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Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic  religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic
Old Catholic Church
The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

 and Non-denominational Franciscan communities.

The most prominent group is the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called simply the "Franciscans." They seek to follow most directly the manner of life that Saint Francis led. This Order is a mendicant religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

 of men tracing their origin to Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

. It comprises three separate groups, each considered a religious order
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

 in its own right. These are the Observants, most commonly simply called "Franciscan friars," the Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

s, and the Conventual Franciscans
Conventual Franciscans
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual , commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.-History:...

. They all live according to a body of regulations known as "The Rule of St. Francis".

Name



The official Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 name of the Orders of Friars Minor is the Ordo Fratrum Minorum. St. Francis thus referred to his followers as "Fraticelli", meaning "Little Brothers". Franciscan brothers are informally called friars or the Minorites. The modern organization of the Friars Minor now comprises three separate branches: the 'Friars Minor' (OFM); the 'Friars Minor Conventual
Conventual Franciscans
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual , commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.-History:...

' (OFM Conv), and the 'Friars Minor Capuchin' (OFM Cap).

The women who comprise the "Second" Order of the movement are most commonly called Poor Clares in English-speaking countries. The order is called the "Order of St. Clare" (O.S.C.).

The Third Order
Third order
The term Third Order designates persons who live according to the Third Rule of a Roman Catholic religious order, an Anglican religious order, or a Lutheran religious order. Their members, known as Tertiaries, are generally lay members of religious orders, i.e...

, or Third Order of Penance, has tens of thousands of members, as it includes both men and women, both living in religious communities under the traditional religious vows
Religious vows
Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices and views.In the Buddhist tradition, in particular within the Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition, many different kinds of religious vows are taken by the lay community as well as by...

, as well as those who live regular lives in society, while trying to live the ideals of the movement in their daily lives.

Beginning of the brotherhood


A sermon which Francis heard in 1209 on Mt 10:9
Matthew 10
Matthew 10 is the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. Matthew 10 comes after Jesus had called some of his disciples and before the meeting with the disciples of John the Baptist. This section is also known as the Mission Discourse or the...

 made such an impression on him that he decided to devote himself wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical
Evangelism
Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity....

 precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance.

He was soon joined by a prominent fellow townsman, Bernardo di Quintavalle, who contributed all that he had to the work, and by other companions, who are said to have reached the number of eleven within a year. The brothers lived in the deserted lazar-house of Rivo Torto near Assisi
Assisi
- Churches :* The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253...

; but they spent much of their time traveling through the mountainous districts of Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

, always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression on their hearers by their earnest exhortations. Their life was extremely ascetic, though such practises were apparently not prescribed by the first rule which Francis gave them (probably as early as 1209), which seems to have been nothing more than a collection of Scriptural passages emphasizing the duty of poverty.
In spite of some similarities between this principle and some of the fundamental ideas of the followers of Peter Waldo
Peter Waldo
Peter Waldo, Valdo, or Waldes , also Pierre Vaudès or de Vaux, is credited as the founder of the Waldensians, a Christian spiritual movement of the Middle Ages, descendants of which still exist in various regions of southern Europe...

, the brotherhood of Assisi succeeded in gaining the approval of Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

. What seems to have impressed first the Bishop of Assisi, Guido, then Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Giovanni di San Paolo
Giovanni di San Paolo
Giovanni di San Paolo was a Benedictine monk at San Paolo fuori le Muri in Rome. He was made Cardinal-Deacon on February 20, 1193, then Cardinal Priest of Santa Prisca in May 1193 and finally Cardinal Bishop of Sabina at the end of 1204...

 and finally Innocent himself, was their utter loyalty to the Church and the clergy. Innocent III was not only the Pope reigning during the life of St. Francis of Assisi, but he was also responsible for helping to construct the Church Francis was being called to rebuild. Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council helped maintain the church in Europe. Innocent probably saw in them a possible answer to his desire for an orthodox preaching force to counter heresy. Many legends have clustered around the decisive audience of Francis with the Pope. The realistic account in Matthew Paris
Matthew Paris
Matthew Paris was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire...

, according to which the Pope originally sent the shabby saint off to keep swine, and only recognized his real worth by his ready obedience, has, in spite of its improbability, a certain historical interest, since it shows the natural antipathy of the older Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 monasticism to the plebeian mendicant orders. The group was tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

d and Francis was ordained as a deacon, allowing him to read Gospels in the church.

Last years of Francis


Francis had to suffer from the dissensions just alluded to and the transformation which they operated in the originally simple constitution of the brotherhood, making it a regular order under strict supervision from Rome. Exasperated by the demands of running a growing and fractious Order, Francis asked Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III
Pope Honorius III , previously known as Cencio Savelli, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.-Early work:He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico...

 for help in 1219. He was assigned Cardinal Ugolino
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

 as protector of the order by the Pope. Francis resigned the day-to-day running of the Order into the hands of others but retained the power to shape the Order's legislation, writing a Rule in 1221 which he revised and had approved in 1223. At least after about 1223, the day-to-day running of the Order was in the hands of Brother Elias of Cortona
Elias of Cortona
Elias of Cortona was born, it is said, at Bevilia near Assisi, ca. 1180; he died at Cortona, 22 April 1253. He was among the first to join St. Francis of Assisi in his newly founded Order of Friars Minor....

, an able friar who would be elected as leader of the friars a few years after Francis' death (1226) but who aroused much opposition because of his autocratic style of leadership. He planned and built the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor—commonly known as the Franciscan Order—in Assisi, Italy, the city where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy...

 in which Saint Francis
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

 is buried, a building including the friary Sacro Convento
Sacro Convento
The Sacro Convento is a Franciscan friary in Assisi, Umbria, Italy. The friary is connected as part of three buildings to the upper and lower church of the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, where the friars custody with great reverence the body of Saint Francis. St...

, which still today is the spiritual centre of the order.

In the external successes of the brothers, as they were reported at the yearly general chapters, there was much to encourage Francis. Caesarius of Speyer, the first German provincial
Provincial superior
A Provincial Superior is a major superior of a religious order acting under the order's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that order in a territorial division of the order called a province--similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical...

, a zealous advocate of the founder's strict principle of poverty, began in 1221 from Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

, with twenty-five companions, to win for the order the land watered by the Rhine and the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

. In 1224 Agnellus of Pisa
Agnellus of Pisa
Blessed Agnellus of Pisa was a Friar Minor and founder of the English Franciscan Province. He was born in 1195 at Pisa,of the prominent family, Angenelli. This similarity to the upbringing of St.Francis makes it no surprise that Agnellus was approached by St. Francis himself and asked to join the...

 led a small group of friars to England. The branch of the order arriving in England became known as the greyfriars. Beginning at Greyfriars
Greyfriars, Canterbury
Greyfriars was a Franciscan friary in Canterbury, the first friary of that order in England. The first Franciscans arrived in the country in 1224 and the friary was set up soon afterwards...

 at Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, the ecclesiastical capital, they moved on to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the political capital and Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, the intellectual capital. From these three bases the Franciscans swiftly expanded to embrace the principal towns of England.

