COLLEGIAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANCE TO THE SFO
Valentine Redondo OFMConv., General Assistant SFO
[Translated by: Chito Raņoa, OFM]
This talk covers the service of spiritual assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order at the various levels: local, regional and national. Speaking of regional and national assistance, I include collegial assistance, always given by the presence and assistance of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular, be it in the regional or the national level. And since the Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order is one  in the regional and national levels, there should be one assistance, done by the Assistants of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular as one Conference to whom "the Holy See has entrusted the pastoral care and the spiritual assistance." 
After talking about the office of the Visitor, where I make a short historical review, then, of the Commissary and of the Director of the Third Order as links that lead us to the Spiritual Assistant of the Secular Franciscan Order, I will dwell on the collegial spiritual assistance seen in the light of the new Statutes for the Spiritual and Pastoral Assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order (=Statutes), approved by the Conference of Ministers General of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular (TOR), on March 28, 2002. Today, the spiritual and pastoral assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order "is done according to the present Statutes common to the four Orders (OFM, OFM Conv., OFM Cap, TOR) and is carried out collegially from the highest to the local levels." 
I add some reflections on the pastoral Visitation, assistance to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra), and the formation and information of the friars of the First Order and the Third Order Regular (TOR) about the Secular Franciscan Order. In the conclusion I will give a picture of the ideal Assistant as seen and painted by the National Fraternity of France.
The Rule of the Knights of St. James, approved by Alexander II with the bull Benedictus Deus (July 5, 1175), sent to the Master of St. James, Pedro Fernandez, asks that suitable visitors be chosen. 
The same is literally repeated in the bull Benedictus Deus in donis suis (March 9, 1206) of Innocent III, sent to Fernando Gonzalez, Master of St. James, by which he confirms the privileges granted to the Order of St. James. 
This also appears in the bull Dilectus filius Durandus de Osca (May 26, 1212) of Innocent III, where the pope approves the Poor Catholics of Durandus of Osca. This bull says that the purpose of the visitation is to watch over sound doctrine and ecclesiastical honesty. 
The creation of the Visitor is generally traced to canon 12 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215).
The Memoriale Propositi
As frequently mentioned in the Memoriale Propositi, the Visitor is the supreme authority to whom one turns to in matters of spiritual and juridical character. The document does not indicate if the Assistant is a priest or a lay person. Nor does it say anything about the duration of his task. The following, however, are his duties:
"And both the brothers and the sisters shall have their fur garments of lamb's wool only. They are permitted to have leather purses and belts sewn in simple fashion without silken thread, and no other kind. Also other vain adornments they shall lay aside at the bidding of the Visitor." (art.4).
"After these particulars are complied with, when the year is up and he seems suitable to them, let him on the advice of some discreet brothers be received on this condition: that he promise he will all the time of his life observe everything here written, or to be written or abated on the advice of the brothers, unless on occasion there be a valid dispensation by the ministers; and that he will, when called upon by the ministers, render satisfaction as the Visitor shall ordain" (art.30).
"The ministers of any city or place shall report public faults of the brothers and sisters to the Visitor for punishment." (art.35.1).
"and if anyone proves incorrigible, after consultation with some of the discreet brothers he should be denounced to the Visitor, to be expelled by him from the brotherhood, and thereupon it should be published in the meeting" (art.35.2).
"If anyone learns that scandal is occurring relative to brothers and sisters, he shall report it to the ministers and shall have opportunity to report it to the Visitor. He need not be held to report it in the case of husband against wife" (art.36).
"The Visitor has the power to dispense all the brothers and sisters in any of these points if he finds it advisable" (art.37).
"In all the above mentioned points no one is to be obligated under guilt, but under penalty; yet so that if after being admonished twice by the ministers he should fail to discharge the penalty imposed or to be imposed on him by the Visitor, he shall be obligated under guilt as contumacious" (art.39).
The Rule of Nicholas IV
The Rule of Nicholas IV asks that the Visitor be a Friar Minor. This Rule, in contrast to the Memoriale Propositi, defines that the Visitor must be a Friar Minor and must not be a lay person.
