The current Society of St Francis is a merger of different streams of the Anglican Franciscan renewal. The First Order began when two Anglican Franciscan communities in England combined to form the Society of St Francis in 1937. In 1967, the older corresponding community in the Episcopal Church joined to form our American Province. The Community of St Francis, Anglican Franciscan sisters founded in 1905, has been part of the First Order of SSF since 1973. There is also a Second Order of enclosed Poor Clare Sisters (currently only one community - that in England). And, since the inception of the First Order, there has been a Third Order who live as secular Franciscans in regular daily life.
Our Province of the Divine Compassion has a friary in Brisbane and a hermitage in Stroud, NSW. There are also brothers living singly in Charters Towers, Qld and Sydney. Elsewhere we have a community in Korea, one brother living in New Zealand, and one in Sri Lanka. In our other provinces we have brothers in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and brothers and sisters in the UK and USA.
Our works are varied and depend on each local situation, but as Franciscans we are committed to making known the goodness of God through ways such as our prayer, care and acceptance of others, and proclamation of God's word.
Candidates for membership of the First Order in our province are required to be single men, 21 – 45 years old (the upper limit can be varied in particular circumstances), physically fit, of sound mind, capable of living in community and engaging in manual work. On occasion we have invited others to live with us without necessarily the intention of them joining the First Order Brothers.