The Secular Franciscan Order and Political Violence

A personal Reflection


Today, political violence is a significant issue. From terrorist attacks to civil unrest, the need for understanding and action is dire. The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) can provide a unique perspective on this problem. This Order has a long history of advocating for peace and justice, which provides valuable insight into this pressing issue. In this article, we will explore the OFS’s perspectives on political violence and how it can be used to bring about positive change in our world.

The Secular Franciscan Order began as part of the Franciscan movement in 1209, founded by St. Francis of Assisi. This Order was created to live a life of simplicity and poverty and to strive for holiness through active service to others. Through their commitment to these values, the OFS has become known as an advocate for social justice and peacemaking throughout their long existence.

Political violence has taken on an increasingly destructive tone in recent years worldwide. With no end in sight, we must look at new ways of addressing this issue. By examining the views of the OFS on this problem and exploring viable solutions they may provide, we can work towards finding real-world solutions that benefit us all. We hope that through this article, readers will understand how we can use the principles of the Secular Franciscan Order to create a better future for all people affected by political violence today.

History Of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is a Catholic order of lay people, including bishops, priests, and deacons, who follow the spiritual example of St. Francis of Assisi. Founded in 1209 and receiving its original Rule in 1221, the OFS is one of the oldest religious orders in the world. Its members live in their own homes and have secular jobs but remain committed to following a Rule of Life like that set by St. Francis for his brothers. This includes committing themselves to poverty, humility, self-denial, service to others, and prayer.

Today, there are more than 300,000 members worldwide. They are active in many fields, including education, healthcare, social work, and disaster relief efforts. In addition to serving their local community, they often participate in international work such as peace initiatives and human rights campaigns. They also offer spiritual support to those suffering from physical or mental illness or disability and guide ethical decision-making.

Today’s Secular Franciscans strive to bring peace through nonviolent means such as dialogue, diplomacy, and advocacy for justice. Instead of relying solely on force or coercion when faced with complex decisions or conflicts, Secular Franciscans look for ways to create understanding and mutual respect among all parties involved so that everyone can peacefully benefit from resolving disputes. They recognize that political violence is not a solution to any problem or conflict; instead, it leads only to further suffering for all parties involved. The OFS encourages its members to use peaceful interventions when possible and always seek nonviolent solutions.

Principles Of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is guided by four core principles: charity, humility, nonviolence, and poverty. These principles are the foundation of their mission to bring peace and justice to the world.

  • Charity is a cornerstone of the OFS’s mission. Members are encouraged to reach out with love and compassion towards everyone, regardless of race or religion. They strive for understanding between diverse cultures to create unity amongst all people on earth.
  • Humility is another important principle for members of the OFS. They seek to be humble in thought, word, and deed to become more like Jesus Christ and serve as an example for others. This entails abandoning pride, arrogance, and selfishness in favor of a life devoted to serving God and others.
  • Nonviolence is essential in achieving their goal of peace throughout the world. The OFS passionately believes that violence leads only to further suffering; therefore, they rely on peaceful means such as dialogue, diplomacy, and advocacy when faced with demanding situations or conflicts.
  • Poverty is an essential part of the OFS’s way of life. Members embrace a life of simplicity and voluntary poverty to remain detached from material possessions and focus on spiritual matters. This helps them understand the needs of the less fortunate and encourages them to share what they have with others.

Considering these principles, members of the Secular Franciscan Order reject any form of political violence today and any other violent behavior that does not promote peace or respect for human dignity. Their commitment to nonviolence demonstrates their dedication to creating a better world through nonviolent means for everyone involved.

Current Practices of The Secular Franciscan Order

As part of their mission to bring peace and justice to the world, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive to intentionally live the Gospel of Jesus. They actively advocate for change and engage in peaceful dialogue with those who differ from them.

The OFS is dedicated to working towards a more just and equitable society. They often participate in marches and protests and volunteer in their local communities. They also work with other faith-based organizations, such as Catholic Charities, to aid those in need. Additionally, they use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread messages of peace and hope worldwide.

The relationship between religion and politics is complex. While the Secular Franciscan Order rejects all forms of violence, they understand that there are times when people must take a stand against oppressive political systems. They acknowledge that religion can powerfully influence society and politics and strive to use their faith to foster peace and justice.

Secular Franciscans recognize the need for leaders who embody moral principles and ethics to bring about real change. They believe in holding those in power accountable for their actions and working with them to achieve positive outcomes. The OFS also encourages and engages with other faiths, recognizing our shared humanity and striving for mutual understanding and respect.

