A Lutheran religious order: Do they even exist?
Absolutely! Many Christian denominations have religious orders, especially the Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, Orthodox and Lutheran churches.
In the Lutheran tradition, there are several Franciscan orders: the Evangelische Franziskaner-Tertiaren was founded in 1927 in Germany, the Franciskus Tredje Orden is part of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, the Evangelische Kanaan Franziskus-Bruderschaft is found in the Evangelical Church in Germany and Helige Franciskus Systraskap is a women’s religious community in Sweden.
There are a couple of Lutheran religious orders in the United States, including St. Augustine’s House, a Lutheran Benedictine monastic community.
Do you have to be Lutheran to be a part of the Order?
Yes. The Order of Lutheran Franciscans is open to active members of congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, or churches in full communion with the ELCA (with approval).
Do you have to be single or celibate?
Nope. The OLF requires its professed members to make vows of poverty, chastity and
obedience as interpreted by this Order. Most will live a modern
interpretation of the vows while working in the world, having families, owning
homes, etc. Some may choose to live in the more traditional understanding
of these Evangelical Counsels.
Do you wear a habit?
The primary habit of
life-professed friars and sisters is the San Damiano cross, although sisters and brothers may also wear the traditional habit in certain vocations (with approval) and at gatherings of the Order. Novices wear the Tau cross as their habit.
Do you have to be an ordained pastor to be a member of the Order?
Absolutely not! The original Franciscan movement was mostly laypeople. Women and men, single or married, lay or ordained may become part of the OLF and have equal status as members of the Order.
Is the Order liberal or conservative, traditional or contemporary?
do not use terms like “conservative” or “liberal” to describe ourselves as a
religious order. As Franciscans, we are committed to walk with the poor
and marginalized, to care for creation and to work ecumenically with
others. We also have members who are High-Church, Contemporary, and Post-Modern
in their styles of worship and spirituality. More important than
worship-style is that the sisters and brothers are devoted to walking the Simple Way of St. Francis as they live out their Christian faith.
How do I become a brother or sister in the OLF?
more information about how to become a brother or sister in the Order of Lutheran
Franciscans, please visit our Vocations page.
Following the General Rule, all sisters and brothers of this Order: make vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, pray the Daily Office, are active in their congregations, have a spiritual director, receive Holy Communion weekly, make individual confession twice a year, attend annual Chapter and regional convocations whenever possible, and financially support the life and ministry of the Order.
Is the OLF affiliated with a denomination?
The OLF claims the Confession of Faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as its own confession. The brothers and sisters are required to be active members of ELCA congregations. Our budget includes dedicated mission support to the mission and ministries of the ELCA. The primary office of the Order is located in an ELCA congregation.
is the Order of Lutheran Franciscans located?
The OLF is a "dispersed" community: members may live in the United States or beyond!
Members of our Servant Council live in Michigan, Texas and West Virginia.
What if I am not called to be a friar or sister, but I am interested in supporting the life of this Order?
We welcome prayers for the Order and its sisters and brothers. You may also make financial contributions in support of the Order's mission, and may attend convocations, retreats and Chapter meetings. Financial contributions of $100 or more make you a Friend of the Order.
if I want more information about the Order of Lutheran Franciscans?
Great! You can request more information here.
if I'm not Lutheran?
Check out one of these Franciscan orders:
of Ecumenical Franciscans (Inter-denominational)
Order of Saint Francis (Episcopal/Anglican)
Little Sisters of Saint Clare (Episcopal/Anglican)
Secular Franciscan Order (Roman Catholic)