“Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi
The Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago are a Catholic religious community who live and serve in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park neighborhood. We are a new community with a strong commitment to living the Franciscan life as brothers and sisters in Christ. From the beginning of Religious Life in the Western Church there have been men and women living the same charism, like St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. When St. Dominic and St. Francis began their communities in the 1200s, they continued the tradition of men and women sharing the same charism while living in parallel communities. Our community is in the initial stages of developing parallel branches of Franciscan Friars and Franciscan Sisters. Our intent is that as we grow the friars and sisters will continue to work together to spread the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ while serving our brothers and sisters in need.
Our life centers upon our relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Out of our life of prayer flow our apostolates–Eucharistic Adoration, service to the poor, Evangelization and teaching. We believe that if you can’t see Jesus in the Eucharist, you can’t see Him in the poor. Come join us as we work to serve our brothers and sisters in need!
Every religious community has a unique charism. A charism is a gift from the Holy Spirit, which gives the community its identity. You can’t pinpoint a charism in one word: the unique way of life of each community is their charism. It includes their life of prayer, their spirituality, their communal life and their apostolic works. Charisms are a gift to the Church in response to a particular need at a particular moment in history. (See Vita Consecrata: # 36) The elements below encompass our charism as Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago.
Our spirituality is Franciscan, following the remarkable example given to us by St. Francis of Assisi, who was inspired by Christ to live the Gospel in a radical, intentional way, with a particular attentiveness to ongoing conversion, Gospel poverty, and caring for the poor.
Our life of prayer includes Daily Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours in common, daily Eucharistic Adoration (eventually hosting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration), yearly week-long retreats and weekly days of recollection.
We live a consecrated Religious Life, embracing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience:
o Poverty entails the free renunciation of personal ownership, begging for needs of the community and accepting stipends for work without asking for a specific amount, as well as austere living in our religious house.
o Chastity means accepting the obligation of perfect continence for the sake of the kingdom of God, cultivating mature relationships within community and among God’s people and avoiding emotionally dependent relationships
o Obedience entails reverence and respect for the Pope, the local Ordinary and legitimate religious superiors.
Our Fraternal Life is fostered throughout the day, especially at meal times. We strive to develop the ability to anticipate the needs of one another and to share honestly and charitably at meetings.
Penance is essential in Religious Life. In individual rooms and common rooms we have “the minimum necessary not maximum allowed.” We keep all parts of the house and apostolic centers clean and wear the Franciscan religious habit.
Initial Formation is a process of preparation for profession of the three vows (also known as the Evangelical Counsels): poverty, chastity and obedience. It is essentially a “school of prayer,” a time for the new member to deepen in their relationship with God and knowledge of self, learning over time how to integrate their identity as a Franciscan friar or sister with the work of the apostolate. Stages include:
- Pre-postulancy (time for discernment)
- Postulancy (1 year, spent learning about the Liturgy, catechism, community life and spiritual development)
- Novitiate (2 years, during which one studies the vows, Franciscan History, Franciscan Spirituality the lives of Franciscan Saints and the Rule of Life while focusing on the development of one’s life of prayer)
- Temporary Vows (3 years, focusing on the integration of religious life and apostolate as well as the study of theology, while keeping rooted in prayer).
“Being rooted in the Eucharist is indispensable to our work. The future scope of ecclesial charity must be based on the “Eucharistic measure”: only what does not contradict, but rather finds and draws nourishment from the mystery of Eucharistic love and by the vision of the cosmos, man, and history that flows from it, can guarantee the authenticity of our giving and provide us with a sure foundation on which to build.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI