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: Foundation Day. 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.
- 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.
- 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, it is now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
- 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.
- 1910: Welcoming Brothers Christopher. Servant of God Fr. Paul Wattson’s ministry to the homeless started out with offering shelter in a chicken coop, progressing eventually to what is now St. Christopher’s Inn.
- 1935: Ave Maria Radio is founded. First broadcast of the Ave Maria Radio Hour brings the Gospel and lives of the saints to millions of listeners.
- 1946: Guardianship for Sant’Onofrio begins. 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.
- 1949: Mission Expansion. With increasing numbers of Friars, men were sent to serve the people of Japan, followed by opening a friary in Rome and a parish in British Columbia.
- 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.
- 1960: Final approbation of the Friars of the Atonement by the Holy See. The aim of the community were to “reconcile sinners to God.”
- 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.
- 1968: Friars establish the Graymoor Ecumenical Institute to promote spiritual ecumenism and organize Centro Pro Unione in Rome.
- 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 100 th anniversary of the founding of the Society of the Atonement.
- 2002: Friars begin Student Writing Content with Toronto’s Catholic Register in order to encourage students to write about ecumenism.
- 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.