Community of St Francis
The Community of Saint Francis was founded on February 25, 1905 in London by Sr Rosina Mary, formerly of the Society of the Sisters of Bethany with whom she had made her profession in 1884. Led by Sr Rosina Mary, a small group of women set out to follow the Rule of Clare of Assisi in all but enclosure. Mindful of the close link between Clare and Francis, the Rule of the new sisterhood included portions of both the Earlier and the Later Rules of Francis of Assisi in its adaptation of The Form of Life of Clare of Assisi, according to the English translation of that time. With the text below are the references to these sources. In 1963 the Community of St Francis affiliated with the Society of Saint Francis, replacing this Rule eventually with the Rule of the Sisters of the First Order of the Society of Saint Francis.
The Indian Connection
Fr Jack Winslow founded the Christa Seva Sangha ashram in India in 1920. After the arrival of Fr Algy and other Englishmen in 1928 they settled in Puna and built their own buildings. Fr Jack worked on the Rule of the ashram through several revisions in 1928 and 1929. Christa Seva Sangha later split into two in 1934. The branch with the more flexible ashram style kept the original name and reverted to the original Rule of 1920. The other branch, more monastic in style, took the name Christa Prema Seva Sangha, and the more monastic Rule of CSS 1929.
Before this split, Fr Algy had returned to England in 1930 and founded what was initially the English branch of Christa Seva Sangha, the Brotherhood of the Love of Christ, in St Ives, Huntingdonshire. The Rule of this Brotherhood was based on that of Christa Seva Sangha. Fr Algy soon took this Brotherhood to Dorset to join the Brotherhood of St Francis of Assisi. When they amalgamated as the Society of St Francis the Principles of BLC substantially became the Principles of SSF.
The Society of St Francis
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Expressing the Charism - the Principles and related documents
In the 1970s and 1980s there were various attempts to re-express the charism of SSF. Br Geoffrey's "The Way of St Francis" was a rewriting of the Principles to make them accessbile as a common document to all three orders. Br Michael's "Instruments of Peace" was a more radical restatement of the "present intentions" of the three orders. Br William paraphrased the Principles in more contemporary language, and Brother Brian in plain English, having in mind brothers for whom English was not their first language.