"Which when all these things have been conducted to completion, after the space of a year, with the counsel of some of the distinguished brothers, if he seems to be suitable to them, let him be received in this manner, namely, that he promise that he will observe all the divine precepts, and also make satisfaction (as is necessary) for the transgressions, which he has committed against this manner of living, when requested to do so according to the will of the Visitor" (c.II, On profession).
"Let the brothers and sisters above all of this fraternity, commonly be dressed in cloth humble in price and colour, not utterly white nor black, unless it has been dispensed for a time in some place by means of the Visitors on the counsel of the ministers, on account of a legitimate and manifest reason" (c.III, On the Manner of Dressing).
"Since indeed the present form of living takes its institution from the afore-praised Blessed Francis, we counsel, that the Visitors and formators be taken from the Order of Friars Minor, whom the custodes and/or guardians of the same Order, have directed to be assigned [for this purpose], when requests of this kind have been made. But, We do not want a gathering of this kind to be visited by a layman. Moreover, let the duty of this kind of visitation be exercised once a year, unless at the suggestion of some necessity it has to be done many times" (c.XVI, The Visitor of the Order).
The Rule of Leo XIII
The Rule of Leo XIII talks about the Assistants:
"Let Visitors be picked from the First Order of the Franciscans or from the Third Order Regular, whom the Custodes or Guardians, if they have been asked, will designate. The duty of Visitor shall be forbidden to lay men" (c.III, art.3).
The Constitutions of 1957
The Constitutions of 1957, approved by the prefect of the Congregation for the Religious, Cardinal Valeri and the Secretary P. Larraone, talk of the Assistants: "According to the Constitutions of the Roman Pontiffs, the Third Order, in what concerns spiritual direction and internal disciple, is subject to the superiors of the three Families of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular" (art.97).
"The superiors of the four Franciscan Families govern the Third Order normally through the general, national, provincial and regional commissaries, and through the local directors" (art.105).
"The general commissary of the Third Order is appointed by the minister general on the advice of his definitory, and exercises his office by virtue of delegated power subject to the minister general himself." (art.107). The same article also says that the general commissaries foster "unity of action with the other Franciscans obediences, other Third Orders, and all other pious associations and works" (art.107.3).
"The national commissary - where one is necessary - is appointed by the minister general on the advice of his definitory and after consultation with the general commissary and the ministers provincial of the nation in question" (art.108).
"The provincial commissary is appointed by the minister provincial on the advice of his definitory, and he exercises his office by virtue of delegated power subject to the minister provincial" (art.109). And among the duties of the provincial commissary is "to foster unity of action with other Franciscan obediences, other Third Orders, and all other pious associations and works" (art.109.7)
"The regional commissary is appointed by the minister provincial after consultation with the provincial commissary. He directs his region in accordance with the regulations laid down by his superiors" (art.110).
"The local director or moderator is appointed in accordance with the regulations peculiar to each Franciscan Family... In the spirit of our holy Father Francis, all the members shall show him obedience and reverence" (art.111).
The director's duties are chiefly these:
1. to admit the postulants to the habit and the novices to profession, on the advice of his council; 2. to receive the above-mentioned both to the habit and profession, in accordance with the
3. to preside at the monthly meetings of the fraternity and at the sessions of the council;
4. to see to it that the councilors and the officers fulfill their duties diligently;
5. to impart the papal blessing and the indulgenced blessing on the appointed days;
6. to dispense individual members, for a just cause, from any precept of the rule or of these
7. to examine the registers of the fraternity and the books concerned with administration, to see
also that obligations are fulfilled - without, however, involving himself in financial matters
except to the extent enjoined by articles 131 and 144;
8. to preside at the election of the council, if this takes place outside the time of visitation"
"The visitor is designated according to the particular statutes of each Family" (art.117) and the same article continues to describe what can and should be done in the visitation.