At the heart of the Secular Franciscan Order is a commitment to nonviolence. This commitment extends beyond physical violence; it includes speaking out against policies or behaviors that hurt or oppress people, regardless of their faith or beliefs. They strive not only to protect themselves from harm but also to protect others from injustice or oppression. By advocating for justice and peace, members of the Secular Franciscan Order hope to create a more fraternal and just world.

Global Political Violence Today

Today, the world is facing a wide range of political violence. From civil wars and terrorism to oppressive regimes and economic injustice, the list of problems that need to be addressed seems endless. Secular Franciscans take a firm stance against all forms of violence, recognizing it as an affront to the dignity of human life and a violation of fundamental human rights. They strive to foster peace through education, collaboration, and understanding, believing these are essential for lasting change.

The OFS also encourages its members to actively participate in society through political or social activities promoting justice, peace, and respect for human life. They recognize that although violence may seem like an efficient way to achieve specific goals in the short term, it will only lead to further suffering eventually. As such, they advocate for nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution that prioritize dialogue over force or coercion.

Finally, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive to live out their faith by example. Through acts of compassion and mercy, they seek to bring about positive change in their communities. By embodying moral principles and setting an example of peacemaking, they hope to inspire others around them who may be struggling with complex decisions or facing oppressive systems. In this way, they seek to create a culture of justice and nonviolence, which can help bring lasting change in our world today.

The Role of Religion in Political Violence

Religion has long been a source of hope and solace for many people, but it can also be used to fuel political violence. As members of the Secular Franciscan Order, we must know how religion is used to justify acts of aggression, oppression, and injustice. We must strive to counter this by showing that faith is not a tool for exclusion or domination but rather a source of peace and acceptance.

The OFS recognizes that all religions have the potential to inspire love and compassion among their followers. However, they also understand that when such teachings are misused or taken out of context, they can lead to societal divisions or even violence. Therefore, they encourage their members to promote understanding between different religious groups and work towards creating an environment where all faiths can peacefully coexist.

In addition, Secular Franciscans believe in speaking out against unjust systems that rely on religion as a form of control or manipulation. They recognize that these forms of oppression are antithetical to the message of peace and justice central to most beliefs today. As such, they urge their members to stand up for those who suffer from religious persecution or discrimination and challenge any attempts by influential individuals or groups to use religion to consolidate power or enforce outdated laws.

The Secular Franciscan Order believes in the potential for religion to bring about positive change in our world today if it is used correctly. By actively promoting dialogue between different faiths and acting against oppressive systems relying on religious rhetoric, we can work together to create a more peaceful future for everyone.

Causes Of Political Violence Today

While religion has often been a source of violence in the past, there are numerous other causes of political violence today. It is often rooted in poverty and inequality, as those denied fundamental human rights are likelier to resort to violence out of desperation. Additionally, oppressive regimes can lead to feelings of anger and injustice, which can manifest as violent acts against the state or its representatives.

Furthermore, the rise of extremist ideologies has also played a significant role in fueling political violence. These ideologies often call for a radical transformation of society through force and coercion, disregarding human rights and democratic principles in pursuit of their goals. As such, they can lead to serious conflict between groups and individuals with different beliefs or backgrounds.

The spread of hate speech on social media has also impacted political violence, enabling extremists to spread their messages quickly and easily across borders. This type of rhetoric can incite individuals to act and give them the courage to commit acts they may not otherwise do without such encouragement.

It is clear that while religion has been a source of tension throughout history, multiple causes of political violence must be addressed to create a more peaceful world. We must work together to understand the underlying issues behind these conflicts and find solutions prioritizing dialogue over aggression. Only by doing so can we foster meaningful change within our societies and prevent further bloodshed.

Impact Of Political Violence on Society

The impact of political violence on society is far-reaching and can be devastating. It leads to loss of life, physical destruction, and economic damage and can also lead to long-term psychological trauma for those affected. For example, individuals may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder due to their experiences in war or conflict zones. This can enormously impact their daily lives and their ability to function in society.

Moreover, political violence often leads to the breakdown of social trust within communities. When people do not feel safe expressing their beliefs or engaging in peaceful protest, they become more distrustful of each other, which can lead to further divisions and hostility. It is particularly true when violence is used as a tool for repression by governments or powerful groups to maintain control over the population.

Finally, political violence has a profound effect on democracy and human rights. When those in power use fear as a weapon, citizens cannot participate fully in democratic processes or hold their leaders accountable for their actions. It makes it difficult for democracies to function correctly, leading to further instability and unrest if the underlying causes are not addressed.

It is clear then that political violence has profound consequences for victims and society. Suppose we are to create a more secure future with tremendous respect for human rights and democratic principles. In that case, we must work together to understand these issues and find ways to prevent further violence.

