Franciscan FriarsWho are they?
The Franciscans are referred to as “friars,” from the Latin frater, meaning “brother.” Franciscans are essentially an order of brothers striving to live the Gospel with the same simplicity and fervor as their founder, St. Francis of Assisi. After growing up in a wealthy family and then experiencing a powerful conversion at the age of 25, Francis donned the clothes of a penitent and began to live a very poor lifestyle, dedicating himself to prayer and service of the poor. Before long, inspired by his fervent lifestyle, men began to join Francis and to imitate his way of life. This gave rise to the birth of the Franciscan Order in 1223.
Capuchin FranciscansWho are they?
In the 16th century, a group of Franciscans were inspired to live the Franciscan lifestyle in a more radical manner, returning to the original emphasis on prayer and poverty. These men broke away from the Franciscans and began a reform movement which stressed the priority of contemplative prayer and a more rigorous austerity. Wearing habits with large hoods, they soon garnered the name cappucio, the Italian word for “hood.” The Capuchins recieved approval of their way of life and were recognized as an official, indepedent branch of the Franciscans in 1525 in the papal bull Religionis Zelus. Our reform received early recognition and grew fast, first in Italy, then all over Europe since 1574.
Today our Order now serves in 101 countries, around 11,000 brothers living in more than 1,800 fraternities. Simplicity, closeness to people, and a fraternal spirit in our houses and our apostolates are clearly visible signs that mark our lifestyle, while emphasizing the importance of prayer and conversion. We are brothers. We live in fraternity, pray as individuals and as a community, share meals and time together, help each other grow, just like a family. Our communities, called fraternities are joyful and hospitable places. We are evangelical brotherhood. Jesus with His Gospel is our guide towards a single and humble life among people. The life of Christ, Holy Scriptures, St. Francis and his writings, gives us inspiration.