Franciscan Friars, Missionary Franciscan Sisters and Poor Clares

Those who uplift and inspire us.

Franciscan Friars

‘…the Lord gave me some brothers…’ Testament 1-14, FF 111

The Franciscan Friars (OFM) where founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1209. The Australian Province of the Holy Spirit has its origins back to the arrival of the first Europeans. Individual Irish friar priests came to Australia to serve Catholics in a a number of early settlements.

In 1879 the Friars were given an area in eastern Sydney to establish a Franciscan Mission. Engagement with Sydney and Melbourne grew and in 1939 the Australian Franciscans were established as a Province. The Friars communities spread across Australia and into New Zealand and Asia over the many decades of their life together. Box Hill in Melbourne (1936); to Campbelltown (1934); parishes in Adelaide, a friary and parish in Brisbane (1929) and Padua College in Brisbane (1956); to various parishes in Western Australia (beginning in 1950); to New Zealand in 1939 and the establishment of a retreat centre. The Friars began their work in Singapore in 1958 establishing St Anthony Friary in 1970 with a move into Malaysia in 1999.

Throughout their history as Franciscans and as a province (Australia, New Zealand) and a custody (Singapore), the Franciscan Friars have always endeavoured to listen to the signs of the times (Gaudium et Spes n.1) and to respond with generosity to the call to reach out to those in need.

Today, the Franciscan Friars are still in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Ipswich and various other parishes in Australia.

They welcome schools connecting and reaching out into our one big Franciscan Family here in Australia.

Missionary Franciscan Sisters

‘mission is not only what we do, but who we are in relationship’ – from Mission Statement

Following the Gospel in the way of St Francis of Assisi, the Missionary Franciscan Sisters live simply, joyfully, peacefully, and contemplatively.

Mission outreach is central to their way of life. They take inspiration for mission from their founder Elizabeth Hayes whose great desire it was to dedicate her life to the foreign missions.

The Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception first came to Australia in 1930 at the invitation of the Franciscan Friars in Kedron, Brisbane. In a time of depression and need, the Sisters established St Anthony’s School at Kedron, Brisbane. Later in a room of their Convent (now Delamore Retirement Community) Mount Alvernia College began on 1 February 1956, with an enrolment of ten students and three teaching Sisters.

From these humble beginnings both schools thrived and are still serving the communities in Brisbane today.

In 1949, also at the request of the Franciscan Friars, a small group set out to establish foundation in the Aitape Diocese of Papua New Guinea. The Sisters are still active in PNG. Responding to community need still informs their mission and in 2023 the MFIC Sisters will open a new MFIC Early Learning Centre ministering to the families and children aged 3-6 years. They expect 80 children as their first intake at the start of the academic year in 2023.

From Kedron the Sisters established schools in Bardon, Coorparoo, Burleigh Heads, Coolangatta, Silkwood, and Cairns. Their school in Cairns, St Gerard Majella Primary School in Woree, has been a member of FSA since inception and this school continues faithfully in the mission of the Sisters.

Outreach and circles of communion have seen The Sisters minister to the indigenous communities in Dajarra, Tennant Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Woorabinda. While the majority of their missionary outreach has been in Papua New Guinea, Australian Sisters have also served in Egypt, Italy, England, Canada, Bolivia, China, Thailand and Tchad where they embraced a variety of ministries.

Today, many of the Sisters are now semi-retired, however, they still seek to accompany those who most need their support: the elderly, indigenous Australians, refugees and children.

FSA has a special place in the hearts of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters who established our organisation in 2007. The Sisters continue to serve us in person, prayers and spirit.

In prayer the Poor Clare Communities in Australia support FSA.

to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ… – from the Rule of Saint Clare

The Order of Saint Clare, the Poor Clares, is part of the Franciscan family. It was founded in 1212 by St Francis and St Clare of Assisi, to follow Christ in Gospel living with an apostolate of prayer.

The Gospel life was the centre and heart of Clare’s spirituality and she lived this life within a specifically contemplative setting, in the little monastery of San Damiano outside the walls of Assisi. For Clare, to follow Christ meant to contemplate Christ and to imitate him.

Other women, inspired by the same Spirit, soon joined her.

As Franciscan contemplatives they share a joyful and simple family life, called together in the love of God and seeking to witness to this love as a community of prayer within the Church.

Today there are Poor Clares in most countries of the world seeking to live the same Gospel life in the footsteps of Francis and Clare.

saint Francis vocation Prayer

Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Give us a right faith, a firm hope and a perfect charity, so that we may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen.