The Contemplative Community of St. Francis & St. Thérèse

We are an Ecumenical Community of Contemporary Christians Dedicated to a Life of Prayer
Made up of many denominations- We are Liberal & Conservative, Male & Female, Ordained & Lay, Catholic & Protestant-Our Unity lies in our Devotion to God

We are pleased to announce the formation of a Franciscan Religious Order within our group!

Home    Main    Community   Aspirations   Prayer Life   Contact   Documents  Links  About Us   Facebook  Counseling  

Spanish Translation

We are pleased to announce that our Community has formed a Franciscan Religious Order.  The Order is simply a deeper expression of what we're already doing within the Community. Under the direction of our Prior, we seek to live by the daily application of Bible reading, and the rhythm of prayer. We are sacramental, ancient in faith but modern in vision and contemporary in our worship. All are welcome to journey with us, to live and learn by God's Word. We live our lives according to the spirit of the Rule of Saint Francis and are guided by the Daily Aspiration and a modified Rule for our times.
This is
especially for those who have been called to a life of Deeper Reflection in Daily Prayer, frequent Scripture Reading, Personal Meditation, in service and commitment to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All are welcome to journey with us, regardless of denomination or differences in belief. If you already have a vocation and are interested in joining, if you feel called to a vocation, or if you feel that becoming a Third Order Franciscan is right for you, email the Prior for more information. Together, we will unite to form a beautiful way of knowing and serving Christ, to grow a deeper Spirituality and to serve Him in a life of prayer.                                                                                                 

Pax et Bonum!
                                                                                         VOCATIONS


             Rule for the Contemplative Community of St. Francis & St. Thérèse (Galatians 2:20)

Adopted Aug, 2017 under the Leadership Council of Bishops Tim Connelly
& William Conner and Monsignor Mary Janessa Howard
l.
  As a member of the Contemplative Community of St. Francis & St. Thérèse, I shall strive to follow the Christian teachings of love, sacrifice, kindness, devotion and generosity of spirit set forth in the lives of St. Francis of Assissi and St. Therese of Lisieux. They made Christ their imperative- the very center of their lives.


 ll  I will seek the living Christ in the people I meet. That is in friends and family but also in people of opposition. As Jesus told us to love our enemies, I shall at the very least, offer to God in prayer the hope of repentance, of transformation, of improved circumstances for others. Certainly I cannot like, respect or agree with everyone but I can believe in the process of change and understand that it's not only others who sometimes need to change, sometimes it is I.

lll. I understand that conversion is a twofold process. I have to work on changing my actions and behaviors- the outer qualities of doing. I also have to work on changing my thoughts and feelings- the inner qualities of being. There is no immediate or final transformation. I am always sinful. I always fall short of the Glory of God. But as a work in progress, I rely on His forgiving Grace and strive daily for a sanctifying conversion. This can be best done through an emphasis on prayer and a special focus on the Daily Office. It also is dependent on a reliance on the Holy Spirit for guidance in understanding, deeper spirituality and spiritual wisdom.

 IV.
Let contemplative prayer lead me to a more satisfying experience with Jesus. Let me be more authentic; let humility take me to a place of non-judgment and acceptance that helps me to see that the sins of others point toward my own human frailty.

V.
As a member of the Contemplative Community of St. Francis & St. Thérèse, I shall look to the Love and Wisdom of the Saints to encourage my  personal growth in the Lord - from the Blessed Virgin Mother to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, from St. Francis to St. Therese, from St Luke the physician to Saint Teresa of Calcutta, From St. Benedict to St. Claire- let me examine the lives of all great teachers and increase in knowledge and understanding.

Vl. I shall utilize the Scriptures- both Old and New Testament- for guidance, instruction, understanding, inspiration and reproof.


Vll. I will execute my faith as faithfully as I can. And when I fail, I will ask forgiveness. I will repent. And I will once again execute my faith as faithfully as I can. This process, as tiring and discouraging as it is- I am commited to living it faithfully. As a flawed person, I know I am never beyond the power of temptation and sin, and daily count upon the Grace of His forgiveness.

Vlll.  In living this Rule, I understand that the daily chores of prayer and meditation must become daily opportunities to Serve Him in a life of Daily Devotion. Renewing the Spirit of Christian Love in all my thoughts, feelings and actions isn't just a state of holiness I'm trying to reach as a part of my personal growth; rather it is a state of servanthood to His Will that I am organically fulfilling. In other words, through drowning to my old life, I become baptized into the new life as a Christian. And through the Holy Spirit, Christ begins to live inside of me

lX. Let His Will, not mine instruct me in how I treat others, even in how I treat myself. When I am "crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me." I realize this is a process within my journey- it can be achieved at times but not held like a vice. My commitment in my monastic life is to move towards this life of Holiness and to give myself over to the Spirit of God.