Strategies For Resolving Conflict Within and Among Nations

Political violence can have a devastating effect on individuals, communities, and nations. Developing strategies for resolving conflicts within and among nations is essential to prevent further violence and create more closed societies.

One approach to conflict resolution is dialogue. By engaging in constructive dialogue with those who may hold different views or come from diverse backgrounds, we can better understand one another’s perspectives and identify areas of common ground. This can lead to more effective problem-solving by allowing all parties involved to express their needs and concerns without fear of retribution or violence.

Additionally, international organizations such as the United Nations and Franciscans International are crucial in mediating disputes between nations and preventing the escalation of violence. Through diplomatic efforts such as sanctions, peacekeeping forces, and negotiation processes, the UN has been able to help de-escalate conflicts around the world and promote respect for human rights.

Finally, faith-based organizations can also be powerful agents of peace. The Secular Franciscan Order offers a unique model for conflict resolution based on principles of nonviolence, justice, compassion, and collaboration. By building bridges between people of different faiths and recognizing our shared humanity, the Secular Franciscan Order works towards creating a more peaceful world free from political violence.

Implications For the Future

The strategies discussed above provide a valuable framework for addressing political violence today and in the future. To ensure that these strategies are effective in curbing violence, it is essential to continue promoting dialogue and understanding among those with differing perspectives. International organizations must also remain committed to conflict resolution efforts and work with local communities to ensure their rights are respected. Finally, faith-based organizations such as the Secular Franciscan Order can exemplify peaceful collaboration between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

As societies become increasingly interconnected, it is essential that we recognize our shared humanity and strive for peace rather than allow political violence to tear us apart. By continuing to practice dialogue and respect for all peoples, we can foster a more secure world free from fear and oppression. In this way, we can help build a brighter future where everyone is safe from harm and can live with dignity and respect.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Optimal Approach to Resolving Political Violence?

Political violence has been a part of human existence for centuries, and its effects have been devastating. Political violence is rising in many parts of the world, making it an increasingly pressing issue. So, what is the optimal approach to resolving this issue?

One method of tackling political violence is to focus on education and awareness-raising. Educating people about the consequences of political violence can help reduce its prevalence. Additionally, providing information about peaceful alternatives to violent means of expression can help people find alternative methods to express their grievances without violence. This can be done through workshops, seminars, and other educational activities.

To successfully resolve any political conflict or dispute, all stakeholders involved must be willing to compromise and reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs while avoiding further escalation of tensions. Achieving such an outcome requires careful consideration of both sides’ interests and perspectives for a successful resolution. It may not always be easy, but peaceful solutions can be found with dedication and patience, even in intractable political violence situations.

How Do Religious Beliefs Influence Political Behavior?

Religious beliefs play an essential role in shaping political behavior, and this impact can be seen in different faiths, including Catholic, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities. How do these religious beliefs influence political behavior and critical issues such as immigration, taxation, abortion, and global warming? Let’s explore how different faith backgrounds impact political views and how people of other faiths interact.

  • Christian Influence on Political Behavior.

In particular (and for purposes of this reflection), Catholicism is a widespread religion that has a significant impact on political behavior. Catholic teachings emphasize social justice and the sanctity of human life. These beliefs have led to the Catholic Church’s strong stance against abortion, capital punishment, and war. Catholicism teaches Christians to care for the poor and marginalized, which has led to the church’s support of policies such as social welfare programs and immigration reform.

  • Jewish influence on Political behavior. 

Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion and has an extraordinary impact on political behavior. Jewish teachings emphasize the importance of justice, compassion, and tikkun olam, or repairing the world. These beliefs have led to Jewish support for policies such as social welfare programs, economic development, and peace initiatives. Additionally, the Jewish community has a strong stance on issues such as immigration and global warming.

Islamic Influence on Political Behavior. 

  • Islam is the second-largest religion globally and significantly impacts political behavior. Islamic teachings emphasize the importance of social justice, charity, and equality. Muslims believe in building solid and harmonious communities and working towards a better society. These beliefs have led to Muslim support for social welfare programs, economic development, and environmental protection policies.

Interacting with different faiths. In today’s diverse world, people of different faiths must learn to interact with one another respectfully. Interfaith dialogue is critical to promoting understanding and tolerance between other faith communities. Through discussion, people can learn about different religious beliefs, cultures, and values and find common ground on critical political issues.

Different faith backgrounds and political beliefs. While religious beliefs play a significant role in shaping political behavior. It’s important to remember that people of the same faith can have vastly different political ideas. Race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status can all impact an individual’s political views. Therefore, it’s essential to approach discussions about politics and religion with sensitivity and respect.

