The Unity of Men & Women with God and with One Another
The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement recognize the pain of living in a broken world. We see these wounds within ourselves, in our relationships, in our Church and even between different faiths. Inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, Servant of God, founded the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement to walk as brothers along side those who are lost and need God’s healing.
The Friars seek to encourage others to find the unity God has given them within themselves, with God and with one another. Their ministries serve this cause of unity in a variety of ways. The Friars work with individuals through healing and rehabilitation programs such as St. Christopher’s Inn and the Do Not Fear to Hope HIV/Aids support group. Along with their pastoral work through the Graymoor Spiritual Life Retreat Center, you can also find them in parishes throughout the world, fostering a spirit of ecumenism and authentic charity. Additionally, the Friars are devoted to ecumenism on a global scale, seeking to promote dialogue within the whole of Christianity and between all religions.
We are called to witness and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in the Franciscan Atonement Tradition believing that Christians can and will be one. We encourage and promote dialogue and understanding among all faiths.
We believe in…
transforming conflict by being instruments of justice and peace, honoring and embracing the dignity of all people, living “minimum for self, maximum for God,” being stewards of God’s Creation and, ministering to those in need of physical and spiritual healing.
We partner with those who share our values.
We exist as a Catholic religious community to invite the world to join us in the quest for healing and reconciliation.
We do this by living, embracing and fostering the Franciscan spirit of At-One-Ment which includes:
- The unity of all; and
- The healing of the broken and those who have lost their way.
We joy in God.
In the spirit of our Founders Father Paul Wattson, SA and Mother Lurana White, SA,we pray that all may be one so that the world may believe.
Our vision is to bring at- one- ment to a fragmented world through gospel love, mercy and healing.
- December 15, 1898: Mother Lurana White and two companions traveled to Graymoor to look after the abandoned chapel of St. John in the Wilderness. The communities of Sisters and Friars began to grow very slowly in the Episcopal Church. Founders, Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, exchange crucifixes on October 7th making their Covenant Promise to establish the Society of the Atonement – to make all people at one with each other at one with God. The Society of the Atonement is established, making December 15th, Foundation Day.
- 1899: Rev. Lewis T. Wattson arrives at Graymoor. He professed his vows as a Friar of the Atonement in June 1899, taking the name Paul James Francis.
- 1903: The Lamp magazine, the first Christian magazine in the U.S. was first published by Fr. Paul, advocating his message of Christian unity. The publication ceased in 1974.
- 1908: Establishment of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. Founded by Fr. Paul Wattson, Servant of God, along with a friend from England, the Reverend Spencer Jones. Now known as The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, these eight days are set aside for prayer and dedicated to the unity of Christians.
- 1909: Reception into the Catholic faith. On October 30, seventeen members of the Society of the Atonement were received into the Catholic Church, including Father Paul and Mother Lurana. Servant of God Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, established a ministry to serve the homeless, progressing eventually to what is now St. Christpher’s Inn.
- 1911: Fr. Paul established the Union That Nothing Be Lost (UNBL) to be the Society of Atonement’s aid, charitable and missionary support ministry.
- 1912: Perpetual Novena to St. Anthony began at Graymoor.
- 1935: Ave Maria Radio is founded bringing the Gospel and lives of the saints to millions of listeners.
- 1937: The Friars are invited to minister in Rome.
- 1946: The Friars become guardians and administrators for Sant’Onofrioal Gianicolo, Rome, official church of the papal order of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
- 1948: Friars began serving in the Diocese of Yokohama, Japan, forming a parish and educational center in Japan at St. Joseph’s Parish in Tsurumi, their current parish presence. In 1953, St. Joseph’s School opened.
- 1949: Mission Expansion. With increasing numbers of Friars, A Friary was opened in Rome and a parish in British Columbia.
- 1950: Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel at Graymoor is opened, originally referred to as “Pilgrims Chapel” and later “Pilgrim Hall.”
