Walking in the Footprint of Jesus
We Franciscans are a Fraternity in Mission, inspired by the life of St. Francis to bring the Gospel of Joy and Grace to the world. We devote our lives to the search for God in a communal life of prayer, simplicity of life and service to others. At the heart of Francis’ Gospel vision is delight in the Lord and His overflowing goodness. We strive to continue our Order’s 800-year-old mission as we serve the Church and the world as brothers and priests in a variety of ministries. We are part of the world-wide Franciscan Order present in 120 countries with some 13,000 friars.
Mission to the World
St. Francis was a man on fire with the desire to tell others of the love of God that Jesus had made know to us. He spoke often of following “in the footprints of Jesus.” Even when the numbers of his friars were very few, Francis sent them out two by two to preach the Gospel. Today there are many thousand Franciscans witnessing to Christ in mission lands.
Irish Franciscans are present in Central America, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is now the chief mission area for the Irish Franciscans. The friars came to Zimbabwe in the 1958. Young Zimbabwean men joined the Order and today there are about 40 friars in the Franciscan Custody of Zimbabwe.
We are still inspired by the words of St. Francis: “God has sent us into the whole world so that by word and deed we may bear witness to Him.”
All God’s Creatures
While still a young man, Francis began to feel God prompting him to question the direction of his life. Searching for inner peace, Francis visited abandoned churches and lonely places to pray for God’s guidance. Surrounded by wild flowers, tumbled down walls, and bird song, Francis found the solitude he needed to hear his deepest yearnings – God speaking to him.
Eventually, Francis found his true meaning and identity in being a child of God living in union with creation, reflecting God’s generosity and love.
Gradually Francis realised that he was truly a brother to the sun, moon, stars, fire and water, and to the whole cosmos for he along with them was being given existence at every moment by God.
Through a life of prayer and relationship, Francis came to see God’s goodness at the heart of all he has created. As God’s children we are called to praise and thank God daily for the gift of creation, a world that mirrors God’s beauty and goodness. Francis shows us how to live with a spirit of gratitude for the gift of creation and how to joyfully embrace our responsibility to care for that same creation.
Peace and Good
Pope Francis, who chose St. Francis as his patron and model when he became Pope, said, “Francis of Assisi – for me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation. He is the man who gives us the spirit of peace, who tells us we should work to build peace, within our hearts and among ourselves.”
Francis greeted everyone “May the Lord give you peace.” The peace he wished came from his own inner peace and his deep reverence for all of God’s creatures. He urged the friars to be gentle, peaceful, unassuming, courteous and humble in their dealings with others. In the time of the bitter Crusades, Francis went in peaceful friendship to meet the Sultan of Egypt.
“Pace e Bene!” (Peace and Good!) is a greeting used on all continents by Franciscan men and women since the time of Francis. It has grown to be an unofficial motto of the Franciscan family.
In the joyful and prophetic spirit of St. Francis, the Irish Franciscan friars are dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Christ by serving the poor and promoting justice, peace, and the care of creation.