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. As is written in our Rule:

The Franciscan family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God -- laity, religious, and priests - who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi. In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church.

The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.

The present rule, succeeding "Memoriale Propositi" (1221) and the rules approved by the Supreme Pontiffs Nicholas IV and Leo XIII, adapts the Secular Franciscan Order to the needs and expectations of the Holy Church in the conditions of changing times. Its interpretation belongs to the Holy See and its application will be made by the General Constitutions and particular statutes.

The Order is organized by geographic areas, with international, national, regional, and local fraternities.

The Mount Saint Sepulchre Fraternity is a local fraternity based at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC. This fraternity was founded in the early 1900s and is open to lay men and women, both single and married. Meetings are held the third Sunday of each month except for June and December.

Membership in the Order is a calling, a vocation, and a way of life. There is a three-year formation process by which an individual can discern if he/she has this calling.

For additional information, contact one of our Council members.