Dissensions during the life of Francis


The controversy about issues of poverty, which extends through the first three centuries of Franciscan history, began in the lifetime of the founder. The ascetic brothers Matthew of Narni and Gregory of Naples, a nephew of Ugolino, the two vicars-general to whom Francis had entrusted the direction of the order during his absence, carried through at a chapter which they held certain stricter regulations in regard to fasting and the reception of alms, which really departed from the spirit of the original rule. It did not take Francis long, on his return, to suppress this insubordinate tendency; but he was less successful in regard to another of an opposite nature which soon came up. Elias of Cortona
Elias of Cortona
Elias of Cortona was born, it is said, at Bevilia near Assisi, ca. 1180; he died at Cortona, 22 April 1253. He was among the first to join St. Francis of Assisi in his newly founded Order of Friars Minor....

 originated a movement for the increase of the worldly consideration of the order and the adaptation of its system to the plans of the hierarchy which conflicted with the original notions of the founder and helped to bring about the successive changes in the rule already described. Francis was not alone in opposition to this lax and secularizing tendency. On the contrary, the party which clung to his original views and after his death took his "Testament" for their guide, known as Observantists or Zelanti
Zelanti
In Roman Catholicism, the expression zelanti has been applied to conservative members of the clergy and their lay supporters since the thirteenth century. Its specific connotations have shifted with each reapplication of the label...

, was at least equal in numbers and activity to the followers of Elias. The conflict between the two lasted many years, and the Zelanti won several notable victories, in spite of the favor shown to their opponents by the papal administration—until finally the reconciliation of the two points of view was seen to be impossible, and the order was actually split into halves.

Development to 1239



When the General Chapter could not agree on a common interpretation of the 1223 Rule it sent a delegation including St. Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

 to Pope Gregory IX for an authentic interpretation of this piece of papal legislation. The bull Quo elongati of Gregory IX declared that the Testament of St. Francis was not legally binding and offered an interpretation of poverty that would allow the order to continue to develop. The earliest leader of the strict party was rather Brother Leo, the witness of the ecstasies of Francis on Monte Alverno and the author of the Speculum perfectionis, a strong polemic against the laxer party. Next to him came John Parenti, the first successor of Francis in the headship of the order. In 1232 Elias succeeded him, and under him the order developed its ministries and presence in the towns significantly. Many new houses were founded, especially in Italy, and in many of them special attention was paid to education. The somewhat earlier settlements of Franciscan teachers at the universities (in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, for example, where Alexander of Hales
Alexander of Hales
Alexander Hales also called Doctor Irrefragabilis and Theologorum Monarcha was a notable thinker important in the history of scholasticism and the Franciscan School.-Life:Alexander was born at Hales ,...

 was teaching) continued to develop. Contributions toward the promotion of the order's work, and especially the building of the Basilica in Assisi, came in abundantly. Funds could only be accepted on behalf of the friars for determined, imminent, real necessities that could not be provided for from begging. Gregory IX, in Quo elongati, authorized agents of the order to have custody of such funds where they could not be spent immediately. Elias pursued with great severity the principal leaders of the opposition, and even Bernardo di Quintavalle, the founder's first disciple, was obliged to conceal himself for years in the forest of Monte Sefro
Sefro
- Sefro is a comune in the Province of Macerata in the Italian region Marche, located about 70 km southwest of Ancona and about 45 km southwest of Macerata. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 453 and an area of 42.5 km²....

. St. Clare of Assisi, whom St. Francis saw as a co-founder of his movement, consistently backed Elias as faithfully reflecting the mind of their founder.

1239 - 1274



Elias had governed the order from the center, imposing his authority on the provinces (as had Francis). A reaction to this centralized government was led from the provinces of England and Germany. At the general chapter of 1239, held in Rome under the personal presidency of Gregory IX, Elias was deposed in favor of Albert of Pisa
Albert of Pisa
Albert of Pisa was an Italian Franciscan. He became the third Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor in 1239.He had been the successor to Agnellus of Pisa, as the second Franciscan Provincial in England. He had also been Provincial in Germany and Hungary.-External links:*...

, the former provincial of England, a moderate Observantist. This chapter introduced General Statutes to govern the order and devolved power from the Minister General to the Ministers Provincial sitting in chapter. The next two Ministers General, Haymo of Faversham
Haymo of Faversham
Haymo of Faversham was an English Franciscan and schoolman, born at Faversham, Kent and died at Anagni, Italy, circa 1243. Following the custom in the Middle Ages to designate the more celebrated among the doctors by certain epithets, he is called Inter Aristotelicos Aristotelicissimus...

 (1240–44) and Crescentius of Jesi
Crescentius of Jesi
Crescentius Grizi of Jesi was an Italian Franciscan who became Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor. He was an opponent of the Franciscan Spirituals, and was deposed as general in 1247 in favour of John of Parma of their party. Crescentius Grizi of Jesi (died 1263) was an Italian...

 (1244–47), consolidated this greater democracy in the Order but also led the order towards a greater clericalisation. The new Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

 supported them in this. In a bull of November 14, 1245, this pope even sanctioned an extension of the system of financial agents, and allowed the funds to be used not simply for those things that were necessary for the friars but also for those that were useful. The Observantist party took a strong stand in opposition to this ruling, and carried on so successful an agitation against the lax General that in 1247, at a chapter held in Lyon, France—where Innocent IV was then residing—he was replaced by the strict Observantist John of Parma
John of Parma
Blessed John of Parma was an Italian Franciscan, and Minister General of the Friars Minor .-Biography:Giovanni was born at Parma about 1209; his family name was probably Buralli. Educated by an uncle, chaplain of the church of St. Lazarus at Parma, his progress in learning was such that he quickly...

 (1247–57) and the order refused to implement any provisions of Innocent IV that were laxer than those of Gregory IX.

Elias, who had been excommunicated and taken under the protection of Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

, was now forced to give up all hope of recovering his power in the order. He died in 1253, after succeeding by recantation in obtaining the removal of his censures. Under John of Parma, who enjoyed the favor of Innocent IV and Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV was Pope from 1254 until his death.Born as Rinaldo di Jenne, in Jenne , he was, on his mother's side, a member of the de' Conti di Segni family, the counts of Segni, like Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX...

