St Francis, The Third Order and Embracing Poverty

St Francis set the example for all Franciscans when he rejected the wealth which surrounded him and his family, and embraced Lady Poverty. Franciscan Aid attempts to walk in those footsteps. It is the "family" charity and, though very small, manages to make a difference in the lives of children and families around the world. Each £1 is carefully distributed and in all the projects supported it seems as though we Franciscans are spreading the light and love of Christ in some very dark places.

Extract from The Principles of the Third Order, the Third Aim, to live simply:

"The first Christians surrendered completely to our Lord and recklessly gave all that they had, offering the world a new vision of a society in which a fresh attitude was taken towards material possessions. This vision was renewed by Saint Francis when he chose Lady Poverty as his bride, desiring that all barriers set up by privilege based on wealth should be overcome by love. This is the inspiration for the third aim of the Society, to live simply.

Although we possess property and earn money to support ourselves and our families, we show ourselves true followers of Christ and of Saint Francis by our readiness to live simply and to share with others.  We recognise that some of our members may be called to a literal following of Saint Francis in a life of extreme simplicity. All of us, however, accept that we avoid luxury and waste, and regard our possessions as being held in trust for God.

Personal spending is limited to what is necessary for our health and well-being and that of our dependants.  We aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping ourselves constantly aware of the poverty in the world and its claim on us. We are concerned more for the generosity that gives all, rather than for the value of poverty in itself. In this way we reflect in spirit the acceptance of Jesus’ challenge to sell all, give to the poor, and follow him."