Brotherhood of St. Francis Household | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Brotherhood of St. Francis

    Location: Trinity Hall, Room 207

    The Covenant of the Brotherhood of St. Francis

    Introduction to the Covenant

    Truly we see in the love and concern our brother Francis bore for all creatures, a spirit worthy of imitation. Francis loved each creature as an emanation of his God. Mankind held an especially dear place in Francis' heart, for they are, as Scripture tells us, created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26). It is in this way that we must come to see our King, by learning to worship through love of brothers. To this end we endeavor to live the virtues of POVERTY, HUMILITY, JOY, CHARITY, and CHIVALRY in our daily walk together.


    It is our understanding that material possessions can be, not only a hindrance in our lives of service, but also a burden which can oppress the soul in its ascent towards God our King. To this end we endeavor to embrace Lady Poverty. Our practical application of poverty in our lives does not require that a brother forfeit his current possessions or give his financial stability away, but rather that future acquisitions may be scrutinized carefully under a two-fold definition of necessity. Firstly, that the item to be obtained corresponds to that brother's vocation (i.e. as a student). Secondly, that the item to be obtained is of such a nature that it habitually causes that brother to give praise to God. It may be more appropriate to say that we aspire to live a simple life.


    It is our understanding that we are only what we are before the almighty, infinite, and all-loving God and nothing else. It is therefore important that a brother endeavor to act in a way that will lead to a humble spirit. Such acts (within reason) may be suggested by the coordinator on an individual or corporate basis to bolster humility.


    As Father Francis demonstrated so well in his life, we too, as his followers must manifest God's love through our great joy. Francis when speaking of 'true joy' said:

    When we come to Saint Mary of the Angels, soaked by the rain and frozen by the cold, all soiled with mud and suffering from hunger, and we ring at the gate and the porter comes and says angrily, 'Who are you?' and we say, 'We are two of your brothers,' and he contradicts us and says, 'You are not telling the truth, you are two rascals who deceive people and steal from the poor. Go away!' And if we endure all his insults and injuries with patience ... that is perfect joy! ~ Fioretti, section 8, adapted.

    The spiritual joy of which Francis speaks is a sure safeguard against the deadly poison of temptation which the serpent "throws into even the tiniest chinks of conscience" (Celano, second life) and a source of strength as one carries his cross. Francis was so invested in this joy that he spoke frequently of its role as a hearth fire for our Christian faith.

    If we burn within with a fervent desire for our heavenly country, easy it is to endure the exterior cold. ~ Bonaventure

    We ought to protect and kindle this fire as Francis prescribes when he says:

    If the servant of God, as may happen, is disturbed in any way, he should rise immediately to pray and he should remain in the presence of the heavenly Father until He restores unto him the joy of salvation. ~ Celano, second life.


    One of Francis's most striking charisms was that of his immense charity based upon the principle that we must love as Christ loves. In the imitation of this charity the Brotherhood of Saint Francis emphasizes the importance of a charitable lifestyle. To this end we will commit ourselves to works of service and self-giving. We must also keep in mind that Saint Francis was particularly concerned with service to the poor, and so the brothers will be called upon to serve the poor whenever possible, especially through prayer.

    When you throw a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. ~ Luke 14:13-14

    As our community is part of the greater community at this university we must also consider our fellow students as recipients of our charity. This will manifest itself most especially as the brothers endeavor to turn their academic knowledge into opportunities to share and preach the wonders of God and his creation.


    It is our intention to exemplify the knightly devotion that Francis bore to his crucified Lord. We call to mind that invitation which Francis extended to Brother Angelus;

    Sir Knight, armor sword and spurs are empty glamour. Would you not like to wear a coarse rope instead of the girdle, the cross of Christ instead of the sword, and the dust and dirt of the road instead of the spurs? Follow me. I shall make you a knight of Christ. ~ The Knight-Errant of Assisi

    In this tradition we strive to be knights of Christendom, with the Christ as our liege Lord, giving to him all the same feudal obedience a Lord would expect. We hold in particular reverence those most honored knight of Christ, upon whom the priesthood has been bestowed. As a practical manifestation of our chivalry we endeavor to allow priests to take a position of prestige by yielding to them in any line as well as such simple acts as holding a door for one of these holy servants.

    To live this call of Chivalry we aspire to particularly defend and respect those women who are placed into our lives. As reflections of our Blessed Mother and as daughters of our Eternal Father they are persons deserving our highest esteem and humblest service.


    "Go, proclaim to men, preach penance for the remission of sins. Be patient in tribulation, watchful in prayer, strong in labor, moderate in speech, grave in conversation, thankful for benefits; for if you shall observe all these things; an eternal kingdom is prepared for you. Cast they care upon the Lord and he will nourish thee."

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