, the influence of the order was notably increased, especially by the provisions of the latter pope in regard to the academic activity of the brothers. He not only sanctioned the theological institutes in Franciscan houses, but did all he could to support the friars in the Mendicant Controversy, when the secular Masters of the university of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 and the Bishops of France combined to attack the Mendicant Orders
Mendicant Orders
The mendicant orders are religious orders which depend directly on the charity of the people for their livelihood. In principle, they do not own property, either individually or collectively , believing that this was the most pure way of life to copy followed by Jesus Christ, in order that all...

. It was due to the action of Alexander's representatives, who were obliged to threaten the university authorities with excommunication, that the degree of doctor of theology was finally conceded to the Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 and the Franciscan Bonaventure
Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

 (1257), who had previously been able to lecture only as licentiates.

The Franciscan Gerard of Borgo San Donnino at this time issued a Joachimite tract and John of Parma
John of Parma
Blessed John of Parma was an Italian Franciscan, and Minister General of the Friars Minor .-Biography:Giovanni was born at Parma about 1209; his family name was probably Buralli. Educated by an uncle, chaplain of the church of St. Lazarus at Parma, his progress in learning was such that he quickly...

 was seen as favoring the condemned theology of Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore, also known as Joachim of Flora and in Italian Gioacchino da Fiore , was the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore . He was a mystic, a theologian and an esoterist...

. To protect the order from its enemies John was forced to step down and recommended Bonaventure as his successor. Bonaventure saw the need to unify the order around a common ideology and both wrote a new life of the founder and collected the order's legislation into the Constitutions of Narbonne, so called because they were ratified by the Order at its chapter held at Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

, France, in 1260. In the chapter of Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 three years later Bonaventure's Legenda maior was approved as the only biography of Francis and all previous biographies were ordered to be destroyed. Bonaventure ruled (1257–74) in a moderate spirit, which is represented also by various works produced by the order in his time—especially by the Expositio regulae written by David of Augsburg
David of Augsburg
David of Augsburg was a medieval German mystic, and a Franciscan friar. It is believed that he probably joined the Franciscan Order at Regensburg, where he filled the position of master of novices and wrote his acclaimed "Formula Novitiorum".*Christian mystics...

 soon after 1260.

1274 - 1300


The successor to Bonaventura, Jerome of Ascoli or Girolamo Masci (1274–79), (the future Pope Nicholas IV), and his successor, Bonagratia of Bologna (1279–85), also followed a middle course. Severe measures were taken against certain extreme Spirituals
Fraticelli
The Fraticelli, sometimes confusingly called Fratricelli, were medieval Roman Catholic groups that could trace their origins to the Franciscans, but which came into being as a separate entity. The Fraticelli were declared heretical by the Church in 1296 by Boniface VIII...

 who, on the strength of the rumor that Pope Gregory X was intending at the Council of Lyon
Second Council of Lyon
The Second Council of Lyon was the fourteenth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, convoked on 31 March 1272 and convened in Lyon, France, in 1274. Pope Gregory X presided over the council, called to act on a pledge by Byzantine emperor Michael VIII to reunite the Eastern church with the West...

 (1274–75) to force the mendicant orders to tolerate the possession of property, threatened both pope and council with the renunciation of allegiance. Attempts were made, however, to satisfy the reasonable demands of the Spiritual party, as in the bull Exiit qui seminat of Pope Nicholas III (1279), which pronounced the principle of complete poverty meritorious and holy, but interpreted it in the way of a somewhat sophistical distinction between possession and usufruct. The bull was received respectfully by Bonagratia and the next two generals, Arlotto of Prato
Arlotto of Prato
Arlotto of Prato was an Italian Franciscan theologian.He became Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor at the end of his life. He is known also for the Quaestio de Aeternitate Mundi, and as a Biblical scholar. He compiled a Bible concordance, of the Latin Vulgate. This is sometimes cited as...

 (1285–87) and Matthew of Aqua Sparta (1287–89); but the Spiritual party under the leadership of the Bonaventuran pupil and apocalyptic Pierre Jean Olivi
Peter Olivi
Peter John Olivi, in his native French Pierre Jean Olivi and also Pierre Déjean, was a Franciscan theologian who, although he died professing the faith of the Roman Catholic Church, became a controversial figure in the arguments surrounding poverty at the beginning of the fourteenth century...

 regarded its provisions for the dependence of the friars upon the Pope and the division between brothers occupied in manual labor and those employed on spiritual missions as a corruption of the fundamental principles of the order. They were not won over by the conciliatory attitude of the next general, Raymond Gaufredi (1289–96), and of the Franciscan Pope Nicholas IV (1288–92). The attempt made by the next pope, Pope Celestine V, an old friend of the order, to end the strife by uniting the Observantist party with his own order of hermits (see Celestines
Celestines
Celestines are a Roman Catholic monastic order, a branch of the Benedictines, founded in 1244. At the foundation of the new rule, they were called Hermits of St Damiano, or Moronites , and did not assume the appellation of Celestines until after the election of their founder to the Papacy as...

) was scarcely more successful. Only a part of the Spirituals joined the new order, and the secession scarcely lasted beyond the reign of the hermit-pope. Pope Boniface VIII annulled Celestine's bull of foundation with his other acts, deposed the general Raymond Gaufredi
Raymond de Gaufredi
Raymond de Gaufredi was a Franciscan from Provence. A sympathizer with the Franciscan Spirituals, he became Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor in 1289. On the death of Pope Nicholas IV in 1292, he felt able to relax the sanctions against the Spirituals. He was responsible in particular...

, and appointed a man of laxer tendency, John de Murro, in his place. The Benedictine section of the Celestines was separated from the Franciscan section, and the latter was formally suppressed by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302. The leader of the Observantists, Olivi, who spent his last years in the Franciscan house at Narbonne and died there in 1298, had pronounced against the extremer "Spiritual" attitude, and given an exposition of the theory of poverty which was approved by the more moderate Observantists, and for a long time constituted their principle.

Persecution


Under Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

 (1305–14) this party succeeded in exercising some influence on papal decisions. In 1309 Clement had a commission sit at Avignon
Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

 for the purpose of reconciling the conflicting parties. Ubertino of Casale
Ubertino of Casale
Ubertino of Casale was an Italian Franciscan and one of the leaders of the stricter branch of the Franciscan Christian order. For some time he was a chaplain of the cardinal Orsini....

, the leader, after Olivi's death, of the stricter party, who was a member of the commission, induced the Council of Vienne
Council of Vienne
The Council of Vienne was the fifteenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church that met between 1311 and 1312 in Vienne. Its principal act was to withdraw papal support for the Knights Templar on the instigation of Philip IV of France.-Background:...

 to arrive at a decision in the main favoring his views, and the papal constitution Exivi de paradiso (1313) was on the whole conceived in the same sense. Clement's successor, Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 (1316–34), favored the laxer or conventual party. By the bull Quorundam exigit he modified several provisions of the constitution Exivi, and required the formal submission of the Spirituals. Some of them, encouraged by the strongly Observantist general Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena was an Italian Franciscan, general of that Order, and theologian.-Biography:...

