Franciscan Sisters of Peace
The Franciscan Sisters of Peace are a Roman Catholic community of women in consecrated life found in the United States, who minister or have ministered in the Archdiocese of New York, Archdiocese of Newark and Archdiocese of San Francisco, as well as the Diocese of Paterson, Diocese of Metuchen, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Diocese of Albany, Diocese of Gallup and Diocese of Tucson. The community is rooted in both the Catholic penitential movement and the pattern of Gospel life known as the Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis.
Early in his ministry, Saint Francis of Assisi offered guidelines that became the foundation of what became the third form of Gospel life. Franciscan lay penitents soon began living in community, professing vows, and doing works of charity. This movement soon developed into religious congregations of the Third Order Regular, including the Franciscan Sisters of Peace.
History of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace
In 1865, three Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart journeyed from Gemona del Friuli, Italy to New York City to minister and provide for the needs of Italian immigrants in the city. These women had a dedicated pioneering spirit that attracted vocations and gave impetus to diverse ministries, and also brought peace to others through their works of mercy and justice.
In 1986, one hundred and twelve vowed women of the St. Francis province co-founded a new Institute of Consecrated Life of Diocesan Right known as the Franciscan Sisters of Peace, based in Haverstraw, New York. The new congregation embodied a new expression of the charism of Saint Francis: peace. As mentioned by the congregation, peace is the fruit of a life based on four fundamental values: contemplative prayer, conversion, poverty, and minority (humility). The Franciscan Sisters of Peace are rooted in the pioneering spirit, faith and trust in Divine Providence characteristic of the early sisters.
The mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace is to proclaim and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the footsteps of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Today, they continue to spread their mission of peacemaking in a variety of ways as teachers, social workers, administrators, parish associates, prison chaplains, retreat directors, day care workers and health care workers.
The Franciscan Sisters of Peace are also one of five religious communities (along with the Sisters of Mercy, the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament) responsible for the creation in 1995 of Marian Woods, a healthcare facility for residents that range in age from 65 years to 100 years of age. Each resident is a member of the founding congregations and has a debilitating condition that has impaired their ability to perform every day tasks.
Philosophy of the Congregation
According to the Mission Statement of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace, the community states the following philosophy as guiding their mission in the world:
- We believe in a God of Wisdom, Beauty, and Goodness, who is Creator of all things.
- We believe that all creation is in relationship in and through Jesus Christ.
- We believe that a simple, non-violent life originates in Jesus Christ and continues in the tradition of Clare and Francis of Assisi.
- We believe that the sacredness of each human person and of the earth leads logically to non-violent, mutually affirming relationships.
- We believe that the Third Millennium must be dedicated to simple, non-violent living.
- We believe that women, children, the economically poor, sand the earth suffer from the absence of a simple, non-violent way of life.
- We believe that non-violence is a Franciscan way of seizing the moral initiative, breaking the cycle of humiliation, exposing injustices of systems and cultures, and claiming the power of truth.
- We believe that simple, non-violent living requires creativity, humor, moral imagination, trust, gentleness, frugality, and a willingness to suffer rather than retaliate.
- We believe that the desire for peace as a way of life connects persons of different religious traditions and cultures toward a profound and powerful realization of the Reign of God for the Third Millennium.
- As Franciscan Sisters of Peace, we believe that we can stir and encourage the imagination and create the concrete responses to violence needed in our lives today.
Mission of the Congregation
This is the Mission Statement of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace, as quoted from their website:
- We commit to educating toward a lifestyle characterized by the Christian and Franciscan perspective of simplicity and non-violence in a global community.
- Peacemaking is the charism of our Community. As our ongoing mission in this regard, we:
- continue the peacemaking features of the ministries of the Sisters and Associates in the Newsletter of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace;
- establish a regular column in the Newsletter for educating about simplicity and non-violence;
- develop knowledge of and access to resources and reference materials that can be used for programs in the home, community, and classroom.
- recite daily the Pax Christi Peace Prayer and encourage others to do so.
- Along with our life of prayer and our commitment to social justice, we look to the arts as a means of stimulating imagination, humor, sensitivity, and a moral voice about peacemaking. We:
- endorse art forms of music, video, dance, etc. to share stories of peace;
- teach and encourage others in similar projects;
- work towards the creation of violence-free areas and violence-free responses in our everyday lives;
- network with other persons and organizations to promote peace.
- In the tradition and spirit of Saint Francis, we pray for peace and strive to develop it in our own hearts and lives as well as to bring it to the lives of those with whom we minister.
- "Currently Active Religious Orders in the Archdiocese of Newark," http://www.rcan.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_id=385, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "Franciscan Sisters of Peace: Who We Are", http://mysite.verizon.net/connell.jim/whoweare.htm, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "History of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace," http://fspnet.org/heritage.htm, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "A History of the Five Orders: Franciscan Sisters of Peace," http://www.marianwoods.org/history.htm#peace, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "The Creation of Marian Woods," http://www.marianwoods.org/about.htm#index, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "Philosophy of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace," http://fspnet.org/pinstitu.htm#philosophy, accessed April 25, 2011.
- "Mission of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace," http://fspnet.org/pinstitu.htm#mission, accessed April 25, 2011.