Faith » Our Franciscan Tradition

Our Franciscan Tradition

 

Regina High School is a Catholic School founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Third Order of St. Francis.

The Franciscan Order is the largest religious order in the Catholic Church and Franciscan institutions like Regina follow the traditions and spirituality started by St. Francis of Assisi over 800 years ago. St. Francis is a saint who is often portrayed by artists as being surrounded by birds and other animals. You will see many statues of him here at Regina. You will see other Franciscan symbols here, such as the San Damiano crucifix, the Tau, and the crossed arms of Jesus and St. Francis. The transformation or conversion of St. Francis took several years, but eventually, through prayer, reading the Scripture, and celebrating the sacraments, he developed a very close, personal relationship with Jesus that led him, his friend St. Clare, and the first Franciscans to begin a Catholic religious movement that attracted thousands of others to a life based on virtues that are summarized in the Franciscan Core Values of Regina High School. These include:
  • Reverence for each person—Just as Francis embraced a leper as a brother in Christ, so we see Christ in all people and believe in and respect the unique dignity of every person.
  • Community—Just as Francis formed a group of men and women that eventually grew to be the largest religious order in the Church, so we foster an affirming community of trust and love.
  • Service—Just as Francis devoted his life to serving the poor, we joyfully serve one another, society, and the Church.
  • Peace and Justice—Just as Francis began a worldwide movement based on the Gospel values of Jesus, we promote a society in which all can realize their full potential and achieve the common good.
  • Stewardship—Just as Francis experienced and loved the presence of God in nature, so we care for and respect all of God’s creations and wisely use all of the earth’s resources.

In addition to these core values, the way Franciscans understand God and relate to Him is summarized in the following steps of Franciscan spirituality:

  1. God is absolute love, being, and creativity.  Creation is dependent upon God to exist.
  2. God has freely chosen incarnation (taking on human form) even before the human choice for sin.  Because of this,
  3. Christmas is of primary importance to us.
  4. Christ is the perfect image of who God is for creation.
  5. Every creature is unique, gifted, and living in a relationship.
  6. Nothing humans have the ability to do has the capacity to make God do something.
  7. Mercy, forgiveness, and justification are God’s actions.

At Regina, you will learn more about these steps in your Theology classes, and you will reflect on them as you complete your Christian Community Service.

Our goal at Regina is to help young women grow into a woman of faith and vision in the Franciscan tradition.  Becoming a saint did not change Francis’ true personality.  He remained the cheerful, generous, person God intended him to be.  The difference was that after his conversion everything Francis did was not for himself, but God and his neighbors.  God does not expect you to be another St. Francis or St. Clare, but he expects you to be yourself—your best self—and our job at Regina is to help each of you become the best you can be.  Franciscans greet each other with the Latin words “Pax et Bonum”—meaning peace and all good be with you. 

What is at the core of Franciscan life and spirituality?Franciscan Spirituality

Take a look at what was important to St. Francis. There you will find a good roadmap. The words and ideas below are exemplified by our Seraphic Father. Have you noticed how often they are repeated in initial and ongoing formation?

• The INCARNATION– the CRIB--we think of the humility of God, of His self-emptying. Francis was in awe of the Incarnation. Meditate on the story of Francis creating the first Nativity scene at Greccio.
• The CROSS – is the sign of God’s love made concrete. What do we see/experience when we GAZE on the cross? Meditate on Francis’s experiences with the Cross of Christ.
• The EUCHARIST- CHALICE/CIBORIUM –– “O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! The Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself
under an ordinary piece of bread!” (St. Francis-Letter to the Entire Order)
TRINITY Franciscan life focuses on the Trinity. Francis saw that God is so generous that his love not only flows among the persons of the Trinity, it overflows to us. And we participate in the life of the Trinity.
CONTEMPLATION – We spend time with Jesus, and we LISTEN; we desire not only to imitate him. Our goal is to be TRANSFORMED so that we are like him from the inside out.
CONVERSION/METANOIA - We are people of penance-This means that we strive for daily spiritual improvements and changes that will bring us closer to Christ. “Let us begin, for up to now, we have done little…” (St. Francis quoted in The Life of Blessed Francis: FA:ED, vol. 2, p. 640 by St. Bonaventure)
CREATION/CREATURES – God is absolute LOVE, BEING, AND CREATIVITY. Francis saw all creation as being marked with the imprint of the Father. Creation is God’s great gift and is dependent on Him to exist.
RELATIONSHIP- Francis saw the relationship of the Father and the Son through the love of the Holy Spirit. We are in a relationship with God, our brothers, sisters, and all of creation - UNIVERSAL KINSHIP.
FRATERNITY springs from the relationship we have with God, our brothers, sisters, and all creation. “The Lord gave me some brothers…” (St. Francis)
CHARISM - Like St. Francis, we strive to make Christ present in the world by living the Gospel in HUMILITY and SIMPLICITY. As Secular Franciscans, we do this while living in the world. “The Rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this…” (OFS Rule: Article 4)
SCRIPTURE – To live the Gospel, we need to make it part of our lives through reading, meditation, and study. “…going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.” (OFS Rule: Article 4)
TRANSFORMATION – We use the gifts God has given us to become more Christlike. The Divine Spark never changes. We cooperate with the grace given us, and we become conformed to Christ.
PRAYER – none of this is possible without prayer. We pray together, we pray alone, we pray with our voices, we pray silently and without words. (Our prayer is liturgical, personal, and communal)