Secular Franciscan Order (OFS).  Members of the OFS are committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ and seeking peace through nonviolent means. Through prayer and service, they strive to bring about a more peaceful and just world. and show respect for everyone regardless of religious background or political affiliation. The OFS’s commitment to peace exemplifies everyone striving toward peaceful solutions rather than violent acts. As members of the OFS they work towards peaceful solutions to today’s political violence, and their religious beliefs guide them.

The teachings of Jesus provide an example of how to treat others with compassion and respect regardless of differences in opinion or background. Furthermore, their belief in nonviolence encourages them to seek constructive dialogue over violent confrontation when resolving conflicts between diverse groups or nations.

How Does the Secular Franciscan Order Address Global Political Violence?

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is an order of faithful, faith-filled people who strive to uphold a moral code that guides their behavior in the face of political violence. The Order’s primary mission is to promote peace and justice in the world, and the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi have shaped its vision of global peace. As such, it is essential to understand how the OFS addresses political violence in today’s world.

The OFS operates under the principles of nonviolence and pacifism, which they believe will lead to greater peace and justice among nations. They seek to foster understanding between people through dialogue and education, believing that communication and compassion can help prevent conflicts from escalating into violence. Additionally, they advocate for social change through peaceful means, such as lobbying lawmakers and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns.

To effectively address global political violence, believers within the OFS need to remain committed to their values of nonviolence and pacifism while continuing to raise awareness about human rights abuses and providing aid where needed. By living out their beliefs through these initiatives, members of the Secular Franciscan Order are helping bring peace one person at a time worldwide.

What Is the Relationship Between the Secular Franciscan Order and Politics?

The relationship between the Secular Franciscan Order and politics is an important one to consider. It reflects how the Religious Orders view their role in modern society, particularly regarding issues of global political violence. This article has explored the Secular Franciscan Order’s stance on politics and how it may be applied in today’s world.

Regarding their political engagement, the OFS actively encourages dialogue between conflicting parties and promotes cooperation. They also aim to bridge gaps between religious denominations while working towards greater understanding and mutual respect. Additionally, they focus on providing humanitarian aid to those affected by conflict or poverty and educating others about global issues that affect our lives today.

The work done by members of the OFS demonstrates that they are committed to making a difference in today’s world despite any political divides. Through their commitment to peace-building, human rights education, and interfaith dialogue, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive for justice for all people, regardless of race or religion. Their efforts are essential for creating a more peaceful world where everyone can live together with respect and understanding, without fear or violence from those who seek power over others.

What Are the Main Causes of Political Violence Around the World Today?

Political violence is a significant issue that has plagued the world for generations and continues to be an issue today. It can take on many forms, from physical acts of aggression to oppressive laws, and its causes are complex and varied. To effectively address political violence, it is essential to understand the main factors driving this global phenomenon.

  • Economic inequality.

One of the key drivers of political violence is economic inequality. When dominant groups control resources and access to power, they may use their position to oppress others who lack financial means or political influence. This often leads to violent outbursts by those who feel their rights have been violated or ignored. Additionally, poverty can lead to desperation and a lack of hope which can drive individuals towards more powerful means of expressing their grievances.

  • Ideological differences.

Another factor in political violence is ideological differences. While some conflicts arise from economic disparity or historical legacies, others flare up due to opposing beliefs about how society should be organized or governed. Religious beliefs and national identities can also play into this dynamic as people struggle for dominance within a particular system or group.

  • Power imbalances

Finally, power imbalances between different actors within a given society can also contribute to political unrest and violence. When one group has more authority than another, it can lead to resentment among those without power, which may manifest itself in violent behavior as individuals attempt to gain control over their own lives and destinies. Furthermore, when certain groups are systematically excluded from decision-making processes or denied fundamental rights, this can increase tensions, eventually resulting in violent conflict.

There are multiple causes behind the global problem of political violence that need to be addressed if we want to make lasting progress in reducing the situation worldwide. Understanding these underlying factors will enable us to respond better with more effective solutions focusing on addressing root causes rather than simply responding with force when these issues arise.


The Secular Franciscan Order provides a unique perspective on addressing political violence. The Order emphasizes nonviolence, forgiveness, and reconciliation as the optimal approach for resolving political violence. It encourages people to rely on their faith to guide them in making decisions that will lead to peace. As a result, religious beliefs can significantly impact how people behave in politically charged situations and how they view the world around them.

Political violence is an ongoing problem in many parts of the world today. To combat it effectively, we must look at all viable solutions and understand the root causes of violence. We must continue to seek out ways to find common ground between diverse cultures and religions if we are ever going to find lasting solutions to political violence. The Secular Franciscan Order offers a valuable perspective on this issue and provides an example of how religious beliefs can be used to promote peace.

