caldarone, OFS

Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS

 Jack Reddy, OFS


Formation Director: 
Donna Haro, OFS



 Joanne Giordano, OFS


Acting Spiritual Assistant:
Deacon Richard Blake, OFS


Webmaster & Contact:
Fred Schaeffer, OFS

Five Franciscan Martyrs

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