Franciscan Traditions in Loretto

LORETTO, CAMBRIA COUNTY --- Saint Francis University is rich in Franciscan history.  The friars were created by Saint Francis of Assisi in the 1200's.

"He founded three orders.  The first order was the Friars Minor.  The second order was the Saint Clare.  And the third order was the regular members.  We're the third order," University President Fr. Gabriel Zeis said.

The third order is comprised of ordained and lay members.  They can be both men and women, married or single.  They pursue ordinary lives under a commitment to basic Franciscan principals.  Today university officials work to include those principals in their daily lives. 

"They were primarily professionals, who were teachers and hospitaleers, and doctors, nurses, who basically wanted to follow the life of Francis, which is the gospel life, a very simple life," Zeis said.

Everyday they celebrate mass on campus.   The live a simple life, and are dedicated to the obedience of doing God's work. 

"Throughout the years we've done that work, and continue to do it and that's what St. Francis is all about…an educational establishment to lead men and women to the best place they need to be in life," Zeis said.

Franciscans can be seen walking around campus, teaching, and working in many academic offices. 

"We have others that continue to work in the classroom or in adminstrative areas or in campus ministry, and we hope we'll get more,” Zeis said.

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