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ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI,
CALLED ALSO THE
Order of Penance.
WITH A PREFACE
BY THE VERY REV. FATHER EMIDIUS,
COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF THE CAPUCHIN ORDER
IN ENGLAND AND IRELAND.
IN TWO VOLUMES.-VOL. I.
BURNS, OATES, AND COMPANY,
17 & 18 Portman Street and 63 Paternoster Row.
[Right of Translation and Reproduction reserved.]
THIS Manual has been compiled from four different sources from the Manual of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order of Penance, by the most Reverend Father Salvator d'Ozieri, Father-General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin; from the Congregation of Religious of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, of Calais; from the English Manual of the Third Order of St. Francis, called also the Order of Penance (now out of print); and lastly, from the Secret Constitutions, of which a single copy alone exists in the Convent of the Ara Cœli at Rome.
The largest portion, however, has been translated from D'Ozieri's work, as being the most complete now existing, and as having obtained the approbation of the highest authorities in the Order.
My object in wishing for the publication of this Manual has been to revive, if possible, the spirit of the Order of Secular Tertiaries in England; to make it, in fact, a reality. Hitherto, men and women living in the world have enrolled themselves in it without much thought of their consequent duties and responsibilities;
and having obtained the necessary dispensations from their respective confessors, have made the Rule virtually a dead-letter. Not such was the spirit of the first members enrolled by St. Francis in this glorious band. If they were foremost in works of charity and in practices of piety, they were equally admirable in the care of their children and their households, in the administration of their property, and in all the duties of daily life. Their heroic practices of penance, so far from diminishing their influence or lessening their labours, purified their intentions, quickened their zeal, and gave an example to the world around them which leavened and raised the whole tone of the society in which their lot was cast. And surely never was there a time or a country in which such an apostolate was more needed than in England at this day. The worship of comfort in every shape; the rage for luxury and an appearance above their station, in every rank of life; the extravagance in dress; and, worse than all this, the frightful increase of immorality (veiled in polite language, but none the less real, and fostered by the sensational novels of the day), and the open rationalism or worship of natural religion, professed by the majority of young men and women, from the highest class to the lowest, and mainly emanating from dislike of control and independence of all authority or submission to superiors-these and the like growing evils call more and more loudly for some remedy, for some barrier to the headlong downhill course which our countrymen and countrywomen are pursuing.
The remedy is ready-made to our hand, and its originator was a Saint of God. By a faithful adoption of his Rule in the Third Order, all these evils may be met.
To luxury and extravagance, he opposes evangelical poverty and detachment from all earthly things.
To the love of ease and comfort, mortification and self-abnegation.
To pride and love of this world's honour and esteem, humility and the voluntary acceptance of this world's contempt.
To sensuality and the indulgence of human passions, chastity and purity.
To rationalism and infidelity, faith and fidelity to God's revealed truth.
To rebellion against lawful authority, submission and unquestioning obedience.
What more do we need, then, but to try and make good use of the weapons he has put into our hands, and fight bravely and unflinchingly the battle of our Lord?
Our numbers may be few, our adversaries many; but "stronger is He that is with us," and it is His cause for which we plead.
But to come to particulars. If one member only in each Catholic family were to be enrolled in the Order, if the monthly and general assemblies were regularly held, and the whole thing thoroughly organised, as in Italy and Germany, the benefit to the community in general would be immense. The links between the