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 inter-Lutheran religious orders in the United States, including St. Augustine’s House, a Lutheran Benedictine monastic community located in Michigan. The OLF is the first religious order of the ELCA, being recognized in 2023 as an Independent Lutheran Organization (ILO) of the ELCA.
Do you have to be Lutheran to be a part of the OLF?
Yes. The Order of Lutheran Franciscans is open to active members of congregations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Not ELCA Lutheran? Check out these other Franciscan communities with whom we have good rapport:
Third Order, Society of St. Francis (Episcopal/Anglican)
Order of Ecumenical Franciscans (Inter-denominational)
The Community of Francis and Clare (Episcopal/Anglican)
Secular Franciscan Order (Roman Catholic)
Do you wear a habit?
Yes. The primary habit of life-professed is the OLF cross. A traditional brown tunic may be worn within certain vocations (with approval) and at gatherings of the Order. Novices wear the Tau cross as their habit.
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 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?
We 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 or leanings is that the siblings are devoted to following the simple way of St. Francis as they live out their Christian faith.
Where is the Order of Lutheran Franciscans located?
The OLF is a dispersed community, which means our siblings live all over the United States and beyond! The Motherhouse of the Order is located in Houston, Texas.
How do I become a Franciscan in the OLF?
For more information about how to become a sibling in the Order of Lutheran Franciscans, please visit our Vocations page.
What if I am not called to vows with the OLF, but am interested in still supporting the Order?
Please consider becoming a Friend of the 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.