The Friars Minors as Guides of the Penitents
The lay penitents began to ask advice from the Friars Minor and these offered them a norm of gospel life, while remaining in their homes. "To everyone he gave a way of life and indicated with certainty the way of the salvation according to each one's state of life."  Other legends affirm this when they remember that in the surrounding areas of Cortona a lady came to visit Francis to seek advice. The husband was cruel to her and was preventing her from serving the Lord. Francis consoles her and with his blessing asks her to go home because her husband will immediately offer her comfort. When she meets her husband, he, after listening to the words she brings from the Saint, tells his wife: "My lady, let us serve the Lord and let us save our souls in our home." 
The Legend of Perugia tells of Francis full of joy as he tells the friars in Greccio: "There exists no greater city where the Lord has converted so many persons as in Greccio, a place so small." 
The Little Flowers also tells of the citizens of, according to some documents, Cannara, or Savurniano according to others, or Alviano for the Canonici, who, after the preaching of Saint Francis, wanted to follow him, leaving everything: houses, fields, families... Then the Saint tells them: "Don't be in a hurry and do not leave. I will tell what you should do to save your souls. And then he thought of founding the Third Order for the universal salvation of all." 
The laity who welcomed the advice of Francis and his friars are diffused all over Italy - there were friars also who promoted the lay penitents in the territories across the Alps following the advice of Francis of Assisi - and there was born the Order of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, who in the translation of the Anonymous of Perugia, done by Beguin, is more explicit: "The brothers gathered, then, in one Order which is called the Order of Penitence, and they made sure that it was approved by the Pope."  It was the brothers who were the first responsible  for the organization and promotion or creation of the so-called Third Order.
A tradition very much in agreement with the work done by the brothers with the laity says: "the brothers founded with them an Order which is called that of the Penitents, and which they made to be approved by the Pope." 
According to tradition, the Blessed Lucchesius and Buonadonna of Poggibonsi in Tuscany are the first secular Franciscans (tertiaries).  But I ask: Can we not speak, in a way, of Giacoppa de Settesoli or of Praxedes of Rome  as Franciscan penitents or tertiaries, or of John of Velitta of Greccio or of the Count Orlando of Chiusi de Alverna as Franciscan penitents or Franciscan tertiaries? Those who seek the advice of Francis of Assisi are penitents.
A very special consideration must be given to the theme of "collegiality" in the assistance to the fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order in the regional, national and international levels.  The creation of the Conference of Spiritual Assistants is resorted to precisely for the unity of the Secular Franciscan Order, also for the fact that the communication and the participation of the Assistants of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular would be richer and more creative. The 1957 Constitutions already asks the General and National Commissaries "to foster unity of action with the other Franciscans obediences, other Third Orders, and all other pious associations and works."  To achieve the creation of the Conference of Assistants, the animation on the part of the major Superiors of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular is necessary.
The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order begins with these words: "The Franciscan Family, as one among many spiritual families raised up by the Holy Spirit in the Church, unites all members of the people of God - laity, religious, and priest, - who recognize that they are called to follow Christ in the footsteps of Saint Francis of Assisi ... In this family circle the Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place."  It means that the Secular Franciscan Order is not an appendix of the Franciscan Family, but an integral moral personality in the same Family, in which "in various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church." 
The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order ends with the request for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance from the major Superiors of the First Order and the Third Order Regular as something that comes from the same charism, "as a concrete sign of communion and co-responsibility."  The General Constitutions express this collegial action in a much clearer and obvious way: "The major Superiors with jurisdiction in the same territory, are to establish together the most adequate means for carrying out collegially their mission with respect to the regional and national Fraternities of the SFO." 
If the General Ministers collegially develop their service to the Secular Franciscan Order, their immediate Delegates for the assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order, the General Spiritual Assistants, should be unified and should collegially fulfil their assistance, as they actually do, keeping the collegial spirit of the Conference of the Ministers General of the First Order and the Third Order Regular. In this same line are aligned the regional and national assistants, in relation to their Ministers Provincial and their Custodes, who form a Conference in territories where there is more than one Franciscan group.
If, on the general level, collegial assistance enjoys maximum stability and organization, it is necessary to strengthen it so that collegial assistance be not only a theory but a lived reality at the national and regional levels.