, ventured to dispute the Pope's right so to deal with the provisions of his predecessor. Sixty-four of them were summoned to Avignon, and the most obstinate delivered over to the Inquisition, four of them being burned (1318). Shortly before this all the separate houses of the Observantists had been suppressed.

Renewed controversy on the question of poverty



A few years later a new controversy, this time theoretical, broke out on the question of poverty
Apostolic poverty
Apostolic poverty is a doctrine professed in the thirteenth century by the newly formed religious orders, known as the mendicant orders, in direct response to calls for reform in the Roman Catholic Church...

. In his 14 August 1279 bull Exiit qui seminat, Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III
Pope Nicholas III , born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, Pope from November 25, 1277 to his death in 1280, was a Roman nobleman who had served under eight Popes, been made cardinal-deacon of St...

 had confirmed the arrangement already established by Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX
Pope Gregory IX, born Ugolino di Conti, was pope from March 19, 1227 to August 22, 1241.The successor of Pope Honorius III , he fully inherited the traditions of Pope Gregory VII and of his uncle Pope Innocent III , and zealously continued their policy of Papal supremacy.-Early life:Ugolino was...

, by which all property given to the Franciscans was vested in the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, which granted the friars the mere use of it. The bull declared that renunciation of ownership of all things "both individually but also in common, for God's sake, is meritorious and holy; Christ, also, showing the way of perfection, taught it by word and confirmed it by example, and the first founders of the Church militant, as they had drawn it from the fountainhead itself, distributed it through the channels of their teaching and life to those wishing to live perfectly".

Although Exiit qui seminat banned disputing about its contents, the decades that followed saw increasingly bitter disputes about the form of poverty to be observed by Franciscans, with the Spirituals (so called because associated with the Age of the Spirit that Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore
Joachim of Fiore, also known as Joachim of Flora and in Italian Gioacchino da Fiore , was the founder of the monastic order of San Giovanni in Fiore . He was a mystic, a theologian and an esoterist...

 had said would begin in 1260) pitched against the Conventual Franciscans
Conventual Franciscans
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual , commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.-History:...

. Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V
Pope Clement V, born Raymond Bertrand de Got was Pope from 1305 to his death...

's bull Exivi de Paradiso of 20 November 1312 failed to effect a compromise between the two factions. Clement V's successor, Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 was determined to suppress what he considered to be the excesses of the Spirituals, who contended eagerly for the view that Christ and his apostles had possessed absolutely nothing, either separately or jointly, and who were citing Exiit qui seminat in support of their view. In 1317, John XXII formally condemned the group of them known as the Fraticelli. On 26 March 1322, he removed the ban on discussion of Nicholas III's bull and commissioned experts to examine the idea of poverty based on belief that Christ and the apostles owned nothing. The experts disagreed among themselves, but the majority condemned the idea on the grounds that it would condemn the Church's right to have possessions. The Franciscan chapter held in Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 in May 1322 declared on the contrary: "To say or assert that Christ, in showing the way of perfection, and the Apostles, in following that way and setting an example to others who wished to lead the perfect life, possessed nothing either severally or in common, either by right of ownership and dominium or by personal right, we corporately and unanimously declare to be not heretical, but true and catholic." By the bull Ad conditorem canonum of 8 December 1322, John XXII, declaring it ridiculous to pretend that every scrap of food given to the friars and eaten by them belonged to the pope, refused to accept ownership over the goods of the Franciscans in future and granted them exemption from the rule that absolutely forbade ownership of anything even in common, thus forcing them to accept ownership. And on 12 November 1523 he issued the short bull Cum inter nonnullos, which declared "erroneous and heretical" the doctrine that Christ and his apostles had no possessions whatever. John XXII's actions thus demolished the fictitious structure that gave the appearance of absolute poverty to the life of the Franciscan friars.

Influential members of the order protested, such as the minister general Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena
Michael of Cesena was an Italian Franciscan, general of that Order, and theologian.-Biography:...

, the English provincial William of Ockham
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

 and Bonagratia of Bergamo
Bonagratia of Bergamo
Bonagratia of Bergamo was a leading supporter of the Franciscan Spirituals from within the Franciscan movement. He was a well trained lawyer before entering the Franciscans, and represented the Franciscans at the Papal Curia...

. In 1324, Louis the Bavarian
Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV , called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was the King of Germany from 1314, the King of Italy from 1327 and the Holy Roman Emperor from 1328....

 sided with the Spirituals and accused the Pope of heresy. In reply to the argument of his opponents that Nicholas III's bull Exiit qui seminat was fixed and irrevocable, John XXII issued the bull "Quia quorundam" of 10 November 1324, in which he declared that it cannot be inferred from the words of the 1279 bull that Christ and the apostles had nothing, adding: "Indeed, it can be inferred rather that the Gospel life lived by Christ and the Apostles did not exclude some possessions in common, since living 'without property' does not require that those living thus should have nothing in common." In 1328 Michael of Cesena was summoned to Avignon to explain the Order's intransigence in refusing the Pope's orders and its complicity with Louis of Bavaria. Michael was imprisoned in Avignon, together with Francesco d'Ascoli, Bonagratia and William of Ockham. In January of that year Louis of Bavaria entered Rome and had himself crowned emperor. Three months later, he declared John XXII deposed and installed the Spiritual Franciscan Pietro Rainalducci
Antipope Nicholas V
Nicholas V, born Pietro Rainalducci was an antipope in Italy from 12 May 1328 to 25 July 1330 during the pontificate of Pope John XXII at Avignon. He was the last Imperial antipope, that is, set up by a Holy Roman Emperor.-Life:Rainalducci was born at Corvaro, an ancient stronghold near Rieti in...

 as Pope. The Franciscan chapter that opened in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 on 28 May reelected Michael of Cesena, who two days before had escaped with his companions from Avignon. But in August Louis the Bavarian and his pope had to flee Rome before an attack by Robert, King of Naples. Only a small part of the Franciscan Order joined the opponents of John XXII, and at a general chapter held in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1329 the majority of all the houses declared their submission to the Pope. With the bull "Quia vir reprobus" of 16 November 1329, John XXII replied to Michael of Cesena's attacks on Ad conditorem canonum, Cum inter and Quia quorundam. In 1330 Antipope Nicholas V submitted, followed later by the ex-general Michael, and finally, just before his death, by Ockham.

Separate congregations


Out of all these dissensions in the fourteenth century sprang a number of separate congregations, almost of sects. To say nothing of the heretical parties of the Beghards
Beghards
Beghards and Beguines were Roman Catholic lay religious communities active in the 13th and 14th centuries, living in a loose semi-monastic community but without formal vows...

 and Fraticelli
Fraticelli
The Fraticelli, sometimes confusingly called Fratricelli, were medieval Roman Catholic groups that could trace their origins to the Franciscans, but which came into being as a separate entity. The Fraticelli were declared heretical by the Church in 1296 by Boniface VIII...

