We are the Sisters Minor of Saint Francis, a Franciscan community born in 1981, when our first sisters met the Renewed Friars Minor and were fascinated by the Franciscan ideal the friars were living out.
So, led by Br Umile of Mary (RFM), they decided to begin this new journey themselves and take up the challenge of living the Franciscan way of life within the Catholic Church.
The Renewed Friars Minor had been born about ten years before. Motivated by the Second Vatican Council, they felt the desire to return to the spirit of Saint Francis, and to observe the Rule that St Francis himself wrote for his friars, approved by Pope Honorius III on the 29thof November 1223.
We too felt the need to follow the footsteps of St. Francis and profess that same Rule (that he himself wrote for his friars), in which he presents the Gospel as the best way to perfection.
In Francis’ time, social restrictions would not have allowed women to follow his ideal exactly as it was; today we are one of the first female communities that profess St. Francis’ Rule, and we live it out according to the Renewed Friars Minor’s charismatic reading.
As consecrated women, we felt Jesus’ call resounding in our hearts, and asking us to follow Him: «If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me» (Lk 9:23); that same voice resounded in Francis and in his first companions’ hearts, a long time ago during the 13th century, when, while living together in a small chapel, they were asking God which was the path to follow.
We want to live out the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in simplicity, in a spirit of fraternity, owning nothing, in the joy of being little ones, announcing through the witness of our lives and through our words that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and that all His children are risen with Him. Our specific mission and charism within the Church is, therefore, the proclamation of the Gospel, at every level and everywhere, wherever the Lord might send us.
«You are well aware of the generosity which our Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you should become rich through his poverty» (2Cor 8: 9).
The first Beatitude resounds in our hearts; indeed it sums up all the others: «How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs» (Mt 5, 3). We thus do not receive money for any aspect of our service or apostolic activity; instead, we accept gladly what people can offer in kind, if they can, yet without expecting anything in return. Finally, we rely on God’s Providence for what we need and do not otherwise receive, going out begging, as the Franciscan friars have been doing throughout the centuries. We know that the Lord never fails to give their wages to the labourers who work for the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt 10:10).
Our fraternities are currently in Italy and Colombia. In Italy we are in Tusa (a Capuchin Friary, named «St Mary of Silence») and in Palermo («Our Lady of Graces»). In Colombia we are in Pereira («Portiuncola»), and in La Florida («Our Lady of Silence»). Our Colombian fraternity started, as in Italy, from the desire of a small group of young women who felt that same calling to live out the Holy Gospel embracing the lifestyle of the Renewed Friars Minor of Colombia. This blessed wish was fulfilled in 1994, when two Sisters Minor of Saint Francis went from Italy to Colombia, to build up with them our first community of Latin America.
In 2016 we went to the UK, and we have been living in Birmingham since 2017.