Fraternity Statutes

San Damiano Cross













We, the Secular Franciscans of the St. Frances X. Cabrini Fraternity,

called by Baptism to holiness, are called by the Holy Spirit to follow the example of St. Francis of Assisi who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life.   By profession and urged by the Spirit, we commit to reach the perfection of charity and to live the Gospel in the manner of St. Francis by means of the Rule approved by the Church.

By living in community we foster prayer, study and love for the Scriptures and continual conversion.   Our spirituality is centered on the Person and on the following of Christ.   Christ, poor and crucified, is our “book” in which we find the purpose and the way of life.

We pledge full communion with the Pope, bishops and priests and unwavering obedience to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church

and its teachings.




The Fraternity


1.1        The name of the Fraternity is St Frances X. Cabrini Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order.


1.2        The St. Frances X. Cabrini Fraternity, herein after referred as “the Fraternity”, is an organic union of Secular Franciscans, established canonically on December 8, 1946. It is part of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Region of the Secular Franciscan Order in the given geographical area of northern Ohio.


1.3        It is animated and guided by a Council whose members are duly elected.


1.4         It is organized and functions in conformity with the Code of Canon Law, and the following OFS documents: the Rule, the General Constitutions, the Ritual, the International Statutes, the National Statutes, the Regional Statutes and these Fraternity Statutes (cf. General Constitutions, article #4.1)



The Fraternity Council


2.1       The purpose of the Fraternity Council is to animate and guide the Fraternity.


2.2       Membership:   The Fraternity Council is composed of the following offices: Minister, Vice-minister, Secretary, Treasurer, Councilor and Master of Formation.   The Spiritual Assistant of the Fraternity forms part of the council by right.


2.3       Duties:

  • a.   The duties of the Fraternity Council are defined in the General Constitutions Article 50.
  • b.   The duties of each of the offices in the Council are defined in the General Constitutions Articles 51 and 52
  • c.    Interpretation of the Fraternity Statutes belongs to the Fraternity Council.
  • d.   The Fraternity Council should expend great care to provide for thought-provoking activities and programs to foster Franciscan life and to deepen Franciscan spirituality among the Fraternity members. (National Statutes Art. 18.9)
  • e.   The Fraternity’s records, registry and documents will be kept by the Fraternity’s councilor.
  • f.   All activities within the Fraternity are to be approved by the Council.

2.4       Elections:

  • a.   Every three years, the Fraternity elects the Minister and the Council in the way established by the Constitutions. (cf. General Constitutions, article #49.2)
  • b.   A transition period of 2 months shall take place prior to the installation of the newly elected Council.  During this period the new Council members shall observe and be instructed and trained by the current Council members in the performance of their specific duties.   This transition period shall also be a time for the new Council members to study and become familiar with the Fraternity Statutes.


2.5   Meetings:

  • a.   The Fraternity Council shall meet on a regular basis once a month.
  • b.   Quorum: 50% plus one of the membership of the Fraternity Council constitutes a quorum for conducting official business at any meeting.
  • c.   The Fraternity Council may conduct business electronically, provided that any decisions and determinations made in this way are reviewed and ratified at the next regular meeting of the Council. (cf. National Statute 23.6)
  • d.   The Fraternity Council meetings are open to other members of the Fraternity.
  • e.   The Council, under special circumstances, may request a Council meeting to be closed to Council members only in its entirety or at a specified portion of the meeting.
  • f.   Minutes of these meetings are confidential. They are approved at the following Council meeting and kept in the Fraternity Archives.
  • g.   The Fraternity Council shall conduct an Annual Council Chapter at which the activities of the past year and plans for the following year will be reviewed. This annual meeting is to take place during the Council meeting in the month of December unless a change of date is approved by the Fraternity Council.


2.6   Newsletter:

  • a.   The Fraternity Newsletter is The Cabrinian.
  • b.   The office of Editor for The Cabrinian is to be appointed by the Council and is to last for a period of one year.
  • c.   The Cabrinian, representing the voice of the Council, belongs to the Council. It serves the Fraternity members as an aid in their formation in the Franciscan way of life and as a means to communicate related activities within and outside the Fraternity.
  • d.   Fraternity members are invited and encouraged to write articles in The Cabrinian.
  • e.   All contents of The Cabrinian will be reviewed by the Council or by a minimum of two of its members prior to publication.


2.7   Website:

a.   The purpose of the Fraternity’s website is:

  1. To serve as an extension of the Fraternity Newsletter, The Cabrinian.
  2. To increase awareness and provide information about the Secular Franciscan Order.
  3. To provide contact information to those interested in learning more about the OFS.
  4. To provide links with other Franciscan institutes.

b.   The Website belongs to the Fraternity Council.

c.   A Webmaster is appointed by the Fraternity Council to design and maintain the Fraternity website. The Webmaster may or may not be a Council member.

d.   Besides the Webmaster, the Council will appoint one Council member to monitor the Fraternity website.

e.   All material to be placed in the website by the Webmaster is to be approved by the Council representative prior to its inclusion.