The Secular Franciscan Order is an important reminder of faith’s power in our lives and its potential for creating positive change in our world. By promoting nonviolence, forgiveness, and reconciliation, the Order serves as a beacon of hope in times of conflict and strife. We must look towards organizations like this one for guidance when confronting the challenges of political violence today.

Organizations supported by the OFS working worldwide for Peace and Justice.

Franciscans International – “Franciscans International advocates at the United Nations for the protection of human dignity and environmental justice.”

Franciscans International: home

Franciscan Action Network – “is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.”

Home – Franciscan Action Network

OFS-USA National – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission

“The mission of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation is to assist the professed Secular Franciscans as they reflect on their relationship with God as manifested in the fruits of conversion in their lives. This is with special regard to the daily choices made in justice, peacemaking, and respect for all created things and people; as brothers and sisters of penance, bringing life to the Gospel and the Gospel to Life.”


A Journey into the Heart of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order is a community of lay people who follow the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, focusing on living a life of simplicity, peace, and love. It originated in the 13th century and emphasizes prayer and contemplation, as well as working for peace, justice, and the protection of God’s creation. The order plays an important role in the Catholic Church and requires a serious commitment from its members.


The Secular Franciscan Order, also known as the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, is a community of lay people who live in the world and are dedicated to following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. The Secular Franciscan Order was founded in the 13th century and has a rich history of spiritual growth and service to the Church and society. The members of the Secular Franciscan Order are united by their common commitment to living a life of simplicity, peace and love in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Origins of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order has its roots in the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in the 13th century. St. Francis was known for his love of God, his love for all creatures and his deep respect for all of God’s creation. He taught his followers to live a life of poverty, simplicity and humility, and to seek God in all things.

In the early years of the Franciscan movement, many lay people were drawn to the example of St. Francis and sought to live a similar life in the world. These lay people formed communities and lived together in poverty and simplicity, following the example of St. Francis. Over time, these communities evolved into the Secular Franciscan Order, which has been an important part of the Catholic Church for over 700 years.

The Spiritual Beliefs of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order is based on the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and the Catholic Church. The members of the Secular Franciscan Order believe in the importance of living a life of simplicity, peace and love, and seek to follow the example of St. Francis in all aspects of their lives.

The Secular Franciscan Order also emphasizes the importance of prayer and contemplation, and encourages its members to deepen their relationship with God through regular prayer, spiritual reading and other spiritual practices. Additionally, the Secular Franciscan Order is committed to working for peace, justice and the protection of God’s creation, and encourages its members to be active in promoting these values in their communities.

The Role of the Secular Franciscan Order in the Catholic Church

The Secular Franciscan Order is an important part of the Catholic Church and plays a vital role in the spiritual and social life of the Church. The Secular Franciscan Order is recognized by the Church as a form of consecrated life, and its members are considered to be lay people who live in the world and are dedicated to following the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Secular Franciscan Order is governed by a set of rules and regulations, and is led by elected leaders who are responsible for the spiritual and practical needs of the community. Additionally, the Secular Franciscan Order is involved in many important projects and initiatives, including efforts to promote peace, justice and the protection of God’s creation, and to assist the poor and marginalized in society.

Becoming a Member of the Secular Franciscan Order

Becoming a member of the Secular Franciscan Order is a serious commitment and requires a deep commitment to living a life of simplicity, peace and love in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

YouFra (Franciscan Youth) in Detroit, Documenting the Journey


Peace be with you as we continue to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis,

Sisters and brothers I want to keep you informed of our efforts to create a YouFra group in Detroit.

In the past months, the Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity has been in dialogue with the Pastor of Nativity of our Lord Parish and St. Charles Borromeo Parish Brother Ray Stadmeyer, OFM Cap, as well as Nativity of our Lord Parish DRE Joni Scott regarding the feasibility of engaging the parish youth/young adults in Franciscanism, if there is such a word. We have had several meetings that have born much fruit. This past weekend in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis I spoke to the parish about the possibility of creating a youth group. It was well received.

Some important details that determined our point of beginning.

  • The parish is in an impoverished neighborhood.
  • The parish is led by a Franciscan Friar that supports the effort.
  • The parish DRE also supports the effort.
  • We have a Fraternity member (Jerry Alderman OFS) that is active in the parish. Jerry did all the up front leg work with the pastor and DRE.