      Daily Aspiration for Monks, Nuns and Lay Christians who wish to grow in the Monastic Life of our Community

Discipline & Openness Together are the Way of Christ- the Way to Christ 

Discipline by itself leads to a rigid, unwillingness to yield that gets in the way of the Spirit. Openness by itself leads to being tossed around by every prospective change, and to a lack of perseverance. Together, they Unite in a Oneness with the Spirit that allows for staying the course through the ability to make necessary and essential adjustments. 

Set goals, both long term and short term and work towards them. But make sure they are aids to serving Christ, not handcuffs that imprison you into following something that's no longer relevant. 

This means it's fine to update your goals when you see things have taken a different turn, when you realize that you can serve Him better down another path. 

Understand that Jesus hasn't established a definitive journey for you that is clear, simple and easy to understand. Your journey will be fraught with unpredictable twists and turns. Your ability to serve depends on your ability to be open to new opportunities 
while adhering to the details in front of you. 

The Apostles didn't understand that Jesus was going to be crucified until after it happened. They had to adjust their ministries to take into account that their leader was no longer with them in the flesh. They had to follow the Spirit to new understandings. This led to Gentiles joining the Church and the Gospels being written. Within this unpredictable course came a strength that no one could have foreseen. They became leaders because they were open to it, not because they were ready for it. 

In living the Gospel, 4 words will be our focus: His Way, Not Mine. Shutting ourselves off from an ego focus is vital to the monastic life. This isn't to say that we lose sight of our personal desires. We simply make sure that our personal desires align with the Spirit of Christ in all things. We must get beyond the boundaries of self-importance, of needing the approval of others and of being too comfortable with either our material status or our physical state. 

Work hard for success but make sure success and abundance are mere parts of what we're trying to attain. When we give them too much importance, we become their slaves. Our ability to want has to be curtailed or it will rule over us. We do this by sacrifice, by generosity of spirit, by giving and forgiving- by placing Christ First as a way of life. 

Understand that every good thing is only a step away from becoming a bad thing. Food will keep you healthy and alive; too much food will ruin your health. Church can be wonderful but like everything else, it can become an addiction. Your love interest can bring you happiness or heartbreak. You must constantly monitor your time, your interests, your habits- and always work on giving it over to Christ. 

Jesus lived more than two thousand years ago and lived in a different culture. You can only learn so much from Him. Open yourself up to new teachers, new examples, new spiritual guides. They will never be as perfect as Jesus- they will not be your Savior but they can be more current. Because of that, they can be very instructive. Look to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Look to Mahatma Gandhi. Look to St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Look to your grandfather. Understand that we don't need a perfect example to learn from; we can be taught by anyone with a greater knowledge or understanding than us. 

Prayer leads to Transcendent Understanding which leads to Holiness, and Holiness brings us to Christ. Transcendent Understanding is simple- it's an understanding that's just there. It doesn't need to be examined. It doesn't need to be explored. It doesn't need to be explained. The more we pray, the deeper we eventually pray. The deeper our prayers, the deeper our relationship with Christ in the Spirit. This ultimately leads us to a state where temptation becomes more manageable and holiness-a state of abiding grace where Christ is at  work- living through us and in us. If we're not always Christ-like, we at least become much more Christ-centered. 

Pray the Divine Office as often as you can (
http://www.ccsft.org/events.html) . Pray other prayers as often as you can. Every time you say a prayer, envision you are praying it with your chosen teacher. You will be amazed how different a prayer will feel when you are sharing that prayer with St. Francis of Assissi or St. Teresa of Calcutta. Pray each prayer like it's your first prayer of the day and your last of the week. In other words, don't get into a rut. Go to a beautiful place, to many different places for your prayer time. Or find one special place 
that works for you to go to Him in prayer. 

Get outside of yourself! This is the key to Holiness. Become one with your neighbor. Not in taking on their responsibilities or problems but in finding a place of deeply caring for them. If they are loud and obnoxious, constantly give their ugly demeanor over to the Lord. Give them the gift of Hope where you hope for a change in them where they can find a peace they lack. 

Forgive generously because in your ability to forgive rests your ability to be forgiven. Stop condemning others because in your ability to refrain from condemning rests your ability to not be condemned. Love without restraint. Love as in Goodwill towards all. Love as in sharing of your surplus and giving what you can. And above all of this, aspire to serve Him during the busy times, the hard times and the times of greatest discouragement. This is how we limit the impact of the hard, discouraging times. This is how we multiply the riches of His love during our lives.