How It All Started
More than 800 years ago, St. Francis came upon a church outside of Assisi, Italy, that was in great disrepair. In the midst of the shambles, on a wall, was a crucifix. As he knelt in prayer, the image on the cross spoke to him, telling him to “Go, and repair my church.” Francis didn’t turn to a fundraiser to raise the money to get the job done. He assumed his rather wealthy family would help. He was wrong. His father disowned him. But like Jesus, Francis had an extended view of “family.” All of creation, all people, especially the poor, became his family. Francis didn’t know a thing about fundraising. But he knew how to work with his hands for the poor. If more was needed, then he begged. Eight hundred years later, Franciscans are still working with their hands and begging to help the poor in the name of the Lord.
The Franciscan Missions provides direct financial support for missions of the Order of Friars Minor throughout the world. Funds have supported orphanages, soup kitchens, medical clinics, sustainable water projects, and the development of farms to feed and to teach others to farm. We fund the education of Franciscan missionaries, the building of churches, housing for the poor, and formation housing for Franciscan students. We have provided for humanitarian relief in Haiti, the Philippines, Syria and Ecuador.
One of our specific goals is to educate the world, particularly in the United States, about the mission work of the Order. This is currently done by visiting Franciscan missionaries who preach in parishes each summer, and through our mailings to generate awareness of and financial support for this important work.
The future includes developing partnerships with laity in the United States, which will strengthen our network of support. The “mission fraternity” in Waterford, Wisconsin USA is comprised of international Franciscan missionaries. It is through their presence and leadership that the work of the Franciscan Missions continues to thrive.