Rediscovering the Franciscan Spirituality

The idea of a basic course based on Francis’ mission charism was conceived in 1982, when there was a felt-need to rediscover and to deepen the mission dimension of Franciscan life and spirituality. The course, that would be accessible to all in the world, must seek to discover how members of the different Franciscan communities live Francis’ mission charism in their respective socio-political and cultural situations.The Comprehensive Course on Franciscan Mission Charism was born from this idea.

Initially the title of the Course was The Correspondence Course on the Franciscan Mission Charism. As the name implies, it was meant to be offered through correspondence. Record shows, however, that in most countries the Course was offered in stay-in seminar-workshops, retreats and training programs. Hence, after the evaluation of the Course in 1994 the title was changed to The Comprehensive Course on Franciscan Mission Charism. Today the acronym CCFMC of the English version is used in may parts of the world. In the United States the Course is known as Build With Living Stones and in India We Are Sent.

One of the salient features of the CCFMC is the stress given to the importance of learning from one another rather than to instructing others. It points to the need for intercultural dialogue; underscores the value of mutual openness to ideas coming from Franciscan communities in the different continents and varying cultural environments and urges inter-Franciscan, intercultural and international collaboration.

To date thousands of brothers and sisters in the five continents have used this Course and they discovered, on their own, their strengthens as well as their cultural barriers and limitations. In the span of a little over ten years they also discovered new mission impulses and, with this discovery, there dawned the realization that the Franciscan Family is faced with new challenges in the living out its spirituality and mission charism. Hence, the next logical step to take was to subject the whole Course to a fundamental review of its content and methodology in view of a revised edition: one that addresses new problems in the fast changing world. To achieve this aim a two-year dialogic process was put into action on international, intercultural and inter-Franciscan levels.

For two years sisters and brothers from every continent worked busily on specific themes and important topics. The 24 lessons of the whole course were clustered under thematic focal points. Each continent was assigned a cluster of lessons: Africa, Asia/Oceania, Europe, Latin America and USA/Canada. The brothers and sisters, who were actively involved in the promotion of the CCFMC in the past ten years of its existence (1984-1994), were tasked to review the lessons assigned to their respective continents and to offer suggestions for improvement. They deleted what became obsolete, added new concepts and ideas and retained what remain useful and relevant today. The collated suggestions were presented for critique to the Inter-Franciscan Congress held in Assisi in September 1994. An editing team from German speaking countries was then commissioned to incorporate the fresh ideas and suggested changes in a revised edition of the Course. The fruit of this gigantic task is now in your hands.