, some of which developed within the order on both hermit and cenobitic principles, may here be mentioned:

Clareni


The Clareni or Clarenini, an association of hermits established on the river Clareno in the march of Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

 by Angelo da Clareno
Angelo da Clareno
Angelo da Clareno was the founder and leader of one of the groups of Fraticelli in the early 14th century.Imprisoned, he was released by Raymond Gaufredi in 1289; he was sent as a missionary to Armenia, with four others.-Bibliography:...

 after the suppression of the Franciscan Celestines by Boniface VIII. It maintained the principles of Olivi, and, outside of Umbria, spread also in the kingdom of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, where Angelo died in 1337. Like several other smaller congregations, it was obliged in 1568 under Pope Pius V
Pope Pius V
Pope Saint Pius V , born Antonio Ghislieri , was Pope from 1566 to 1572 and is a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman liturgy within the Latin Church...

 to unite with the general body of Observantists.

Minorites of Narbonne


As a separate congregation, this originated through the union of a number of houses which followed Olivi after 1308. It was limited to southwestern France and, its members being accused of the heresy of the Beghards, was suppressed by the Inquisition during the controversies under John XXII.

Reform of Johannes de Vallibus



This was founded in the hermitage of St. Bartholomew at Brugliano near Foligno
Foligno
Foligno is an ancient town of Italy in the province of Perugia in east central Umbria, on the Topino river where it leaves the Apennines and enters the wide plain of the Clitunno river system...

 in 1334. The congregation was suppressed by the Franciscan general chapter in 1354; reestablished in 1368 by Paolo de' Trinci of Foligno; confirmed by Gregory XI. in 1373, and spread rapidly from Central Italy to France, Spain, Hungary and elsewhere. Most of the Observantist houses joined this congregation by degrees, so that it became known simply as the "brothers of the regular Observance." It acquired the favor of the popes by its energetic opposition to the heretical Fraticelli
Fraticelli
The Fraticelli, sometimes confusingly called Fratricelli, were medieval Roman Catholic groups that could trace their origins to the Franciscans, but which came into being as a separate entity. The Fraticelli were declared heretical by the Church in 1296 by Boniface VIII...

, and was expressly recognized by the Council of Constance
Council of Constance
The Council of Constance is the 15th ecumenical council recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, held from 1414 to 1418. The council ended the Three-Popes Controversy, by deposing or accepting the resignation of the remaining Papal claimants and electing Pope Martin V.The Council also condemned and...

 (1415). It was allowed to have a special vicar-general of its own and legislate for its members without reference to the conventual part of the order. Through the work of such men as Bernardino of Siena
Bernardino of Siena
Saint Bernardino of Siena, O.F.M., was an Italian priest, Franciscan missionary, and is a Catholic saint.-Early life:...

, Giovanni da Capistrano
Giovanni da Capistrano
Saint John of Capistrano, O.F.M., was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from Italy...

, and Dietrich Coelde
Dietrich Coelde
Dietrich Coelde was a German Franciscan missionary.-Life:Coelde made his first studies at Cologne, and entered the Order of the Hermits of St. Augustine at an early age. In 1454 he was received into the Franciscan Order in the Netherlands. When the plague broke out at Brussels in 1489, Coelde...

 (b. 1435? at Munster; was a member of the Brethren of the Common Life
Brethren of the Common Life
The Brethren of the Common Life was a Roman Catholic pietist religious community founded in the 14th century by Gerard Groote, formerly a successful and worldly educator who had had a religious experience and preached a life of simple devotion to Jesus Christ...

, died December 11, 1515), it gained great prominence during the fifteenth century. By the end of the Middle Ages, the Observantists, with 1,400 houses, comprised nearly half of the entire order. Their influence brought about attempts at reform even among the Conventuals, including the quasi-Observantist brothers living under the rule of the Conventual ministers (Martinianists or "Observantes sub ministris"), such as the male Colletans, later led by Boniface de Ceva in his reform attempts principally in France and Germany; the reformed congregation founded in 1426 by the Spaniard Philip de Berbegal and distinguished by the special importance they attached to the little hood (cappuciola); the Neutri, a group of reformers originating about 1463 in Italy, who tried to take a middle ground between the Conventuals and Observantists, but refused to obey the heads of either, until they were compelled by the Pope to affiliate with the regular Observantists, or with those of the Common Life; the Caperolani, a congregation founded about 1470 in North Italy by Peter Caperolo
Pietro Caperolo
Pietro Caperolo was an Italian Franciscan preacher.-Life:He was known as a preacher in Brescia, Velletri, and other cities of Northern Italy...

, but dissolved again on the death of its founder in 1481; the Amadeists, founded by the noble Portuguese Amadeo, who entered the Franciscan order at Assisi in 1452, gathered around him a number of adherents to his fairly strict principles (numbering finally twenty-six houses) and, died in the odor of sanctity in 1482.

Unification


Projects for a union between the two main branches of the order were put forth not only by the Council of Constance but by several popes, without any positive result. By direction of Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V
Pope Martin V , born Odo Colonna, was Pope from 1417 to 1431. His election effectively ended the Western Schism .-Biography:...

, John of Capistrano
Giovanni da Capistrano
Saint John of Capistrano, O.F.M., was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from Italy...

 drew up statutes which were to serve as a basis for reunion, and they were actually accepted by a general chapter at Assisi in 1430; but the majority of the Conventual houses refused to agree to them, and they remained without effect. At Capistrano's request Eugenius IV
Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV , born Gabriele Condulmer, was pope from March 3, 1431, to his death.-Biography:He was born in Venice to a rich merchant family, a Correr on his mother's side. Condulmer entered the Order of Saint Augustine at the monastery of St. George in his native city...

 put forth a bull (Ut sacra minorum, 1446) looking to the same result, but again nothing was accomplished. Equally unsuccessful were the attempts of the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV , born Francesco della Rovere, was Pope from 1471 to 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the establishment of the Sistine Chapel; the group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpiece of the city's new artistic age,...

, who bestowed a vast number of privileges on both the original mendicant orders, but by this very fact lost the favor of the Observantists and failed in his plans for reunion. Julius II
Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II , nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope" , born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1503 to 1513...

 succeeded in doing away with some of the smaller branches, but left the division of the two great parties untouched. This division was finally legalized by Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

, after a general chapter held in Rome in 1517, in connection with the reform-movement of the Fifth Lateran Council
Fifth Council of the Lateran
The Fifth Council of the Lateran was the last Ecumenical council of the Catholic Church before reformation.When elected pope in 1503, Pope Julius II , promised under oath that he would soon convoke a general council. However, as time passed the promise was not fulfilled...

