About Us

The Secular Franciscan Order was established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the Gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for ways to embrace the Gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

The Secular Franciscan Order is not a club or a society but an Order within the Church in which the members, men and women, do not abandon the world, family or friends but follow gospel values in their everyday lives in their work, with families, spouses, children, jobs and obligations.

The Secular Franciscan Order was recognized to exist as early as 1210-1215, and received official recognition by Pope Honorius III where a rule was offered for the way of life of the Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Penitents of St. Francis.

All branches of the Franciscan Family, in our respective Rules of Life, are charged to “observe the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ”. Three parts of the whole, like a 3 ply cord, are stronger when united together as equal partners to share and spread the vision of Francis.

St. Anthony Fraternity was established in 1897 by the Franciscan Friars of Sacred Hearth Province in Petoskey, Michigan. The first member, Clara Fochtmann, was received on June 5, 1897; and she was professed on June 26, 1898 by Rev. Columban Valentin, O.F.M.

When the friars left Petoskey in the 1990s, the fraternity was invited to make The Cross in the Woods in Indian River our home under the spiritual assistance of the friars. The last friars left Indian River in September, 2021; but we are still here.

St. Anthony Fraternity is a part of Divine Mercy Regional Fraternity of lower Michigan and Toledo, Ohio.

For more information please visit the National Fraternity or the International Fraternity Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis websites.