Oldenburg Franciscan description
We strive to reflect in our lives and in our service our belief that an intimate relationship with our God calls us to responsible stewardship: delight with all creation, reverence for persons, responsible use of the earth’s resources, and freely sharing the gifts entrusted to us with those in need and less fortunate.
Francis and Clare gratefully acknowledged in the whole of their lives that “all is Gift,” and held deep respect for persons and nature as God’s special presence on earth. Francis’ lyric poem/prayer, The Canticle of Brother Sun, reflects the wonder he held in his entire being for all creation and the respect with which he and Clare both received creation as gift. Francis’ love of animals, in particular, has been popularized over the years. More importantly, both Clare and Francis fostered a simple life style, emphasizing the empowerment of people and the thoughtful stewardship of all material resources. Both were committed to protecting the integrity of each person and the world’s environment.
Because they viewed all creation as gift, Francis and Clare enjoyed earthly things as few other people have enjoyed them. They shared a sense of great gratitude for God’s gifts which was demonstrated in their unconditional dependence upon God’s providence, a trust which was for them a source of great joy.
Words by and about Francis and Clare
- “The Abbess should provide the sisters with clothing prudently, according to the needs of each person and place, and seasons and cold climates, as it shall seem expedient to her.” (The Rule of St. Clare, II, 9)
- “And if she is suitable, let the words of the Gospel be addressed to her, that she should go and sell all that she has and take to distribute to the poor. If she cannot do so, her good will suffices. And let the Abbess and her sisters take care not to be concerned about the candidate’s temporal affairs, so that she may freely dispose of her possessions as the Lord may inspire her.” (The Rule of St. Clare, II, 4)
- “And each friar should confidently make known his need to the other, so that he might find what he needs and minister it to him. And each one should love and care for his brother in all those things in which God will give him grace, as a mother loves and cares for her son. And he who does not eat should not judge the one who does.” (The Earlier Rule of St. Francis, IX, 10-12)
- The Canticle of Brother Sun expresses the deep love and reverence Francis had for all of God’s creatures.
- Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31: Passages regarding creation with the frequent refrain and God saw that it was good.
- Matthew 25: 14-20: Responsible servants
- I Corinthians 12: 1-11: Passage on giftedness of all persons
- Romans 8: 22: “From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know has been groaning in one great act of giving birth.”