Spiritual assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order must respect the unity of this Secular Franciscan Order  and its program of organization and structure. In this sense, the First Order and the Third Order Regular must adopt or fulfil what is said in the Constitutions or in the Statutes regarding the Secular Franciscan Order.
The Ministers and the Custodes, as major Superiors, are invited to maintain dialogue, exchange of opinions among the respective councils and Ministers of the Secular Franciscan Order, as a sign of communion and of co-responsibility, when the candidates for Assistants are asked for and proposed. This exchange of opinions is a sign that we have understood the import and the mission of the Secular Franciscan Order, while we strengthen the foundations of collegiality at all levels.
Assistance is a service, in such a manner that neither power nor dominion should have a place where the Assistant works. Spiritual assistance must avoid turning the relationship of communion and exchange to dependency. In the service which the Conference of Assistants offers jointly, and each member in particular, there will appear various trimmings or characteristics of the mission, on which we want to comment as we continue.
The College of Spiritual Assistants and Its Relationship with the National Assistants
The assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order, whose purpose and objective is to uphold communion with the Church, give witness to fraternal love and the bond of communion among all those who wish to live the charism of Francis, as well as cooperate in one's formation, is undertaken collegially. In the context of the Conference of General Assistants, we have finished workshops for the Assistants of Eastern Europe (Frascati 1998), of Africa (Frascati 1998), of Italy (Assisi 1999 and 2003), of Central America (Diriamba-Nicaragua 1999, El Salvador 2002), of Cuba (2000), of the various parts of the world (Frascati 2002), of Romania (2003). The animation of the brothers to know and offer spiritual assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order is a responsibility and a task of each Assistant in the context of his Order, though this is still done in collaboration and in view of these two aspects: collegiality, a structure that must always be supported, outside the local fraternity, and the unity and autonomy of the Secular Franciscan Order.
The expression of collegiality which animates the four General Assistants of the Secular Franciscan Order are the monthly meetings, the appointed days, the monthly recollections, formation sessions for the Assistants, attendance at national chapters, pastoral visits and the preparation and publication of Koinonia, a small trimestral periodical which helps maintain communication with and formation of the Assistants, and which is at times used also by the SFO fraternities.
The Conference of Spiritual Assistants
On the international, national and regional levels, the Assistants, if they are more than one, form a Conference and collegially render their service of assistance to the SFO and to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra). 
Each Conference of Assistants functions according to its own internal by-laws.  The national and regional Statutes of the SFO establish the number of Assistants who are members of the national or regional council. 
The Regional Assistants
When speaking of regional Assistants, we refer to those of the SFO and of the Franciscan Youth (Youfra). Therefore, the regional Assistants:
- are appointed by the competent major Superior, after consultation with the respective regional council; 
- where more than one major Superior is involved in the appointment of the regional Assistant, the norms established jointly by the Superiors with jurisdiction in the territory of the regional fraternity shall be followed; 
- give their service to the regional council and see to the spiritual assistance to the regional fraternity; 
- if they are more than one, form a conference and render their service collegially; 
- it is the responsibility of the Conference of Regional Assistants, or of the Regional Assistant, if
there is only one:
+ to collaborate with the regional Council in the task of spiritual and apostolic animation of the secular Franciscans in the life of the Church and of society in the region; 
+ to collaborate, in a special way, in the formation of the leaders; 
+ to provide the pastoral visits of the local Councils of the SFO 
+ to ensure a presence at the local elective Chapters; 
+ to coordinate, at the regional level, the service of spiritual assistance, the formation of the Assistants and the fraternal union among them; 
+ to foster the interest of the friars in the SFO and in the Franciscan
Today, more than ever, the presence of the laity is called for as partners in the missions and in the activities of the friars.