Spiritual Assistance


3.1     The spiritual and pastoral care of the OFS, entrusted by the Church to the Franciscan 1st Order and the TOR, is the duty, above all, of their general and provincial ministers.  The “altius moderamen” belongs to them.   The purpose of the altius moderamen is to guarantee the fidelity of the OFS to the Franciscan charism, communion with the Church and union with the Franciscan family (cf. General Constitutions Article 85).

3.2     The provincial ministers and other major superiors guarantee the spiritual assistance to the Fraternity. (cf. General Constitutions Article 88.1)

3.3     The Fraternity Council shall request suitable and well prepared Spiritual Assistants from the major superior of the jurisdiction responsible for the spiritual assistance. (cf. General Constitutions Article 91)

3.4      The Fraternity Council does not decide upon or appoint a Spiritual Assistant on its own authority.   The competent major superior appoints the Spiritual Assistant according to the norms of the General Constitutions and of the Statutes for Spiritual and Pastoral Assistance to the OFS.  (cf. General Constitutions Article 91.3)

3.5      The Spiritual Assistant is by right, with vote, a member of the Fraternity Council.   The Spiritual Assistant does not exercise the right to vote in financial questions (cf. General Constitutions Article 90.2)




Fraternal Life


4.1       Definition of membership:

a.   Active and excused members:

1.   “Active member”: a member who participates by attending fraternity gatherings and by providing financial support to the community according to his/her ability.

2.   “Excused member”: a member who, for valid reasons such as health, family, work or distance, the Fraternity Council has excused from one or more of the obligations of a Secular Franciscan. Excused status can be permanent or temporary.

  • a-   A professed member, if able, shall put a request in writing to the Fraternity Council to request an “Excused” status.
  • b-   Only the Fraternity Council, and not just an individual Council member, has the sole authority to approve or disapprove an application for an “excused” status.  The Council has the option to invite the requesting member to a meeting to present his/her case.
  • c-   The Fraternity Council will determine the duration for which the member will   be excused.   This duration shall not exceed one year.   The Council shall convey its decision to the member in writing and this will be recorded in the Fraternity’s archives.   In extraordinary situations, the Council has the authority to determine an “Excused” status to be permanent.
  • d-   If the “Excused” status is temporary, it will be reviewed at the end of the duration period, at which time the Council, after discussion with the“Excused” member, will approve or disapprove an extension period.
  • e-   Excused members are part of the fraternity membership and are reported on the Region’s annual report.
  • f-   “Excused” members are excused only from attending Fraternity gatherings and from participation in its activities/ministries.   Those who are excused areexpected to continue to follow the OFS Rule as fully as possible.   This includes contributing to the monthly common fund and the annual Fair Share donations according to his/her ability.   In turn, the Fraternity has the responsibility to keep the “Excused” member informed of the activities of the Fraternity.

b.   Lapsed:

1.   “Lapsed”: a brother or sister who neither attends Fraternity gatherings, nor supports the community financially, nor have valid reasons due to health, family, work or distance, and who, after personal invitations to return to the Fraternity, rejects or ignores the invitation.

2.   Lapsed status will be determined by the Council with a secret vote of 50% plus one vote of the membership of the Fraternity Council. The member shall be notified of such status in writing.

3.   Lapsed brothers or sisters are not part of the Fraternity membership and are not reported as members to higher Fraternity Councils (cf. National Statutes Article 18.7 b). Membership in the Secular Franciscan Order is not affected.


4.2      Fraternity Affiliates:

  • a-   Definition:   “Fraternity Affiliates” are regular guests at Fraternity gatherings and activities of the Fraternity.   They are not members of the Fraternity, therefore their names are not recorded in the Fraternity roster or attendance sheet.
  • b-   Fraternity Affiliates are not eligible to vote on election of Council offices or in any other activity of the Fraternity requiring members to vote.
  • c-   Fraternity Affiliates are not eligible to hold a Council position nor be assigned or in charge of any of the Fraternity’s apostolates.   Although allowed to participate in its apostolates and ministries, they do not perform these as representatives of the Fraternity or of the Secular Franciscan Order.
  • d-   If a Fraternity Affiliate discerns a call to become a Secular Franciscan, his/her entrance into the Order shall be carried out according to the General Constitution Articles 37-43.