Method of introduction

  • Dialogue with the Pastor (for many months – almost a year)
  • Dialogue with the DRE (for many months)
  • Joint meeting with all parties involved to develop a plan of action.

o   Step 1 – Introduction to community

  • I spoke at the Liturgy  that highlighted the Feast of St. Francis, extending an invitation to the parish.
  • I spoke to those interested after that same mass (at a dinner reception) to explain our intentions and YouFra.
  • The DRE and Franciscan Member of parish talked to young people 14 – 18
  • They signed up 5 young people wanting to participate.

o   Step 2 – Our Plan

  • Supplement the Parish DRE teaching element with an action plan for the youth.
  • Bi monthly we (Troubadours) will gather with the DRE and young people.
  • After their normal religious instruction, we will engage the young people in an activity.
  • October 30 – the Youfra group will host a flash picnic for the community surrounding their parish, grilling hotdogs and serving those in need.
  • December – The Youfra group will travel to downtown Detroit and work with Kathleen Carsten, OFS, St. Aloysius Outreach, delivering groceries to the impoverished seniors.
  • February – The Youfra group will visit St. Bonaventure’s clothing warehouse and work sorting clothing for distribution to the poor.
  • Other activities involving targeted Franciscan efforts to serve the poor will be scheduled for the remainder of the year.
  • After each activity we will gather together for 15 minutes and discuss what we did, what was experienced, and how it relates to our Franciscan charism.

o   Step 3 – The Future

  • It is our hope that over the next year we will attract more young people
  • In one year we will expand this program from Nativity of our Lord Parish to St. Charles Borromeo Parish.
  • We will not work to create a second group but join the youth from the two parishes into a single entity.
  • Over the next 3 to 4 years work to create an active self-led Youfra group modeled on the NAFRA YouFra model.
  • Develop OFS Spiritual Assistance to walk with them and the Parish DRE’s


This winter we have been invited to speak to the DRE’s belonging to the Archdiocese of Detroit – Renaissance Vicariate at one of their major gatherings about the Secular Franciscan Order & Franciscan Ministries Inc. It is the wish of the DRE’s to work with The Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity and Franciscan Ministries Inc.  to create a model of ministry for young adults 18 – 34 that they can own (YouFra) that will reach across parish boundaries, that will engage young adults in ministry with the poor.

Wonderful Possibilities await us as we move forward together.

Wishing you Peace,


He approached in tears!

Kathy (my wife) and I were heading out the office  this morning  When we noticed again an ambulance sitting with its lights on at the corner of State and Washington Blvd. In the past couple weeks we have seen this several times–in the past few years more times than I can count. We cannot help but wonder and worry about the situation at hand and so often the news we get is not good.

Today the news was not good. About an hour after the ambulance left we were out on the street in front of the church  when Sam pulled up on his bicycle tears streaming down his face. “My Wife she just died!” he exclaimed. I am on my way to the hospital. “She is  gone”. He was still seated on his bycicle so all  I could do was reach out and hold his shoulder. Kathy and I struggled to control our own emotions. The work we do is not easy. We love the people we serve. They are our family and this winter and spring we have lost many members of our family to Sister Death.

In the next couple days and beyond we will be with Sam as he grieves for his wife.

Pax et Bonumthe-buddhas-cremation-at-kusinara



“Creating an opportunity of encounter”

This past Sunday, the Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity spent the day in service to the poor, serving a meal at St. Charles Borromeo Parish on Detroit’s east side. It is always an interesting adventure. The Parish volunteers flow in and out of the kitchen as the meal is being prepared. The kitchen, by the way, is a transformed classroom with old blackboards still hanging in place behind the freezers.  The lasagna is placed in the oven, salads are tossed and refrigerated, and dessert cakes are cut and made ready.


After mass, the good people come down to the basement and are seated waiting for grace to be said prior to the meal.

As the people filter into the seating area there is a loud voice shouting to any and all that might break the rules “TAKE OFF YOUR HAT”. It is extremely disruptive to hear and not very welcoming. It reminds me of an experience I had at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi a short time ago. As I wandered in amazement looking at the frescoes on the ceilings and walls, there was a friar seated in a place of authority using a microphone within the sacred space saying, “SILENCIO-SILENCIO”. I guess he wanted silence in the Basilica and yet he was making much more noise keeping everybody quiet than the pilgrims were making as they wandered the basilica in awe of Giotto’s work! The friar had a job to do and by heaven he was going to do it. The same could be said for the help at St. Charles–yelling across the room for the one or two people that wandered in out of the cold rain to take off their hats–that was their job. They had the authority and by golly they were going to use it. I, however, found the events in both locations disconcerting. unwelcoming, and an obstacle to intimacy and relationship.

All the while,  everyone was being seated and grace was quickly said. A line was formed and the people were fed. For our part, we did what we were asked to do, exactly how we were asked to do it;  yet there was something missing for me. The long serving table created a dividing point, a barrier. We were on one side of the table and they (the guests) were on the other.  There was no opportunity for dialogue and relationship–not much time even for a smile to be shared.  We were not able to be brother and sister one to another. In fact, when we were done serving, we (the fraternity) took our food into the kitchen and sat and ate together. Again we were separated from the people, within a walled space. All in all, it was a very sanitized experience. These were for the most part our sisters and brothers that had just left the Table of the Lord having received his body and blood. We could have gone out and sat with those we were serving, but it did not happen. In this regard, we as a fraternity have some work to do. Yes we served/fed the hungry. But we failed to step through our own isolation, failed to step through the walls that were created to maintain order and break bread. We did not celebrate; we were not Eucharist with the people that were present.