Duties of the Regional Assistant
The Regional Assistant, as delegate of the major Superior or of the Conference of Major Superiors of the Franciscan family (First Order and the TOR) has the following duties of:
- keeping the major Superior and his Order informed on the life and activities of the SFO and of the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) in the region; 
- dealing with matters regarding the service of assistance given by his Order to the SFO and the Franciscan Youth (Youfra); 
- meeting the local fraternities assisted by his own Order in the region; 
- keeping constant fraternal contacts with the local Assistants of his own
The National Assistants
When speaking of national assistants, as mentioned in the preceding section, and of regional assistants, their service is rendered to the SFO and to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra). The national Assistants:
- are appointed by the competent major Superior, after consultation with the respective national council; 
- where more than one major Superior is involved in the appointment of the national Assistant, the norms established together by the Superiors with jurisdiction in the national territory shall be followed; 
- give their service to the national council and see to the spiritual assistance to the national fraternity; 
- if they are more than one, form a Conference and render their service collegially; 
it is the responsibility of the Conference of national Assistants, or of the national Assistant, if there is only one:
+ to collaborate with the national Council in the task of spiritual and apostolic animation of the secular Franciscans in the life of the Church and the society of the country; 
+ to collaborate, in a special way, in the formation of the leaders; 
+ to provide for the pastoral visits of the regional Councils of the SFO  and to ensure a presence at the regional elective Chapters; 
+ to coordinate, at the national level, the service of spiritual assistance, the formation of the Assistants, and the fraternal union among them; 
+ to foster the interest of the friars in the SFO and the Franciscan Youth (Youfra).
Duties of the National Assistant
The National Assistant, as delegate of the major Superior or of the Conference of Major Superiors of his Franciscan Family (First Order or the TOR) has the duty of:
- keeping the major Superiors and his Order informed on the life and activities of the SFO and of the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) in his country; 
- dealing with matters regarding the service of assistance given by his Order to the SFO and to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra); 
- meeting the local fraternities assisted by his own Order in the country; 
- keeping fraternal contacts with the regional and local Assistants of his
own Order. 
The Pastoral Visitation
Articles 92 to 95 of the SFO General Constitutions, which refer to pastoral visitation - and also those which refer to fraternal visitation -, do not present many changes. They have been restructured to make them more understandable, without suffering substantial modifications.
The pastoral visitation is a privileged moment of communion of the SFO with the First Order or with the TOR, and vice versa of the First Order and the TOR with the SFO. The visitation is also done in the name of the Church, and serves as a guarantee to the fidelity to the Franciscan charism and favours communion with the Church and with the Franciscan Family. 
We can summarize the importance of the pastoral visitation in the following points:
- pastoral visitation is a privileged moment of communion with the First Order and the TOR with the Secular Franciscan Order. The pastoral visitation is done in the name of the Church, and serves to reawaken the Franciscan gospel spirit, to assure the fidelity to the charism and the Rule, to offer help in the life of the fraternity, to strengthen the bond of unity of the SFO, and to promote a more effective belonging in the Franciscan Family and in the Church; 
- the Visitor strengthens the fraternity in its presence and mission in the Church and in the society; evaluates the relationships between the lay and the religious Fraternities; pays particular attention to the programs, methods and formative experiences; is interested in collaboration and in the spirit of co-responsibility among the leaders and the spiritual assistants; evaluates the quality of spiritual assistance given to the visited fraternity; animates the spiritual Assistants in their service and promotes ongoing spiritual and pastoral formation; 
- upon the request of the pertinent council, of the delegate, or of the Conference of Assistants, or of the lone Assistant, makes the pastoral visitation, in respect of the organization and of the proper legislation of the SFO; 
- for urgent and serious reasons, or due to the neglect of the Council or of the Minister to ask him, the pastoral visitation can be done through the initiative of the Conference of Spiritual Assistants or of the lone Spiritual Assistant, upon consultation of the Council of the SFO in the same level; 
- it is advisable to do the pastoral visitation together with the fraternal visitation, coordinating the program. The Visitor or the Visitors will communicate opportunely to the interested council the purpose and the program of the visitation. They will take into account the records and the books which contain the proceedings of the previous visitations, the election of the council and the administration of temporal goods. Then, they will make a report about the visitation, writing it in the Acta visitationis book of the fraternity being visited, and they will have it sent to the respective council which has done the visitation; 
- in the visitation to the local fraternity, the Visitor or the Visitors will
meet with the local fraternity and with the groups or sectors which compose it.
