The motto, To Holiness through Lowliness, is a great inspiration from God Almighty to the FCC family. This motto comprises of two words, and is the centre the corner stone of Christian Spirituality. We cannot measure the length and width, depth and height, breadth and sacredness, quantity and quality of it. Franciscan life is to go to the depth of lowliness by emptying oneself and to collect the pearls of holiness.
All are called to holiness, especially the consecrated ones. St. Paul says This is the will of God, your sanctification (1Thes 4:3). Again St. Paul exhorts us to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (Eph 4:1-2). Jesus Christ, who is the divine master and the example of all perfection, calls his disciples without considering their life situations, to the perfection of the heavenly Father (Mt 5:48). He himself is the Lord and crown of holiness. He has sent his Spirit to inspire and enable all people (Jn 13:34, 15:12) to love God with all their hearts, with all their mind, with all their soul and to love each other as he loved them (Mk 12:30). God calls followers of Christ not according to their merit but to his plan and grace.
Holiness is the perfection of love. The three vows of obedience, Chastity and poverty manifest the centrality of our commitment to Christ in community. Renunciation and detachment are the essential elements of this radical, total commitment. Religious vows are the means to achieve unity with God and one another. In FCC we attain holiness or perfect love by practicing lowliness as a special virtue. FCC is bound to possess the kenotic love of Jesus Christ: But God proves his love for us in that, while we still were sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). If we want to possess this great love lowliness is most essential. God lifts up the one who humbles herself/himself under his mighty hand. (1Pt. 5/6) Therefore our motto binds us to practice lowliness in our day- to-day life to attain holiness.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Mt.11:29). The only thing Jesus asked is to learn from him is humility and meekness. Lowliness of heart is not something that happens accidentally but is a basic attitude that one freely and consciously adopts. Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on a cross. (Phil. 2/6-8) Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Phil 2:5) St. Paul appeals to us to imbibe the attitude of the lowliness of Jesus. In humility, regard others as better than yourselves (Phil 2:3). For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich (2Cor 8:9).
Different aspects of self-embraced lowliness can be understood from the following words of Mother Mary and other great men and women of the Church. He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant (Lk1:46). By the grace of God I am what I am(1Cor 15:10). My God my all, St. Francis of Assisi. Jesus is my heritage, He alone is my treasure; I have no need for anyone else, He is my Divine Spouse, St. Clare.
When we look into the origin of FCC in 1888, we see the depth of lowliness. Our founding mothers were shining examples of lowliness with their deep sense of dependence on God, firm determination for a totally committed life, obedience and humility. The same attitude of lowliness can be seen in the life of St. Alphonsa, the first woman saint of India who was canonized on 12th Oct. 2008.