Did we actually  fail at anything?  No not really!

It was a wonderful and enjoyable experience. We as a fraternity are continuing to step out of our comfort zones. Trying to give life and action to our  vocation. With a bit more experience and a little more help, we will be able to go out to the people and “break bread” with them, quoting Pope Francis, “Creating an opportunity of encounter”.

From our Rule of Life

Article 13

AS the Father sees in every person the features of his Son, the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, so the secular Franciscans with a gentle and courteous spirit accept all people as a gift of the Lord and an image of Christ.

Article 19

Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.

Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others…..

With great joy we will struggle to do this alone and this ministry  most certainly cannot be accomplished in fraternal  isolation, behind any kind of barrier (table) that separates us. Putting a serving of lasagna on a plate is a good  beginning. But it is only a first step in a journey of  admitting and overcoming our own  fear, distrust, and prejudice. To be truly alive,  truly loving and caring, we must continue to step out into the unknown as we seek  “To encounter the living and active person of Christ in our brothers and sisters….” (Article 5, Rule of Life).  This is our call to conversion and a continuing challenge, becoming people joyfully recognizing and encountering our God in each other and in our sisters and brothers.


She Left Her Bed in a Hurry…

Tuesday morning’s weather made me want to stay in bed and pull over the covers—it was raining and cold—a typical November morning.  Nonetheless, my day needed to start, and so I made my way to St. Al’s.  As I walked to our office, we had a guest who left her bed in front of our doorway—looked like she left in a hurry. She left her blankets and a bag of belongings.  I say “she” because there were thin women’s stockings and paperclips on the bed that may have been used to hold back her hair. The word on the street, too, was that it was a woman who slept here, but no one knew her. She didn’t come back the rest of the day. Ron (name changed), who worships at St. Al’s, neatly folded up her belongings and put them aside behind one of the pillars.

The following morning when I arrived at St. Al’s, the bed was spread out and left just as it had been on Tuesday, only several feet away from St. Al’s front door.  Our guest had left in the same manner and nowhere to be seen.  Today her belongings would not be spared.  The maintenance man from the former chancery building bundled the blankets together and put them out by the trash can.

We may never meet our guest—I wonder what her story is.  Is she a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother?  Is she struggling to pay bills on minimum wage earnings?  Is she showing signs of health problems in mind, body, and spirit?  Will we ever meet, and will Neighborhood Services have the opportunity to provide her with help to address the issues of homelessness?

Downtown and Midtown Detroit’s landscape is changing with all the renovations of buildings and razing of old houses and office buildings.  But let there be no mistake, our homeless brothers and sisters are not gone.  They may be pushed here and there, have no place not even a blanket to call their own, but they do have St. Aloysius Neighborhood Services to reach out to through our street ministries, whole health ministry, and a place to worship.   Our brothers and sisters will always be with us.

Mother Theresa gives us a beautiful thought of action; she says, “Together let us do something beautiful for God.”  It is our hope that we can continue together with you to serve our brothers and sisters in need in Detroit.

She Left Her Bed in a Hurry 1

A Chance Encounter

A Chance Encounter

It’s a very dark Tuesday morning, January 13, 2015 at 6:30 am.

The wind was blowing hard and the temperature probably about zero—must be a chill factor of at least 15 below zero. As I was driving to work at St. Aloysius, I was thinking about how cold it was. My teeth hurt and I had a brain freeze going on from the few minutes I was outside getting the car ready to go.