They will pay particular attention to the brothers in formation and to those
brothers who ask for individual meeting. They will proceed, when convenient, to
fraternal correction of the faults they discover. 
In the articles in the Constitutions of the SFO which treat on the Franciscan Youth (Youfra), various proposals have been enriched.
If the future of the Church and of the society is in the youth, this same view and these same aims are found and should be found present in the SFO, because anyone who is identified with and who loves the secular Franciscan charism, must at the same time proclaim and communicate it.  Thus the SFO fraternities are asked to trust in the appropriate initiatives and dynamics for promoting Franciscan vocations among the youth. The SFO fraternities must generously and enthusiastically provide the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) fraternities with a fraternal animator for the secular Franciscan formation. The invitation is likewise made to increase the fraternal relationships between the SFO fraternities and those of the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) through the appointment of a representative, on the part of both fraternities, in order to be part of each respective council. 
The major Superiors are to be informed about the quality of assistance rendered to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra),  since ultimately the one responsible is the major Superior, who appoints the Assistants who render service to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra). 
What has been said regarding assistance to the SFO holds for the assistance to the Franciscan Youth (Youfra).
Formation and Information about the SFO
The topic of introducing the Secular Franciscan Order into the programs of formation and studies in the First Order and of the TOR, for deepening the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the SFO and the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) on the part of the friars of the First Order and of the TOR, is a topic that is timely, necessary and important. I will give two reasons, aside from the fact that just knowing the SFO will make us love it, and loving it, will make us help it with fraternal affection. These are the two reasons:
The first reason is the welcome that the SFO must be accorded in the programs of studies of student-friars. It is like giving its identification card in the Franciscan Family. From the little syntheses which are offered from the novitiate on and which consider the SFO almost like an appendix in the Franciscan history of the First Order and of the TOR, the SFO is given it rightful place in the Franciscan Family and in the Church.
The second reason stems from the sense of complementarity in the same charism, the charism of Francis of Assisi, and which the Rule of the SFO is expressed thus: "In various ways and forms but in life-giving union with each other, they intend to make present the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church."  It is a charism which, including the religious, is presented as a mosaic, much richer in colours and complementary than the monochromatic colour of the friars.
The inclusion of the SFO in the programs of formation of the friars of the First Order and of the TOR will help us to understand much better our identity as a Franciscan Family. This will give us the occasion to understand the generative power of the Spirit when we allow ourselves to be overcome by the Spirit, as Francis did. What will the wind of communion and of co-responsibility not do in one Family like the Franciscan family?
The OFM Conventuals' General Statutes support us with a magnificent text as I conclude by affirming the task of formation and information of the conventual friars about the SFO and the Franciscan Youth (Youfra): "All the friars, from the time of their probation and throughout their years of study, should receive careful and diligent training in every aspect of the Secular Franciscan Order - its history, legislation, and customs - so that, from among these friars may be chosen spiritual assistants: men exemplifying the true Franciscan spirit and inspiring all tertiaries to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis. These friars should likewise foster mutual contact and collaboration with the other Franciscan obediences and with the Secular Franciscan Order under these other Franciscans' jurisdiction. Tertiaries should be encouraged to collaborate in every way in all Catholic apostolates." 
Just knowing the Secular Franciscan Order and the Franciscan Youth (Youfra) would enable us to share the same charism and propagate it, as our General Statutes ask: "All the friars should consider the Secular Franciscan Order as a modern, necessary complement to their charism, esteem it highly, and foster it zealously. Therefore, the friars should be solicitous that the tertiaries, trained in the school of evangelical perfection, be a leaven in their own secular sphere and witnesses to poverty, love, joy, peace, marital fidelity, obedience to the Church, apostolic Christocentrism and sincere devotion to the Virgin Mary." 
The Model Assistant
The model Assistant, described by the Council of the National Fraternity of France, shows the following features: 
- has a great quality of spiritual life, a strong interior life animated by regular prayer;
- has a sense of mystery;
- maintains an interior equilibrium (clarity with himself);
- is humble, has the sense of service;
- knows how to recognize his own limitations and accept them;
- has positive view of persons and a profound respect for the experiences of others;
- knows how to listen and knows how to wait;
- has a good dosage of common sense;
- concretely makes an effort in life;
- accepts being formed by the Fraternity;
- knows Saint Francis well.
