Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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This past May 24, our brother Francesco Crescenti was called to the Father's House after a long illness. He was taken care of with exemplary care and love by his wife Anna Maria, supported by his daughter (and our sister) Maria Assunta.

Francesco, a man of deep and consistent faith, was a member of the OFS from a young age, and was able to attract to the Order his wife, and not long after, his daughter.

Our brother is part of the historical memory of the International Fraternity of the OFS. He was Vice President of the First Council of CITOF (International Council of the Third Order Franciscans) and with Manuela Mattioli, represented the fraternities assisted in the world by our OFM brothers. Later he was the National Minister of Italy of this obedience before the unification of the Order. He actively collaborated in the final drafting of our Rule.

Later, in 2003, together with his wife, they were appointed General Secretaries of the Secular Franciscan Order, in accordance with the International Statutes. Yes, as a couple they were chosen by the CIOFS Presidency and as such they exercised this delicate responsibility together for nine years, until Francesco's illness prevented them from continuing.

It was an incredible experience. Francesco’s and Anna Maria’s dedication was a true gift that the Lord gave to the Presidency. They were so different from each other but with such profound harmony/symbiosis -- one serious, calm, reflective while his wife was intense, charming, indefatigable. Both highly experienced and having a great sense of responsibility. Thanks to them, many services to the international fraternity were provided. The tenderness with which they worked together, their understanding and their mutual dedication are difficult to express.

For more than 40 years Francesco and Anna Maria had a deep brotherly friendship with Monsignor Joseph Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI. Throughout the years they were loyal and kept their continued relationship with the Pope absolutely discrete. I can write this, because at Francesco’s funeral, Monsignor Joseph Clemens, who was at that time Personal Secretary of the Pope and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, made it public during the funeral Mass where he presided. He shared precious details of Francesco's manner of being, of their humility and availability, of those dinners that they frequently shared, before and after Pope Ratzinger was elevated to the Pontificate.

Lord, you know we have much to be thankful for -- in Francesco and, with him, his wife. We thank You, and we humbly trust and ask your merciful love for his soul. Also, we beg for consolation for his wife, his daughter, his whole family, and also for those of us who have loved him and enjoyed his affection.