As I moved through the streets of Detroit, I pulled up to Mack Avenue and Beaconsfield on the East side.  Down the street I could see traffic coming but something caught my eye. In the headlights I saw a person walking in the street. Drivers worked their way around this person and the only way I could see anything was in the headlights of the oncoming traffic. I paused at the intersection to see what was going on. Slowly the person walking in the street made their way to the front of my car. I stared in disbelief—right in front of me walking down the middle of the west bound lane of Mack Avenue was a teenage male. He was barefoot, wearing only boxer shorts and a tee-shirt. I watched as he walked by the intersection. Cars were whizzing by him on his left. I hopped out of the car and yelled to him but he showed no response at all. I walked into the street and yelled again. Still no response from him. I returned to my car and made my first call to 911.  6:37 a.m. showed on my phone. After requesting both police and EMS to be sent to the site, I put on my emergency flashers and pulled out behind him and followed creating, as best I could, a shield from the traffic coming from behind. He made no sign of knowing I was present. After some distance, he came to Alter Rd—a main intersection with a stop light. The teenager stopped and waited for the light.  While sitting at the light, I called 911 for the second time and gave them an update as to his location.  Almost ten minutes had passed. When the light turned green, he walked through the intersection and progressed down the road passing the entry to a major gas station located on the corner. Once by the entry, he turned back and walked up to the gas station; he went inside. The night shift person on duty pushed the young man outside by motioning with his hands—the way you might try to move a wayward dog out of a yard. Three times the attendant forced the young man out of the store. Three times the young man wandered back in. It is now 7:17 and for the third time I called 911. After my conversations with dispatch after asking where not only the police were but what has happened to EMS, I was told my call has gone out and they are both working to respond. I walked up the attendant and introduced myself. I informed him that I was waiting for the police and EMS to arrive and that I was watching out for the teenager until they arrived. The attendant then took the young man into the station and let him sit down next to the window. I had a coat that was donated during the Christmas Giving effort; I took it in and wrapped it around him. He shook uncontrollably and tears were running down his face. The attendant brought him hot coffee and a pair of socks.

I went out to my car and sat parked near the window watching and waiting. Within minutes a car pulled up to the front door. A man got out and went in and up to the teenager. The youth stood up and followed him out to the car. I went up to the pair and introduced myself. The man said he was the young man’s father. He explained to me that his son was autistic and that he had somehow slipped out of the house. He had been looking for him. He thanked me for my help. After our conversation, the father loaded the teen into his car and drove away. It was my hope that the father had taken him to the hospital, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

I made my fourth and last call to 911. I let them know that the young man had been taken by someone who said he was his father and that he was taking him home; I informed them I was leaving as well.  The time was 7:24 a.m.  I hopped in my car and continued on to St. Aloysius.

The police never did show up. Neither did EMS.  I left earlier than usual for work that day.  Now I know why.




Indigence Cleansing in the “D”


Washington Boulevard was much busier this past month. The poor most especially the mentally ill were much more visible.  In September the buildings in Capital Park that we share the alley with expanded their renovation. So our shared alley is part of a construction zone now from State Street to Grand River. With this added construction/renovation, comes added security from the private security firm that the city has hired.  It is assumed the primary job of the private firm of course is building security. The buildings and construction materials are exposed and in need of being watched.

And yet a secondary task has been assigned to the city’s private security force. They are to clean/sanitize the area of any and all undesirable people. Who are the undesirable people? Why the poor of course. The homeless and mentally ill for sure. But it is not always easy to distinguish who the homeless and mentally ill are despite the best profiling techniques; so if you look poor, you are questioned.  And, as witnessed by this writer, if you don’t answer the questions correctly, you are escorted out of the area by a guy in a black uniform with a big gun. If you are homeless and carrying a backpack? Well forget it. The city parks or streets are not for you.

The city is slowly expanding its zone of indigence cleansing. Within the parish boundaries, that zone of indigence cleansing now has reached our back door. In the not too distant future, it will reach our front door. The poor we serve will continue to be pushed further and further out away from the dynamic central city.   The homeless and mentally ill will not disappear though it may be tougher for them to reach us. These issues are much greater and much more complicated and are in need of being addressed by the people of the State of Michigan and the US.

Compuware Corp.


June 17, 2014

For more years than I can remember, the Compuware family has supported the Ministries of St. Aloysius Neighborhood Services. When the Outreach Center was active and serving the poor, we could always count on them to lend a hand when emergencies came up by supplying coffee, bread, money and a more than generous amount of personal time.

The location has changed a bit. The model of service has changed a bit, but one thing that has stayed constant is the support of the good people at the Compuware Corporation.

Today, volunteers from Compuware Corporation can be found wearing Neighborhood Services aprons and backpacks, searching the streets of Detroit during their lunch breaks, looking for those most in need. They can also be found in our Kitchenette making hundreds of sandwiches to be given out to those whom are hungry.

For more than two years, the Compuware team has singlehandedly created mission and ministry.  At 7:30 am they are at the back door of the Church picking up needed supplies, sandwiches, cookies, socks and hygiene kits and more. Working together with Skillman Library staff they weekly set up tables and meet and greet dozens of people in need and address the needs of body, mind and spirit. After the noontime encounter, the Library invites all in attendance to sit for a spell and enjoy a movie.

We are grateful for the love and dedication of the good people that join us from Compuware Corporation. We are a volunteer driven organization. Without volunteers there is no ministry—no helping hand reaching out.

If you are looking for a way to give back and a ministry to participate in, please consider giving us a call.




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