Darlene Joecks (center, front) committed to Franciscan living Nov. 12 at St. Ann, Cornucopia. Joining her in front of the altar are sponsors Mary Holtz and Jane and Bob Barnes; Fr. Kevin Gordon, pastor, is in the background. (Submitted photo)

On Sunday, Nov. 12, at St Ann’s Church, Cornucopia, during the 10:30 a.m. Mass, Darlene Joecks made her permanent commitment to live the gospel life in the Secular Franciscan Order.

Secular Franciscans live in community within fraternities – small groups that support each other in prayer, spiritual growth and good works. Joecks is a member of the Fr. Solanus Casey Emerging Fraternity of Duluth, Minnesota, and members from that fraternity were present to celebrate with her.

A member representing the Regional Council was present to receive Joecks’ pledge in the name of the Franciscan Orders, and Fr. Kevin Gordon received her promises in the name of the Church.

A reception followed the Mass.


St. Francis of Assisi founded three different Orders, which are ways recognized by the Church of following Jesus Christ.

The First Order is for men who are either friars or brothers. Here, in the Diocese of Superior, many Catholics are familiar with the “Brown Robes” who staffed many churches.

The Second Order is for women who live apart from the world and have a basic ministry of Prayer. These women are known as the Poor Ladies or Poor Clares, since St. Clare and St. Francis wrote their Rule, or guidelines for life.

For men and women, married, single and clerics, who were also drawn to Francis’ way of living the Gospel, Francis wrote yet another Rule and founded the Third Order.

Over the centuries, the Third Order divided into the Third Order Regular and the Third Order Secular. Today, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, the School Sisters of St Francis, the Joliet Franciscans and the Sisters of St Joseph of the Third Order of St Francis are present in the Superior Diocese as members of the Third Order Regular (men and women who make the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience).

Members of the Secular Franciscan Order, as it is known today, live out their calling to the Franciscan life in a particular way in their homes and families, at work, in their parishes and in the world. The Catholic Communities of the Bayfield Peninsula now have such a Franciscan quietly active in their midst.