 "The Secular Franciscan Order is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world" (SFO Rule 2). "(The Secular Franciscan Order) is formed by the organic union of all the Catholic fraternities" (CC.GG.1.3). "The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)... is divided into fraternities at various levels: local, regional, national and international" (CC.GG.1.5).
 Cf. CC.GG.87.1; 88.5; 90.3.
 "Suitable visitators are to be appointed who will faithfully visit the houses of the brothers within a year; and if they will encounter matters for correction, either they themselves offer corrections or refer the matters for correction to the general chapter." PL. 200, 1028.
 PL 216, 209.
 Cf. PL. 216, 601-602.
 1C. 37.
 2C. 38.
 LP. 34.
 The Little Flowers of Saint Francis, 16.
 Beguin, P.B., L'Anonimo perugino, Franciscaines, Paris 1979.
 "Married men and women, who were forbidden by marriage laws to separate, dedicated themselves upon the saving advice of the friars to a life of austere penance in their own homes." TC. 60.
 AP. 41.
 The first to use the term "Third Order" to refer to the penitents who spiritually join the Friars Minor is Bernardo da Bessa in his De Laudibus Beati Francisci, c.7.
 Thomas of Celano speaks of her as "the most famous among the nuns of Rome" (3C. 181), while Saint Bonaventure writes: "There was in the city of Rome a woman called Praxedes, famous for her piety" (LMmi I, 8,7).
 Cf. CC.GG.90.3.a-c.
 GG.CC.SFO (1957), art.107.3, 109.7.
 Rule SFO, 1-2.
 Rule SFO, 1.
 Rule SFO, 26.
 CC.GG. 88.5; cf. Ibidem, 61,1; 90,3; 91,2.
 Cf. Statutes for Spiritual and Pastoral Assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order (=Statutes), 4.1.
 Cf. CC.GG.90.3; Statutes, 21.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 16,2.
 Cf. Statutes, 16,3.
 Cf. CC.GG.91.2; Statutes, 21.1.
 Cf. CC.GG.91.2; Statutes, 16.2; 21.1.
 Cf. CC.GG.90.3.c; Statutes, 21.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.90.3.c; Statutes, 21.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. CC.GG.93.1-2; Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. CC.GG.76.2; Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 21.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 22.1.
 Cf. Statutes, 22.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 22.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 22.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.91.2; Statutes, 19.1.
 Cf. CC.GG.91.2; Statutes, 16.2; 19.1.
 Cfr. CC.GG.90.3.c; Statutes, 19.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.90.3.c; Statutes, 19.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. CC.GG.93.1-2; Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. CC.GG.76.2; Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 19.3.
 Cf. Statutes, 20.1.
 Cf. Statutes, 20.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 20.2.
 Cf. Statutes, 20.2.
 Cf. GG.CC.95.1 and 3.
 Cf. CIC 305.1; CC.GG.92.1; Statutes, 14.1.
 Cf. CC.GG.95; Statutes, 14.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.92.2; Statutes, 14.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.92.3; Statutes, 14.3.
 Cf. CC.GG.93.2 and 4; Statutes, 14.4.
 CC.GG.93.3; Statutes, 14.5.
 "All the friars should esteem it highly, and foster it zealously" GG.SS.OFMConv, 73.1. "In promoting the Secular Franciscan Order, the Franciscan spirit, which answers the needs of young people, should be greatly emphasized." GG.SS.OFMConv, 52.2. Among the specific responsibilities of the Pastoral Commission is found the "fostering of the SFO." Estatutos provincials de la Provincia de Espana OFMConv., 30.6.b.
 Cf. CC.GG.97.
 Cf. CC.GG.88.2; Statutes, 11.2.
 Cf. CC.GG.89.2; 96.6; Statutes, 12.1.
 Rule SFO, 1.
 GG.SS.OFMConv., 74.
 GG.SS.OFMConv., 73.1.
 Bolletino CIOFS, 1998, N.1.