The Story and History of the
Companion of Francis and Clare
Fraternity dates its origin to 1994 when a Franciscan Friar, Andre Cirino, OFM,
visited Francis of Assisi Church in Rocky Mount, Virginia and gave a one-week
retreat on the “Spirituality of Saint Francis.” Sister Fidelis, OSF, who was at that time, Pastoral Coordinator,
initiated this retreat. It was here
that the idea germinated to start a Secular Franciscan Fraternity in Southwest
and Marianne Boyle were both motivated to become seculars themselves, but were
unable to find a fraternity near them.
The closest fraternities in the Saint Margaret of Cortona Region were at
Virginia Beach and Arlington, Virginia.
After much prayer and investigation, it became evident that the closest
fraternity opportunity to Rocky Mount was in Greensboro, North Carolina, which,
however, was not part of the Saint Margaret of Cortona Region.
inquirers were starting their fraternity, and they welcomed Tom and Marianne
Boyle into their profession class.
Their original instructor and spiritual advisor for these candidates was
Father Louis Canino, OFM. He presided
at the profession ceremony for Tom and Marianne in May 1996. They became part of the Franciscan Family of
thereafter, the Boyles made a pilgrimage to Assisi with Father Cirino. It was decided that they would attempt to
start a new fraternity in Rocky Mount at Francis of Assisi Church. The core group included Sister Fidelis, Tom
and Marianne Boyle and two long professed Franciscans, Dot Scank, SFO of Rocky
Mount and Jerry Webber, SFO of Roanoke.
the autumn of 1996, a letter was sent to all surrounding churches, announcing
the first Franciscan Secular Information meeting. About fifty interested Catholics assembled and they were briefed
by Anne Coiro, SFO, the Regional Minister of Margaret of Cortona Region. Anne explained Franciscan spirituality, the
life of a Franciscan Secular and what was required to become a member the
Secular Franciscan Order.
Anne Coiro’s SFO introduction, fifteen participated in the first inquiry
session. Fourteen became candidates at
the Rite of Admission on June 22, 1997.
They included: Tots Collins; Ted
Crocker; Tom Fame; Jean Forrest; Cathy Griffin; Joan Kahwajy-Anderson; Glen
Kituski; Joe Lamastro; Eileen Lamonthe; Dan Lonnquist; Lynne Lonnquist and
Millie Swanwick. Thirteen made
perpetual profession into the newly developed Fraternity on June 21, 1998. Dan Lonnquist made temporary profession for
one year to further discern his vocation.
The following year Dan made perpetual profession. Both ceremonies were presided over by Tom
Boyle, SFO, temporary minister and Father Louis Canino, OFM, of Greensboro,
North Carolina. Three
additional professed Seculars, Joan Jennings, SFO, Barney Jennings, SFO of
Hillsville, Virginia and Beverly DuBelle, SFO of Francis of Assisi Church,
joined the Fraternity. The Fraternity
held its’ first weekend retreat in March of 1998 which was conducted by Father
Andre Cirino, OFM.
The Fraternity began a second formation
group in the autumn of 1998. Nine more
candidates took part in the Rite of Admission on October 24, 1999. Seven of these were professed on May 20,
2001: including Russ Beimler, SFO; Joan Beimler, SFO; Gary Cook, SFO; Marsha
Dubose, SFO Vicki Hubbard, SFO, Patricia Mead, SFO and Marty White, SFO.
SELECTING A FRATERNITY NAME AND CANONICAL ESTABLISHMENT
chosen for the fraternity was the result of many months of prayer and
thought. The members considered
themselves “FrancisClarian,” active and contemplative, thus of Francis and
Clare. Companions came from bread -
bread for the journey and bread of the Eucharist.
May 20, 2001 was the official date for
the Canonical Establishment of the Companions of Francis and Clare
Fraternity. Canonical Establishment was
facilitated by Anne Coiro, SFO, Saint Margaret of Cortona Regional
Minister. Tom Fame, SFO was elected
Minister of the Companions of Francis and Clare. The Fraternity has since had a number of Profession Ceremonies .
Individuals who have been professed into the Companions of Francis and
Clare Fraternity since canonical establishment are:
May 23, 2004
Bibro, SFO; Paul Buckman, SFO; Kathy Crone, SFO; Don Crone, SFO; Mary
Fitzgerald, SFO; Carol King, SFO; Ann Mayo, SFO; Rich Regan, SFO; and Ann
Kituski, SFO. Maggie Davies and Lynn
Regan made temporary profession that year in order to continue their
discernment for one more year. They
were both perpetually professed the following year (2005).
May 20, 2007
Eileen Highberger, SFO; Deborah Martin, SFO; Taft Martin, SFO; Suzanne
Tardif, SFO and Jane Snyder, SFO.
In the month of November 2008 it was announced that a new "cell" of this Fraternity was established in
Abingdon, VA under the guidance of Tom and Marianne Boyle
Jane Addison, SFO, Elaine Brockman, SFO; Carole Forbes, SFO; SFO;
Claire Ickes, SFO; Fred Ickes, SFO;
Florence Quinn, SFO; and Peggy
In order to better align the Secular Franciscans with
all other Franciscans, it was determined that professed seculars
the designation of OFS (ordus franciscanis secularis) rather than the
previously used SFO.
May 20, 2012
Abingdon Cell: Darlene Landry, OFS; Mary Ellen Watts, OFS; Randy Watts, OFS
May 15, 2015
Joseph Givens, OFS; Ann Henry,
OFS; Angela Kauffman, OFS; David Kauffman, OFS; Nelly Shelton, OFS;
Abingdon Cell: John Davis, OFS; Rosalie Fratto, OFS; Reyes Ponce, OFS
Aja Siobhan, OFS; Christine Young, OFS and
Updated: February 10, 2017