- 1959: Outdoor St. Anthony Shrine at Graymoor erected, fulfilling Fr. Paul’s wish to realize a great shrine dedicated to this Doctor of the Church, along with outdoor Stations of the Cross and the Atonement Altar. In the same year, the Friars began work in Diocese of Nagasaki on Ikisuki Island.
- 1960: Final approbation of the Friars of the Atonement by the Holy See. The aim of the community were to “reconcile sinners to God.”
- 1961: Friars begin ministering at the Chapel of our Savior in Brockon, Massachusetts.
- 1962: The Christian Unity Award in memory of Father Paul of Graymoor was instituted to recognize and stimulate interest in Christian Unity. The first Christian Unity Conference for Friars is held at Graymoor.
- 1964: Vatican II decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, is released.
- 1966: The first joint publication of the leaflets for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity between the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and Faith and Order Section of the National Council of Churches with the approval of the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops.
- 1967: Friars establish the Graymoor Ecumenical Institute, known as GEII, to promote spiritual ecumenism and organize Centro Pro Unione in Rome, a place of study and research and for the exchange of ecumenical information.
- 1970: The Graymoor Spiritual Life Center is organized at Graymoor.
- 1970: St. Christopher’s Inn ministry develops referral system and introduces Alcoholics Anonymous on-site which expanded throughout the 1970s.
- 1970: New Hope Manor established for former female drug addicts.
- 1970: New St. Joseph’s Church dedicated in Tsurumi, Japan.
- 1971: St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center for alcohol treatment opened in Saranac Lake, NY.
- 1972: The first issue of Ecumenical Trends is published.
- 1974: The Lamp, first published by Father Paul ceases publication.
- 1974: First Paul Wattson Lecture held at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC .
- 1977: Christian-Muslim- Jewish dialogue held at Graymoor Ecumenical Institute, the first such dialogue in the United States.
- 1982: Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches holds its semi-annual convention at Graymoor.
- 1993: Centro Pro Unione begins to offer a three week Summer Course in Ecumenism
- 1996: St. Christopher’s Inn establishes a covenant with the rehabilitation program, House of Hope on the Hill in St. Petersburg, Russia, sharing the Inn’s successful model of addiction treatment so it could be implemented there.
- 1998: Centennial Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NY celebrated by John Cardinal O’Connor to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Society of the Atonement. Friars also assumed pastoral care of St. Joan of Arc Parish, Toronto, Canada.
- 1998: Friars establish the Do Not Fear to Hope ministry at Graymoor for people with HIV/AIDS – it was the first such ministry in the Hudson Valley and perhaps in the United States.
- 2002: Friars begin Student Writing Contest with Toronto’s Catholic Register in order to encourage students to write about ecumenism.
- 2008: During his ecumenical service at St. Joseph’s Church in New York City, Pope Benedict XVI quoted the words of Fr. Paul— “we will achieve the ‘oneness’ of hope, oneness of faith, and oneness of love that alone will convince the world that Jesus Christ is the one sent by the Father for the salvation of all.” In that same year, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement establish a formation house in Assisi.
- 2015: Timothy Cardinal Dolan, of the Archdiocese of New York formally opens the cause for canonization of founder Servant of God Father Paul of Graymoor.
- 2017: San Damiano House and Farm, part of the healing ministry of the Friars, St. Christopher’s Inn, opens at Graymoor. In support of his cause for canonization, documents and artifacts, illustrating the holiness of the life of Servant of God Father Paul Wattson of Graymoor, were sealed for shipment to Rome.
- 2021: The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement establish a formation house in Lima, Peru.
- 2022: As the canonization process continues, Fr. Paul was assigned a biographer to pen the official story of his life. Pivoting towards the future and in response to Pope Francis’ call for a “Synod on Synodality”, the Friars host an Atonement Franciscan Assembly at Graymoor.
- 2023: The flame of our mission of At-One-Ment is ignited with more than 30 aspiring vocations through our novitiate houses in Italy and Peru.