4.3      Fraternity gatherings:

a-   Fraternity gatherings shall take place once a month.

b-   Each of the following activities should be present at every gathering:

  • -prayer
  • -business/announcements
  • -ongoing formation
  • -social time

c-   Ongoing formation:

  1. The formation of the brothers and sisters takes place in a permanent and continuous way.   It should be understood as an aid in the conversion of each and everyone and in the fulfillment of their proper mission in the Church and society.   (cf General Constitutions Art. 44.1)
  2. Ongoing formation is the responsibility of all professed members under the direction and guidance of the Fraternity Council.
  3. All ongoing formation to be presented is to be approved by the Council beforehand.
  4. The Fraternity and its Council should foster love for the Scriptures and help the brothers and sisters to know and understand it as it is proclaimed by the Church with the assistance of the Spirit (cf General Constitutions Art. 9.2).

d-    Attendance:

  1. The Fraternity is the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for enlivening the apostolic life of its members (cf Rule 22).   Its origin is found in the inspiration of St. Francis to whom the Most High revealed the essential gospel quality of life in fraternal communion (cf General Constitutions Art. 28.1).   Moreover, its members, at profession, pledged to spend their efforts to make the Fraternity a genuine ecclesial assembly and a living Franciscan community (Rite of Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order).   As such, attendance at the Fraternity gatherings is expected.
  2. Fraternity members who are not able to attend a gathering should contact one of the Council members or the designated attendance taker in advance to ask to be excused from the specified gathering.
  3. Fraternity members who have 3 consecutive unexcused absences from monthly gatherings, or have habitual unexcused absences throughout the year, will be contacted by the Council to discuss, in a fraternal way, the circumstances leading to the unexcused absences and to re-educate them about their commitment to life in fraternity in the Franciscan way of life.
  4. In the event of persistent and unexcused default of a Fraternity member in the obligations of life in the Fraternity, the Council may decide, with a secret vote, to assign a “lapsed” status to the member in accordance to Article 4.1b of the Statutes of the Fraternity.


4.4       Prayer life:

a.   The spirituality of the Secular Franciscan is a plan of life centered on the person and on the following of Christ.

b.   The Eucharist is the center of the life of the Fraternity. As such, the Fraternity commits to visit Jesus, in adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, on a daily basis.

c.   The Fraternity members should “let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.”   (Rule 8)

d.   Members are to join in prayer in one of the forms proposed by the Church, reliving the mysteries of the life of Christ (Rule 8).  These prayers may be (cf  Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order):

  1. Morning and evening prayer from The Liturgy of the Hours, either in common or in private. These celebrations are to be preferred at the fraternity meeting.
  2. A shortened form of The Liturgy of the Hours according to forms adapted to the local Churches.
  3. The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  4. The office of the Passion written by St. Francis of Assisi.
  5. The office of the twelve Our Fathers in one of its many versions that have been enriched with short biblical readings and also adapted to the structure of The Liturgy of the Hours, especially since this form of prayer still thrives in many parts of the world and is a useful way of praying in everyday circumstances.




Entrance into the Order


5.1      Entrance into the Order shall be carried out according to the General Constitutions Articles 37-43.


5.2      The act of profession is registered and preserved in the records of the Fraternity. (cf. General Constitutions #42.5)




Transfer into the Fraternity


6.1    Transfer of a Secular Franciscan into the Fraternity

  • a.   A brother or sister who desires to transfer into the Fraternity shall first inform the Council of the fraternity to which he or she belongs and then makes the request, including the reasons for the transfer, to the minister of the Fraternity. (cf. General Constitutions, article # 55.1)
  • b.   The Fraternity secretary will provide the potential new Fraternity member with the Official Transfer form (Appendix A) to be completed and sent to the
  • Fraternity.
  • c.   The potential new member will provide the Council for review his/her Certificate of Profession to the OFS
  • d.   After having received all the necessary information, and after a period of not less than 6 months of participation in the Fraternity’s gatherings, activities and attendance at formation meetings, the council makes its decision of acceptance or decline of transfer and notifies the applying brother or sister.
  • e.   At the request of the Council, the potential new member may be requested to enroll and complete the full Formation program.
  • f.   The transfer, if accepted, is documented in the Fraternity registry.


6.2     Transfer of an Inquirer or Candidate to the Fraternity during  period of Formation

  • a.   An Inquirer or Candidate who has attended Formation at another OFS Fraternity, may request transfer to the Fraternity Formation program and be professed to the OFS as a member of the Fraternity.
  • b.   The Inquirer or Candidate who desires to be professed in the Fraternity shall first inform the Council of the fraternity he or she is receiving Formation from and then makes the request in writing, including the reasons for the transfer, to the Council of the Fraternity.   Included in this request should be the name of the Fraternity where Formation was taking place, the name of the Formation Director with contact information, and, as applicable, the dates of Orientation, Welcoming Ceremony and Rite of Admission.
  • c.   The Fraternity Formation Director will provide the potential new Inquirer or Candidate with the Official Transfer form (Appendix B) to be completed and sent to the Formation Director of the Fraternity.
  • d.   The potential new Inquirer or Candidate can attend the Formation classes and Fraternity gatherings while the Fraternity Council waits for the necessary documents.




