Form of Life
As a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis we are called to observe with loving and generous hearts the holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to The Rule and Life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. Prayer is the center of our lives. Each sister is responsible to set aside adequate time for personal prayer, reflection, and study so her life and ministry may be continually re-energized and deepened. We are called to reflect daily upon God's word. This also includes, liturgy of the Hours, The Franciscan Morning & Evening Prayer, liturgy of the Eucharist, Adoration and other forms of shared faith experiences.
Sisters live in small groups or individually, usually close to where they may minister. Most sisters wear contemporary clothing – simple, modest and indicative of our religious congregation. Often the congregation's symbol is worn and a simple gold ring as signs of their commitment. A simple modified form of the traditional habit may also be worn, with or without the veil.
Consecration for Mission
We pray to be women consecrated in truth as we are sent into the world. Dedication to Jesus Christ involves us intimately with His liberating and reconciling mission: to make God more deeply known and loved and in doing to draw all persons to fuller and freer life. This wholehearted consecration to God for others is expressed in every aspect of our lives, but primarily through the public vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience made in and through the community of the Church. This consecration is at once the celebration and the intensification of our baptismal commitment.
~SSJ-TOSF Constitution, Chapter 4:30
The call to evangelical poverty is a call to follow in the footsteps of the poor Christ. Everything we have, from our talents and abilities to the material necessities of life, is graciously received as gift to be shared. By the vow of poverty we seek to be free from those things which would keep us from hearing the cry of the poor in the work. We seek to let nothing stand between us and those in whose midst we live and work.
By the vow of chastity, we dedicate ourselves totally, heart, mind, and body, to Jesus Christ whom we seek to serve, love, and adore with single-hearted devotion. As a sign of this preferential love for Christ, we take no partner in marriage, while seeking to relate to others with a love that is warm, human, and filled with the Spirit of God.
Through the vow of obedience, we seek to follow Jesus in His total absorption with the will of God. We seek to discern in all the events and situations of our lives those movements of grace which call us to choices and decisions which give life and freedom. In an attitude of expectant faith, we listen for the inspiration of grace in the Scriptures, in Franciscan sources, in the Church, in the changing needs of the world, and especially in our own congregation.