The Mariani Fratres Minores are traditional Franciscans who take their inspiration from the primitive Franciscanism of St. Francis himself, who “as he was living there by the church of our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his Advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of Mercy and he brought it to fruition.” (Bon. Major Life, 3:1)
Through this example, therefore, of Saint Francis of Assisi and all the great Franciscan Marian Saints the “Mariani Fratres Minores” obtains its specific Marian Franciscan identity from a life of contemplation, which then becomes the source of its apostolic endeavors where it seeks direct personal contact with God's people, living as Our Dear Blessed Lord lived while in this life: going up the mountain to pray and then coming down to teach and admonish his people. In this way too, Saint Francis sought counsel from Brother Sylvester and Saint Clare on whether he was to pray only or also to preach, in response to which they both received from the Lord that he (Saint Francis) was to go out and preach.
So to in our own day the Marian Friars Minor wishes to live a traditional Franciscan form of life renascent of its origin in the imitation of Christ and that of Holy Father Saint Francis in all its simplicity and rigor; seeking to be imbued with the Gospel truth through the maternal mediation of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary mother of Christ and Advocate of Saint Francis. Seeking therefore as forms of the apostolate, any form of evangelization according to time and location as presented by God’s good providence; local catechism, popular as well as “Street” preaching, and simple good example, but also striving to establish a modern form of the “missions” inspired by Saint Junipero Serra. Seeking to create a spiritual center where the faithful can come to be formed and spiritually fed, thus providing the support they need in going out to the world, where they are called according to their state in life, taking Christ to the world, so that they may truly be the salt of the earth and a light set on a stand for all to see, striving to be a sign to all, of the truth of the faith and even of Christ himself.
The purpose of this form of religious life is oriented towards the spiritual growth and personal sanctification of its members, as well as towards the upbuilding of the local faith communities, in individual parishes and in the diocese as a whole.
It is for this we beg Our Lady to be our advocate and to conceive in us and bring to fruition the fullness of the Gospel truth for God's Glory and Honor, our salvation and that of our neighbor. Amen.
Who is St. Francis ?
He was the Vir Catholicus et Apostolicus ( the fully Catholic and Apostolic Man). In his encyclical Pope Pius XI writes very beautifully about the true St. Francis from which we cite some quotes below. The full encyclical can be downloaded below.
"This Saint, who was sent by Divine Providence for the reformation not only of the turbulent age in which he lived but of Christian society of all times". (n. 1)
"In union with the numerous Franciscan brotherhood call to mind and praise the works, the virtues, and the spirit of the Seraphic Patriarch. While doing this, they must reject that purely imaginary figure of the Saint conjured up by the defenders of modern error or by the followers of luxury and worldly comforts, and seek to bring Christians to the faithful imitation of the ideal of sanctity which he exemplified in himself and which he learned from the purity and simplicity of the doctrines of the Gospels." (n. 1)
"It seems necessary for Us to affirm that there has never been anyone in whom the image of Jesus Christ and the evangelical manner of life shone forth more lifelike and strikingly than in St. Francis. He who called himself the “Herald of the Great King” was also rightly spoken of as “another Jesus Christ,” appearing to his contemporaries and to future generations almost as if he were the Risen Christ." (n. 2)
"After much wavering and many doubts, through divine inspiration and through having heard at solemn Mass that passage from the Gospels which speaks of the apostolic life, he understood at last that he, too, must live and serve Christ 'according to the very words of the Holy Gospels.' From that time on he undertook to unite himself to Christ alone and to make himself like unto Him in all things. In 'all his efforts, public as well as private, he turned to the Cross of Our Lord, and from the moment he began to live as a soldier of Christ, the divers mysteries of the Cross shone round about him.'" (Thomas of Celano, Treatise on Miracles, No. 2) (n.11)
"The reason why Francis particularly loved poverty was because he considered it a special virtue of the Blessed Virgin, and because Jesus Christ on the Cross even more especially chose poverty for His spouse. Since then poverty has been forgotten by men and has appeared to the world both irksome and foreign to the spirit of the age." (n.16)
"St. Francis, following the example and words of Christ (Matt. xx, 26, 28; Luke xxii, 26), considered humility in his followers as the distinctive mark of his Order-namely, 'he insisted that his disciples be called ‘Minors,’ and the superiors of his Order ‘Ministers.’ He did this in order both to make use of the very language of the Gospels which he had promised to observe and to make his disciples understand by the name which they bore that they must go to the school of the humble Christ in order to learn humility.'” (St. Bonaventure, Legenda Maior, Chap. VI, No. 5)" (n.21)
"As a man who was truly Catholic and apostolic, he insisted above all things in his sermons that the faith of the Holy Roman Church should always be preserved and inviolably, and that the priests who by their ministry bring into being the sublime Sacrament of the Lord, should therefore be held in the highest reverence." (n. 23)
"We must speak also of the “beauty and cleanliness of purity” which the Seraphic Father “loved singularly,” of that chastity of soul and body which he kept and defended even to the maceration of his own flesh. We have already seen that as a young man, although gay and fashionable, he abhorred everything sinful, even in word. When later on he cast aside the vain pleasures of this world, he began to repress the demands of his senses with great severity. Thus at times when he found himself moved or likely to be influenced by sensual feeling, he did not hesitate to throw himself into a bush of thorns or, in the very depths of winter, to plunge into the icy waters of a stream." (n. 26)
"St. Francis, trained in the manly virtues We have written about, was called providentially to a work of reform for the salvation of his contemporaries and to assist in the work of the Church Universal." (n.30)
"As a matter of fact, by his practice of all the virtues in a heroic manner, by the austerity of his life and his preaching of penance, by his manifold and restless activity for the reformation of society, the figure of Francis stands forth in all its completeness, proposed to us not so much for the admiration as for the imitation of Christian peoples. As the Herald of the Great King, his purposes were directed to persuading men to conform their lives to the dictates of evangelical sanctity and to the love of the Cross." (n. 40)
"Not that they should become mere friends or lovers of flowers, birds, lambs, fishes or hares. He seemed filled with a great and tender affection for animals, and 'no matter how small they were' he called them all 'by the name of brother and sister'-a love which if it is kept within bounds is assuredly not prohibited by any law. This love of animals was due to no other cause than his own love of God, which moved him to love these creatures because he knew that they had the same origin as he (St. Bonaventure, Legenda Maior, Chap VIII, No. 6) and in them all he perceived the goodness of God. St. Francis, too, 'saw the image of the Beloved imprinted on all things, and made of these things a ladder whereby to reach His throne.'” (Thomas of Celano, Legenda, Chap. II, No. 165)" (n.40)
Seraphic Patriarch Saint Francis;
Pray for us!
Marian Friars Minor
In losing all, the soul has risen
To the pinnacle of the measureless;
Because it has renounced all
That is not divine,
It now holds in its grasp
The unimaginable Good
In all its abundance,
A loss and a gain impossible to describe.
Blessed Jacopone of Todi