Bideford Catholic Churches

The Secular Franciscan Order



The Secular Franciscan Order was founded by St Francis of Assisi for Ordinary people.

For many years it was known as the Third Order. The First Order being for Monks and Friars, the Second Order for Poor Ladies (Poor Clare Nuns). We are now known as The Secular Order, to distinguish us from the Two Orders for Religious.

In former times we were obliged to wear the habit, we now wear a medal, the Tau Cross which represents the tangible sign of our devotion and commitment to the way of life of St Francis of Assisi. When we die this medal should go with us!

St Francis is a saint for our times. His compassionate concern for peace, his care of the environment and his stress on the accumulation of spiritual rather than material goods. His infectious quality of life is still available to ordinary men and women through the Secular Franciscan Order. His call finds a response in the hearts of people the world over.

On 1st March this year, Petra Price and Carolyn Angwin-Thompson were fully professed, after three years of preparation, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception Clevedon Friary. Father Reg Grey OFM celebrated the Mass assisted by Deacon Vince Calder OFS from Tiverton. We were joined by several members of the Order, from Wales and the South West, for the service and afterwards enjoyed a shared lunch. Our Bideford fraternity now number six fully professed members.

We meet, once a month, in the parish room, after Holy Mass, for prayers and mutual encouragement. We pray for our Parish Priest, for vocations, for the people of our parish and for our own intentions.  We recite a daily office consisting of readings from the Psalms and Scripture and strive to follow in the footsteps of St Francis to "Build My Church". 

On 4th October, Feast of St Francis of Assisi, we celebrate by attending Mass and then meeting at Lynton for a meal together followed by afternoon tea with the Poor Clare sisters. We then join them for evening prayers. The Sisters pray for us constantly as we do for them.

[Sylvia Driscoll]

(Information provided for Parish In Council Meeting October 2014)