Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live life with a Franciscan focus.
08 October 2012
Folks in orders (religious and seculars) put their orders' acronyms after their names to indicate their membership in said orders. For example, "Brother John Smith, OP" indicates that he's a member of the Order of Preachers (Ordo Praedicatorum, "OP"). "Sister Jane Doe, FSP" indicates she's a member of the arse-kickingly awesometastical Daughters of Saint Paul (Figliae Sancti Pauli, "FSP").
As you can see in these examples, the abbreviations correspond with the Latin form of the names. That way, everyone, regardless of country/language, has the same acronym, which emphasizes the universality of the order and has the side benefit of reducing confusion.
Now, for those of us Secular Franciscans in English-speaking countries, we used to list the English abberviations -- "SFO" for "Secular Franciscan Order" -- after our names. However, everyone else used the proper "OFS" -- for Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis -- after their names. And as you can imagine, it caused continual confusion, along with fragmenting our identity.
Finally, late last year (2011), Rome said*, "Hey, enough! Use 'OFS' like everyone else!", which was A Very Good Move. So, since then, we've all been switching to "OFS". Naturally, it's taking awhile for the changes to propagate everywhere, so you'll still see "SFO" references and stuff all ova' the place. But, we'll get there, eventually. We've been around since 1221, so yeah, we're used to adapting. ;-) Oh, bonus trivia tidbit: We were orignally called "The Brothers and Sisters of Penance".
So, now you know. And knowing is half the battle. Go forth and win at Trivial Pursuit!
- - - - -
* Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis, 2011 General Chapter: "The Official Name of the Order" (PDF)