, had once more declared the impossibility of reunion. The less strict principles of the Conventuals, permitting the possession of real estate and the enjoyment of fixed revenues, were recognized as tolerable, while the Observantists, in contrast to this usus moderatus, were held strictly to their own usus arctus or pauper. All of the groups that followed the Franciscan Rule literally were united to the Observantists and the right to elect the Minister General of the Order, together with the seal of the Order, was given to this united grouping. This grouping, since it adhered more closely to the rule of the founder, was allowed to claim a certain superiority over the Conventuals. The Observantist general (elected now for six years, not for life) inherited the title of "Minister-General of the Whole Order of St. Francis" and was granted the right to confirm the choice of a head for the Conventuals, who was known as "Master-General of the Friars Minor Conventual"—although this privilege never became practically operative.

New World missions



Distinguished Franciscans


The Franciscan order boasts a number of distinguished members. From its first century can be cited the three great scholastics Alexander of Hales
Alexander of Hales
Alexander Hales also called Doctor Irrefragabilis and Theologorum Monarcha was a notable thinker important in the history of scholasticism and the Franciscan School.-Life:Alexander was born at Hales ,...

, Bonaventure
Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

, and John Duns Scotus, the "Doctor of Wonders" Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. , also known as Doctor Mirabilis , was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods...

, and the well-known mystic authors and popular preachers David of Augsburg
David of Augsburg
David of Augsburg was a medieval German mystic, and a Franciscan friar. It is believed that he probably joined the Franciscan Order at Regensburg, where he filled the position of master of novices and wrote his acclaimed "Formula Novitiorum".*Christian mystics...

 and Berthold of Regensburg.

During the Middle Ages noteworthy members included Nicholas of Lyra
Nicholas of Lyra
Nicholas of Lyra , or Nicolaus Lyranus, a Franciscan teacher, was among the most influential practitioners of Biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages. He was a doctor at the Sorbonne by 1309 and ten years later was appointed the head of all Franciscans in France. His major work, Postillae perpetuae...

, the Biblical commentator Bernardino of Siena
Bernardino of Siena
Saint Bernardino of Siena, O.F.M., was an Italian priest, Franciscan missionary, and is a Catholic saint.-Early life:...

, preachers John of Capistrano, Oliver Maillard
Oliver Maillard
Oliver Maillard was a Breton Franciscan preacher.He was celebrated as forceful and popular, for his Lenten sermons in both churches and public places. His manner and style were rather blunt and plebeian. Fearless, he attacked the abuses of his time, and the cruelties of Louis XI...

, and Michel Menot, and historians Luke Wadding
Luke Wadding
Luke Wadding was an Irish Franciscan friar and historian.-Life:Wadding was born in 16 October 1588 at Waterford to Walter Wadding of Waterford, a wealthy merchant, and his wife, Anastasia Lombard . Educated at the school of Mrs...

 and Antoine Pagi
Antoine Pagi
Antoine Pagi was a French ecclesiastical historian. After studying with the Jesuits in Aix, he entered the monastery of the Conventual Franciscans in Arles, and made solemn profession on 31 January 1641...

.

In the field of Christian art, during the later Middle Ages, the Franciscan movement exercised considerable influence, especially in Italy. Several great painters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, especially Cimabue
Cimabue
Cimabue , also known as Bencivieni di Pepo or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe, was an Italian painter and creator of mosaics from Florence....

 and Giotto, who, though they were not friars, were spiritual sons of Francis in the wider sense, and the plastic masterpieces of the latter, as well as the architectural conceptions of both himself and his school, show the influence of Franciscan ideals. The Italian Gothic style, whose earliest important monument is the great convent church at Assisi
Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor—commonly known as the Franciscan Order—in Assisi, Italy, the city where St. Francis was born and died. The basilica is one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy...

 (built 1228–53), was cultivated as a rule principally by members of the order or men under their influence.

The early spiritual poetry of Italy was partially inspired by Francis himself, who was followed by Thomas of Celano
Thomas of Celano
Thomas of Celano was an Italian friar of the Franciscans , a poet, and the author of three hagiographies about Saint Francis of Assisi.Thomas was from Celano in Abruzzo...

, Bonaventure
Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure, O.F.M., , born John of Fidanza , was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also a Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonized on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the...

, and Jacopone da Todi
Jacopone da Todi
Jacopone da Todi was a Franciscan friar from Umbria, Italy in the 13th century. He wrote several laudi in Italian. He was an early pioneer in Italian theatre, being one of the earliest scholars who dramatised gospel subjects.-Life:Jacopone studied law in Bologna and became a successful lawyer...

. Through a tradition which held him to have been a member of the Franciscan Third Order, even Dante
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 may be included within this artistic tradition (cf. especially Paradiso, xi. 50).

Other famous members of the Franciscan family include Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

, William of Occam
William of Ockham
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of...

, François Rabelais
François Rabelais
François Rabelais was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs...

, Alexander of Hales
Alexander of Hales
Alexander Hales also called Doctor Irrefragabilis and Theologorum Monarcha was a notable thinker important in the history of scholasticism and the Franciscan School.-Life:Alexander was born at Hales ,...

, Giovanni da Pian del Carpini, Pio of Pietrelcina
Pio of Pietrelcina
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina was a Capuchin priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pio when he joined the Capuchins; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his ...

, Maximilian Kolbe
Maximilian Kolbe
Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe OFM Conv was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II.He was canonized on 10 October 1982 by Pope John Paul II, and...

, Pasquale Sarullo
Pasquale Sarullo
Pasquale Sarullo was a 19th-century Franciscan friar, priest and artist. A native of Ciminna, in the province of Palermo, Italy, his work was appreciated by his contemporaries and had an international circulation....

, Mamerto Esquiú
Mamerto Esquiú
Mamerto de la Ascensión Esquiú, Venerable Servant of God was a historically significant Argentine friar.He was born in Piedra Blanca in Catamarca Province to Esquiú and María de las Nieves Medina...

, Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra was a Franciscan Friar and scripture scholar. He is best known for performing the first complete translation of the Catholic Bible into the Chinese language. His Studium Biblicum Translation is often considered the definitive Chinese Bible among Catholics...

, Junipero Serra
Junípero Serra
Blessed Junípero Serra, O.F.M., , known as Fra Juníper Serra in Catalan, his mother tongue was a Majorcan Franciscan friar who founded the mission chain in Alta California of the Las Californias Province in New Spain—present day California, United States. Fr...

, Father Simpliciano of the Nativity
Father Simpliciano of the Nativity
Fr. Simpliciano of the Nativity was a Franciscan and the founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts in Santa Balbina, Rome, Italy.-Early days:...

