The habits of Catholic religious orders are full of deep and rich symbolism, with each detail manifesting their particular charism. The same is true for the habits worn by the Franciscans.


Our habit consists of a simple brown hooded robe, similar to the one worn by Saint Francis himself, and a corded rope cincture, or corded rope belt, worn around the waist.


The rope worn as a belt around the waist symbolises being girded with Christ and is tied in the three characteristic Franciscan knots that signify the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience taken upon becoming a member of the community. Each knot has five coils to remind us of the five wounds of Christ.


Is there anything you wear on a regular basis that reminds you of your Christian faith? Some lay people wear a “little habit” in the form of a scapular; others might wear a crucifix; and still others might choose to keep a rosary or other devotional in their pocket. All of these practices are simple, but effective, ways to remind ourselves of Christ’s presence throughout the day.


Life and work can be busy, but with these small reminders we can remember to rely on Christ in everything we do or say.

13 thoughts on “The Meaning of Our Corded Belts

  1. Father Joseph,
    Is there any possible way of getting a copy of the prayer card you talked about in your Homily last Thursday or Friday July 28th or 29th? From Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Birmingham?

  2. At the conclusion of the “First Reading” there something said in Latin (forgive me because I can only write phonetically as I hear the words. ” Ver Boon Dam Mini”

  3. Please post a drawing of how to tie the knot that you have in the rope belt.
    And what type and thickness of rope do you use?

  4. I am a Secular Franciscan member in the St. Elizabeth Of Hungary Fraternity in Elizabeth City, NC. I know the Secular cincture has 5 knots, three original knots on the cincture represent Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, what are the other 3?

  5. I have a picture of me in my habit. I wanted to know if you can duplicate it. I would need an email to send the picture. Thanks. Br Mike

  6. Hello,
    you say “each knot has 5 coils” but the image seems to show each knot with only 3 coils. Can you please clarify this?
    God bless,
    Joseph Allan.

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