Jesus' Crown of thorns, symbol of penitential lifestyle. We are committed to living the Franciscan Rule of 1221. We aren't a Third Order but a Lay Catholic Association. ...weaving a crown of thorns,
they placed it on Him. (Mk 15:17)

Welcome to



The Franciscan Association of The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St.Francis (BSP) has a butterfly as its symbol. The Butterfly means the transforming union that we wish to attain, through a life of prayer, simplicity and self-denial. The BSP mottos are: 'Deny yourself, take your cross and follow me' and 'In the world, but not of it, for Christ'

         St. Francis

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May God bless you and lead you ever more deeply into His Love!


... in the world, but NOT of it, for Christ!

Intro  |  History  |  Franciscan connection  |  Newsletter  |  Stella Matutina Blog  |  Members Area & Forum

A Penitential
Rule of Life
 First Time at this Site? START HERE
· Introduction
· The Rule and Statutes
· Location of Members
· FAQ about the BSP
· The BSP Rule in a short snapshot

Application for Membership
· Click here

Newsletter: Subscribe
· Get our monthly newsletter by email

In the Catholic Church
· BSP History
· The Catholic Church's blessings to the Association
· Franciscan connection
·  On the Rules of Saint Francis
·  St.Francis Letter to All the Faithful
· The Rule of 1221

Monthly Newsletter
· Read current issue

The BSP Roots
· Stella Matutina Blog
· Index of the poems
 Selected pages:
· Wing Song
· Stella Matutina Intro
· Our First Visitor
· Cover of Morning Star
· Morning Star Intro

Printable brochures
· Snapshot

Members Only
· Member Forums, and Formation Section

Other Resources
· Newsletters' Archive
· Community stories
· Prayers of St.Francis
· Reading Room
· Prayers and Poems
· Members'blogs/sites
· Prayers of the Rule
·  The three little hours of the Office

The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis is a private Association of the Catholic Church whose members strive to model their lives according to the Rule and Statutes of the Primitive Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, which was written for lay people in 1221 at the request of St. Francis of Assisi.

Here is what history says: "The men and women of that village wanted to follow St. Francis?and to abandon their village. But St. Francis did not leave them, saying to them: 'Don't be in a hurry, and don't leave, for I will arrange what you should do for the salvation of your souls', and he planned the Third Order of the Continent for the salvation of all people everywhere." (Little Flowers of St. Francis)

The Association was born from the original Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis as contained in the Franciscan Omnibus of Sources and the resultant Stella Matutina movement in the Secular Franciscan Order in Minnesota in the late 1980's under the guidance of Father Valerius Messerich O.F.M.. It was formally recognized in 1996 in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with the blessing, encouragement and support of Archbishop Harry J. Flynn. The Archbishop further honored the Association by accepting the first formal professions of the first members who completed formation in Minnesota in 2003. Now both the Association and the Rule of life have been informally approved by several bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in various dioceses across the United States, and other countries. Every bishop who has been introduced to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance has supported the movement as a definitive return to the Gospel life.

As an Association The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis is open to all Catholics including Third Order members, oblates, and members of other Catholic lay movements and Associations. We draw no lines on membership. However, although our vision, mission, spirituality and formation is deeply founded in the mystery and beauty of the life of St. Francis, the Association is not connected to the Franciscan Orders in any formal way.

Our members must adhere to all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the magisterium. They live the life of penance of the Rule of 1221 in their own homes, as that is how St. Francis wanted it. Archbishop Roger Schwietz of Anchorage, when first exposed to the movement, said "this is good and holy". No one has ever said it was easy. It is a demanding lifestyle, of prayer, penance, and increasing simplicity and poverty, but the rewards are sweet, vast, and eternal for those who persist. It is a gift we bring to God.

The life of penance is to be lived quietly, so as to be virtually invisible to those around us. However, it is lived and shared in the faithful community of members in this Association. Chapters of members can form in any community, and with the communication systems of today it is intended that there be no isolated members in the Association.

With God, there are no coincidences. God has brought you to this site. Review the site prayerfully, and seek an answer in your heart to the Lord's call, as He made to his first disciples', "Come after me?" (Matt. 4:21). He calls us all. Perhaps He wishes to use your interest in this Association to draw you into a deeper union with Himself. Spend time at this web site, read our Rule and Statutes, and ask God to guide you into His perfect plan for your life.

Francis was a merchant
who bought the pearl of the Gospel Life,
selling and giving away all he had
for the sake of Christ.
(MajLife: XI, 14)

May the Lord bless you and guide you into His Heart!

Portrait of Saint Francis by Cimabue. Saint Francis is the Author of our Rule.
Portrait of St. Francis
Author: Cimabue
Dated around 1285
Location: Pisa (Italy) Convent of Franciscans

Portrait of Saint Francis by Margaritone of Arezzo. We are a lay Organization and follow the 1221 Franciscan Rule.

Ancient portrait of St. Francis
Author: Margaritone d'Arezzo
Location: Arezzo, Museum

The Butterfly is symbol of transforming union of the soul to God. God will give this grace to those faithful to walk the path of prayer and self-denial

Communication Center:

St. Anthony Chapter, Escondido, California

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The Butterfly is symbol of transforming union of the soul to God. God will give this grace to those faithful to walk the path of prayer and self-denial