Transfer out of the Fraternity


7.1       Transfer from the Fraternity to another fraternity shall be carried out according to the General Constitutions, Article 55.




Temporary and Definitive Provisions


8.1       Fraternal withdrawal, suspension, and dismissal shall be carried out according to guidelines provided by the General Constitutions Articles 56-60.




Relations with the Church


9.1       Rule #6 “They have been made living members of the Church by being buried and raised with Christ in Baptism; they have been united more intimately with the Church by profession.   Therefore, they should go forth as witness and instruments of her mission among all people, proclaiming Christ by their life and words.  Called like St. Francis to rebuild the Church and inspired by his example, let them devote themselves energetically to living in full communion with the pope, bishops, and priests, fostering an open and trusting dialogue of apostolic effectiveness and creativity.”


9.2      As a “visible sign of the Church” (cf. Rule OFS #22), the Fraternity is to be in the forefront supporting the initiatives promoted by the Church and its teachings in the public square.


9.3      The Fraternity shall assist and support the local Church through its apostolates and by lending its help to their specific needs.




Franciscan Youth/Young Adults


10.1     The Fraternity shall be ready to share its experience of evangelical life with the youth who feel attracted to St. Francis of Assisi and to seek the means of adequately presenting it to them.(cf. General Constitutions Article 96.1)






11.1    These Fraternity Statutes may be amended as the needs arise by a 2/3 vote of the full Fraternity Council.

11.2    Proposed amendments must circulate within the Fraternity Council at least 60 days prior to being voted upon.

11.3    Following an affirmative vote of an amendment by the Fraternity Council, the amendment will be submitted to the Regional Council for review and approval.

11.4    Following approval of the amendment by the Regional Council, the amendment will become part of the Fraternity Statutes.





Appendix A– Transfer of Secular Franciscan into Fraternity

Appendix B– Transfer of a person in Formation into Fraternity Formation program





St. Frances Cabrini Fraternity

Secular Franciscan Order

St. Maximilian Kolbe Region




  1. A) To be completed by Secular Franciscan:

NAME:                          ______________________________

DATE OF BIRTH:        ______________________________

ADDRESS:                    ______________________________





  1. B) To be completed by Minister or Secretary of current/previous Fraternity:


PROFESSED ON:        ______________________________ (date)

AT:        ______________________________ (City, State)

IN:         ______________________________ (Fraternity name)


FRATERNITY:        ______________________________ (Name)

AT:       ______________________________ (City, State)

ACTIVE UNTIL:       ______________________________ (last attendance)


OR SECRETARY: _____________________  Phone #:___________________



Signature of  Minister or Secretary with title



  1. C) To be completed by accepting Fraternity:




_________________________________________ IS HEREBY OFFICIALLY GRANTED PERMISSION TO


TRANSFER FROM __________________________________________________ FRATERNITY IN

                                                (name of Fraternity)

______________________________________________ TO THE ST. FRANCES CABRINI FRATERNITY OF

                     (City, State)


DATE:                                           ______________________________

MINISTER:                                  _________________________________

SIGNATURE OF MINISTER: ___________________________________







St. Frances Cabrini Fraternity

Secular Franciscan Order

St. Maximilian Kolbe Region





  1. A) To be completed by Inquirer or Candidate:

NAME:                          ______________________________

DATE OF BIRTH:        ______________________________

ADDRESS:                    ______________________________





  1. B) To be completed by Minister or Formation Director of previous Fraternity:


WELCOMING CEREMONY: ________________________________ (date)

________________________________ (City, State)

________________________________ (Fraternity name/Region)

RITE OF ADMISSION:           ________________________________ (Name)

________________________________ (City, State)

________________________________ (Fraternity name/Region)


NAME OF FRATERNITY MINISTER _____________________

Phone number: _____________          Email address: _____________________



Phone number: _____________           Email address: _____________________


_______________________________                             _________________

Signature of Minister or Formation Director with title                              Date


Please send the above information with a letter of recommendation to include:

  • -areas of strength/weakness
  • -material used for formation
  • -level of interest and commitment to the OFS
  • -suitability to become a Secular Franciscan
  • -attendance records to formation classes/gatherings

along with the letter of recommendation from a priest and Sacrament’s records

to:        ______________________________________________