, Mychal F. Judge
Mychal F. Judge
Mychal F. Judge, OFM was a Roman Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Chaplain of the Fire Department of New York and the first certified fatality of the September 11, 2001 attacks.-Early years:Robert Emmet Judge was the son of Irish Catholic immigrants from County Leitrim and...

, Fray Angelico Chavez, and Joseph of Cupertino
Joseph of Cupertino
Saint Joseph of Cupertino, O.F.M. Conv., was an Italian Franciscan friar who is honored as a mystic and a saint. He was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation and intense ecstatic visions that left him gaping...

.

Poor Clares



The Poor Clares comprise several orders of nuns in the Catholic Church. The Poor Clares were the second Franciscan order to be established by Saints Clare of Assisi and Francis of Assisi.

Third Order


The Third Order has its origins in the movement of the Penitents. These were people who desired to grow in holiness in their daily lives without joining a religious order. Seeing a need, St. Francis created the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. Eventually some members of the Third Order wanted to live in community and take vows. The Third Order split into the Third Order Regular and Third Order Secular (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order.)

Secular Franciscan Order


During his lifetime, many married men and women asked St. Francis if they could embrace his style of life, but of course, due to their secular state, they were not able to enter into the First Order or into the Poor Clares. For this reason, he founded a Secular order to which lay and married men and women could belong and live according to the Gospel.
Nowadays, this part of the Third Order is known as Secular Franciscan Order and is numerous and spread around the world.
The original Rule, given by St. Francis in 1221, was slightly modified during the centuries to be adapted to the changing times, and now the last one was given by Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 in 1978.

Third Order Regular




Within a century of the death of St. Francis, members of the Third Order began to live in common, in an attempt to follow a more ascetical way of life. Blessed Angela of Foligno
Angela of Foligno
Angela of Foligno was a Christian author, Franciscan tertiary, and mystic. She was noted not only for her spiritual writings, but also for founding a religious order.-Early life and conversion:...

 (+1309) was foremost among those who achieved great depths in their lives of prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 and service of the poor.

Among the men, the Third Order Regular is an international community of priests and brothers who desire to emphasize the works of mercy and on-going conversion. The community is also known as the Franciscan Friars, T.O.R., and was originally founded in 1447 by a papal decree that united several communities of hermit
Hermit
A hermit is a person who lives, to some degree, in seclusion from society.In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremitic life out of a religious conviction, namely the Desert Theology of the Old Testament .In the...

s, following the Third Order Rule. They strive to "rebuild the Church" in areas of high school and college education, parish ministry, church renewal, social justice, campus ministry, hospital chaplaincies, foreign missions, and other ministries in places where the Church is needed.

Following the formal recognition of the members of religious tertiary communities, the following centuries saw a steady growth of such communities, across Europe. Initially, the women's communities took a monastic form of life, either voluntarily or under pressure from ecclesiastical superiors. The great figure of this development was St. Hyacintha Mariscotti
Hyacintha Mariscotti
Saint Hyacintha Mariscotti, T.O.R., or Hyacintha of Mariscotti was a nun of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. She was born in 1585 of a noble family at Vignanello, near Viterbo in Italy, and died 30 January 1640 at Viterbo...

. As Europe entered the upheavals of the modern age, new communities arose, which were able to focus more exclusively on social service, especially during the immediate post-Napoleonic period. An example of this is the Blessed Mary Frances Schervier
Mary Frances Schervier
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, was the foundress of two religious congregations of Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, both committed to serving the neediest of the poor. One, the Poor Sisters of St...

.

This movement continued in North America, as various congregations arose from one coast to another, in answer to the needs of the large emigrant communities, flooding in the cities of the United States and Canada.

Franciscans International


Franciscans International
Franciscans International
Franciscans International is a non-governmental organization with general Consultative Status at the United Nations. The organization operates under the sponsorship of the Conference of the Franciscan Family and serves all members of the Franciscan family, as well as the global community by...

  is a Non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

 (NGO) with General Consultative status at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, uniting the voices of Franciscan brothers and sisters from around the world. It operates under the sponsorship of the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF) and serve all Franciscans and the global community by bringing grassroots Franciscans to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 forums in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 and Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

. It brings the spiritual and ethical values of the Franciscans to the United Nations and international organizations.

Ecumenical, Non-Roman Catholic and Non-denominational Franciscans


One of the results of the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

 in the Anglican Church
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 during the 19th century was the re-establishment of religious orders, including some of Franciscan inspiration. The principal Anglican communities in the Franciscan tradition are the Community of St. Francis
Community of St. Francis
The Community of St. Francis is a Franciscan Anglican religious order of sisters founded in 1905, and is the oldest surviving Anglican Franciscan religious community. It was begun by Sr Rosina Eleanor Rice, who left another Anglican religious order, the Sisters of Bethany, to found CSF...

 (women, founded 1905), the Poor Clares of Reparation (P.C.R.), the Society of Saint Francis
Society of Saint Francis
The Society of Saint Francis is a Franciscan religious order within the Anglican Communion.The Society of Saint Francis comprises: The Brothers of the First Order; The Sisters of the First Order; The Sisters of the Second Order; The Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order...

 (men, founded 1934), and the Community of St Clare (women, enclosed). There is also a Third Order
Third order
The term Third Order designates persons who live according to the Third Rule of a Roman Catholic religious order, an Anglican religious order, or a Lutheran religious order. Their members, known as Tertiaries, are generally lay members of religious orders, i.e...

 known as the Third Order Society of St Francis (T.S.S.F.).

Another officially sanctioned Anglican order with a more contemplative focus is the order of the Little Brothers of Francis
Little Brothers of Francis
The 19th and 20th century has seen the creation of a number of religious orders in the Anglican Church. One late addition to Anglican religious life is the Little Brothers of Francis, a contemplative order of Franciscan friars within the Anglican Church of Australia...

 in the Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Australia
The Anglican Church of Australia is a member church of the Anglican Communion. It was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia and Tasmania...

.

Two ecumenical Franciscan Orders within the Anglican heritage are the Order of Servant Franciscans (OSF) and the Conventual Community of Saint Francis (CCSF). The members of the Order of Servant Franciscans (OSF) are committed to "the process of becoming" ministers of Christ's message of reconciliation and love, as demonstrated by the holy lives of Saints Francis and Clare. The OSF is a dispersed third-order secular community of lay and ordained members from a variety of jurisdictions.

A U.S.-founded order within the Anglican world communion is the Seattle-founded Order of Saint Francis (OSF) an open, inclusive, and contemporary expression of an Anglican First Order of Friars. There is also an order of Clares in Seattle (Diocese of Olympia)The Little Sisters of St. Clare, where the OSF is officially headquartered.

There is also a small Anglican order called The Company of Jesus with both Franciscan and Benedictine charisms.

