May 19, 2022

The Four Pillars

Franciscans Grow by Imitating Saint Francis and Becoming Pillars of the Church.

In 1210 Francis and his followers traveled to Rome to see Pope Innocent III and obtain approval for their way of life. It was crucial to Francis that he and his brothers followed the magisterium of the Church.  It was after his meeting with St Francis that the Pope saw in a dream the great church of St. John Lateran collapsing on itself. Just as it was about to fall, a small man appeared dressed in the clothes of a peasant. He took the weight of the falling church, held it up with his shoulder, and then straightened it back again. It was by this dream that convinced the Pope about St. Francis and the Franciscans and thus, Pope Innocent III approved the Rule of St. Francis. This Fresco depicts Francis supporting the Church.  
As Franciscans we believe that if we establish a firm foundation grounded in our faith in Jesus and His Church, we can stand as a testament to the love of Christ and withstand the ravages of evil as demonstrated by Saint Francis. We build our Franciscan Fraternity’s foundation on four pillars:

Spirituality, Formation, Fraternity and Apostolate

Each pillar does not stand by itself but supports the three other pillars. Together these four pillars all work to support our Fraternity of St. Francis as well as our entire Brothers and Sisters of St. Francis region.
Throughout our website you will find examples of each of these four pillars and our Fraternity’s attempts to build our Fraternity and our Church by utilizing all four pillars in our growth to become faithful followers of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Spirituality Pillar:
The Spirituality Pillar is aimed at providing the foundation for a Franciscan identity and mindset.  This foundation includes prayer, discernment and contemplation.  Secular Franciscans pursue ongoing growth in spirituality utilizing methods such as praying the Liturgy of the Hours once per day, praying the Franciscan Crown Rosary, reading and discussing Church and Franciscan doctrine and spending time in Adoration with our Lord in Church to name a few.
The Formation Pillar:
The Formation Pillar is intended to mold and shape the individual’s charism throughout their Secular Franciscan journey.  Formation includes Orientation, Initial Formation, and Ongoing Formation.  Formation may include reading and discussing books about St. Francis & St. Clare, or spending time with our Spiritual Assistant or discussing the Pope’s Encyclicals, or digesting the SFO General Constitutions or Rules.  Formation is never ending and our conversion and growth ongoing whether we are in Inquiry, Candidacy or Professed in our Franciscan vocation.
The Fraternity Pillar:
The Fraternity Pillar is the interactive piece aimed at living the formed spirituality with those who are on the same journey.  We at the Fraternity of Brother Francis meet monthly for gatherings and fraternity business.  We take trips together such as our visit to St. Lawrence Basilica in Asheville, NC, attend annual regional conferences and Franciscan events such as the Transitus with our brothers and sisters at St. Maximillian Kolbe Fraternity in Huntersville.  Fraternity events gives us an opportunity to grow together in our faith, charism and friendship with one another.
The Apostolate Pillar:
The Apostolate Pillar has a twofold intent  (1) working with fellow Franciscans in a cooperative, collaborative, manner respecting the gifts and person of each member of the group and (2) providing service, the service rendered is a Gospel response to our community performed done by a group who is “of one mind and one heart” communicating an example of the early Christian community.  An example of our Apostolate efforts include helping out with Mass at Abernathy Laurels and Pinecrest Retirement Communities and leading the Franciscan Crown Rosary  for the laity, after the First Friday Mass during Adoration at St. Joseph’s Church in Newton, NC.