FROM PENITENT RECOLLECTIONS TO FRANCISCAN SISTERS OF ST. ANNA
Life of the Franciscan Sisters of St. Anne is based on spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi who called his first followers -“Brothers and Sisters of Penitence”.
Francis lived in Assisi 1182 – 1226
The brothers and sisters lived according to St. Francis rule which was confirmed by Pope Honorius III in 1223 and the rule for the 3rd order which was confirmed by Pope Nicholas IV 1289. The spirit of St. Francis had a great influence on many men and women who tried to follow his footsteps long after his life. Francis ideal was to live according to the Gospel as revealed in his last will. “The testament after the Lord had given me brothers nobody told me what I had to do but the most high revealed to me that I had to live according to the Gospel.”
The original inspiration of St. Francis was that of penance and poverty as he found it in the gospel and he made this the aim and content of his preaching and teaching. Francis became the leader of the penitent movement and together with his followers they lived at home and did their daily work in the spirit of penance and other acquired the name “ order of penance or third order”. The members of 3rd order had as their spiritual guidance members of the Franciscan Friars of 1st order. Later the penitent movement developed into solid and approved spiritual movement in the church in the 13th and later centuries with the rule of St. Francis as their guiding light.
As the years went by the Saintliness enthusiasm of church leaders and members of religious orders diminished. Many happenings within the church raised voices asking for reformation as was the case during St. Francis time. At the same time Martin Luther’s call gave rise to the time to the reformation which brought about a breakaway of church grouping. After Luther’s break with the church, a group of Franciscans started their own reform which resulted in the founding of Capuchin Order (1528)
The tertiary religious solders had not escaped the deterioration of Saintliness in their communities and so some necessary and fruitful steps were taken in the direction of the reform of religious life. They returned to their ideals that had been neglected to the point of being forgotten or ignored.
They recalled or recollected (recollection) what Francis had written and prescribed for his first followers and they resolved to begin to live the Franciscan rule once again. They called themselves recollects (or recollection in French)