The Rule of 1221 – Addendum and Appendices

Addendum to the Statutes of the BSP

Every penitent should have a spiritual director or confessor if they can be found for help in discerning how to grow in the penitential lifestyle and understand the motion of the Holy Spirit. Pray for this grace. Spiritually mature priests, deacons, or other male or female religious can serve as spiritual directors, provided they are supportive of all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and are also supportive of the intentions of the brother or sister to live the Rule. In their absence, other Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis, who are experienced in the “things of God” can serve as spiritual directors if approved by a spiritual assistant of this Association or the Administrators of the Association in their absence.

It is expected that most penitents will have a spiritual director by the middle of the first year of novice formation and that they will be meeting with their spiritual directors at least monthly. Everyone who makes a permanent profession to live this Rule should have a spiritual director if possible.

Spiritual direction is best done face to face, but spiritual direction via computer, phone, or postal mail is permitted, provided the individuals involved have met in person. Spiritual directors serve as advisors not military commanders. A good relationship enables penitent and director to discuss points of disagreement. Generally, once discussion is ended, it is safer for penitents to follow the director’s advice, wary of pride in one’s own opinions and judgment. However, before the tribunal of Christ, each person will have to take full responsibility for every decision. The virtue of prudence requires that penitents not deviate from a director’s advice without prayerful consideration of the entire situation.



Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis observe all Church prescribed days of fast and abstinence as well as additional days required by the Rule itself. Current Church regulations on fasting and abstinence are these:

Fast: The law of fast prescribes that only one full meal a day be taken; but it does not forbid taking some nourishment at two other times during the day. The two smaller meals should be sufficient to maintain strength according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including ordinary, homogenized milk and fruit juices, are allowed. Malted milks, milk shakes, and the like are not included in the term “milk.” All those from eighteen years of age to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound by the law of fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday

Abstinence: The law of abstinence forbids the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products, nor condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat. Forbidden are the flesh meat of warm-blooded animals and all parts of such animals. This does not include meat juices, broths, soups, lards, gravies, sauces, animal fats, and liquid foods made from meat. Also allowed are fish and all such cold-blooded animals such as frogs, shellfish, clams, turtles, oysters, crabs, and lobsters. All those who have completed their fourteenth year are bound to the law of abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Friday’s of Lent.

(Note: There exists no age cut offs on the commitment to do penance in the Association for those who are in formation or profession to live the Rule for life, except that no one can be admitted as a member before their 14th birthday, except those imposed by the penitent in communication with their own spiritual director based on their own needs and situation.)

The substantial observance of the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious obligation. When a proportionately serious reason exists, there is surely no sin in departing from these norms. Thus, one may very well be excused by sickness or any infirmity which requires that one eat meat even on Friday during Lent, by the need to take one’s meals in common, by travel when it is not possible to obtain readily permissible foods, by great poverty, etc.

(Source: The Pastoral Companion: A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry, Franciscan Herald Press: Chicago, Illinois, 1995, pp. 292-96).



HOLY IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, taking you into our home, we consecrate and entrust ourselves and our Association totally and forever to your Immaculate Heart. Make us your true sons and daughters and use our Association as an instrument of Christ Our King to convert sinners, to sanctify souls, and to strengthen and renew the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, that God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—may be glorified, praised, and adored by all mankind. Amen.


The Spiritual Works of Mercy are: Instruct the ignorant, advise the doubtful, Correct sinners, be patient with those in error or who do wrong, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned, ransom the captive, bury the dead.