There is a young Order of Ecumenical Franciscans
Order of Ecumenical Franciscans
The Order of Ecumenical Franciscans is a religious order of men and women devoted to following the examples of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi in their life and understanding of the Christian gospel: sharing a love for creation and those who have been marginalized.An example of...

 that started in the United States.

There are also some small Franciscan communities within European Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 and Old Catholic Church
Old Catholic Church
The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

es, and The Saint Francis Ecumenical Society – Ecumenical Franciscan Society from Eastern Europe (Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and free Protestant members). There are some Franciscan orders in Lutheran Churches
Franciscan orders in Lutheranism
Franciscan spirituality was not favoured by Reformation, but later the 20th centuryHigh Church Movement has given birth to Franciscan orders among revival of religious orders and confraternities in Lutheran Churches.-Third orders:...

, including the Order of Lutheran Franciscans
Order of Lutheran Franciscans
The Order of Lutheran Franciscans is a religious order within the tradition of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America .The Order is open to Lutheran women and men, married or single, lay or ordained, who vow to live according to "the spirit and practice" of the Evangelical Counsels of Poverty,...

.

The masculine branch of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary
Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary
The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary is an ecumenical, Lutheran based, religious order.It was founded by sister Basilea Schlink a German theologian and intellectual who on March 30, 1947, with Erika Madauss founded The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt....

, the Evangelische Kanaan Franziskus-Bruderschaft (Kanaan Franciscan Brothers) follows a franciscan tradition.

An order of Franciscans founded in the United Kingdom in 2004 Companions of Jesus (CJ) is non-denominational.

Visions and Stigmata



Among the many Catholic orders, Franciscans have proportionally reported higher ratios of stigmata
Stigmata
Stigmata are bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands and feet...

 and have claimed proportionally higher ratios of visions of Jesus and Mary
Visions of Jesus and Mary
Since the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Calvary until today, a number of people have claimed to have had visions of Christ and personal conversations with him. Some people make similar claims regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary. Discussions about the authenticity of these visions have often invited...

. Saint Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

 himself was one of the very first reported cases of stigmata, and perhaps the most famous stigmatic of modern times is Saint Padre Pio, a Capuchin, who also reported visions of Jesus and Mary. Pio's stigmata persisted for over fifty years and he was examined by numerous physicians in the 20th century, who confirmed the existence of the wounds, but none of whom could produce a medical explanation for the fact that his bleeding wounds would never get infected. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, his wounds healed once, but reappeared. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia some medical authorities who examined Padre Pio's wounds were inclined to believe that the stigmata were connected with nervous or cataleptic hysteria.
According to Answers.com the wounds were examined by Luigi Romanelli, chief physician of the City Hospital of Barletta, for about one year. Dr. Giorgio Festa, a private practitioner also examined them in 1920 and 1925. Professor Giuseppe Bastianelli, physician to Pope Benedict XV agreed that the wounds existed but made no other comment. Pathologist Dr. Amico Bignami of the University of Rome also observed the wounds, but made no diagnosis.

Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land



After an intense apostolic activity in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, in 1219 Francis went to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 with the Fifth Crusade
Fifth Crusade
The Fifth Crusade was an attempt to reacquire Jerusalem and the rest of the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt....

, to announce the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 to the Saracens. He met with the Sultan Malek-al-Kamel
Al-Kamil
Al-Kamil was a Kurdish Ayyubid sultan who ruled North Africa. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids defeated two crusades. In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians.-Biography:He was the son of sultan al-Adil, a brother of Saladin...

, initiating a spirit of dialogue and understanding between Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The Franciscan presence in the Holy Land started in 1217, when the province of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 was established, with Brother Elias as Minister. By 1229, the friars had a small house near the fifth station of the Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. The current route has been established since the 18th century, replacing various earlier versions...

. In 1272 the sultan Baibars
Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...

 allowed the Franciscans to settle in the Cenacle
Cenacle
The Cenacle , also known as the "Upper Room", is the term used for the site of The Last Supper. The word is a derivative of the Latin word cena, which means dinner....

 on Mount Sion
Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a place name for a site in Jerusalem, the location of which has shifted several times in history. According to the Hebrew Bible's Book of Samuel, it was the site of the Jebusite fortress called the "stronghold of Zion" that was conquered by King David, becoming his palace in the City...

. Later on, in 1309, they also settled in the Holy Sepulchre and in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

. In 1335 King Robert d'Angiò of Naples, and his wife, Sancia di Maiorca, bought the Cenacle and gave it to the Franciscans. Pope Clement VI
Pope Clement VI
Pope Clement VI , bornPierre Roger, the fourth of the Avignon Popes, was pope from May 1342 until his death in December of 1352...

, by the Bulls "Gratias agimus" and "Nuper charissimae" (1342), declared the Franciscans as the official custodians of the Holy Places in the name of the Catholic Church.

The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land
Custodian of the Holy Land
The Custodian of the Holy Land is an officer of the Franciscan order, appointed by the General Definitorium of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, with the approval of the Vatican. The Custodian, or Custos, is the head of all Franciscans in the Holy Land...

 is still in force today.

Contributions



The Franciscans established the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum
Studium Biblicum Franciscanum is a Franciscan academic society based in Jerusalem and Hong Kong.They publish the theological journal Liber annuus ISSN 0081-8933 in Latin...

 as an academic society based in Jerusalem and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 for the study of scripture. The Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 branch founded by the Venerable
Venerable
The Venerable is used as a style or epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English-language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.-Roman Catholic:...

 Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra was a Franciscan Friar and scripture scholar. He is best known for performing the first complete translation of the Catholic Bible into the Chinese language. His Studium Biblicum Translation is often considered the definitive Chinese Bible among Catholics...

 produced the first complete translation of the Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 in Chinese in 1968 after a 40 year effort. The Studium Biblicum Translation is often considered the Chinese Bible among Catholics.

The early efforts of another Franciscan, namely Giovanni di Monte Corvino, who had attempted a first translation of the Bible in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 in the 14th century provided the initial spark for Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra
Gabriele Allegra was a Franciscan Friar and scripture scholar. He is best known for performing the first complete translation of the Catholic Bible into the Chinese language. His Studium Biblicum Translation is often considered the definitive Chinese Bible among Catholics...

's 40 year undertaking, when at the age of 21 he happened to attend the 6th centenary celebration for Monte Corvino.

See also

  • Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities
    Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities
    The Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities is an association of 20 Franciscan colleges and universities located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin....

  • Lourdes Health System
    Lourdes Health System
    The Lourdes Health System consists of two hospitals, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey and Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County in Willingboro, New Jersey. Administrative offices are located at its Camden facility...

     (New Jersey, USA)
  • :Category:Franciscan orders
  • List of Ministers General of the Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M.)
  • Capuchin Franciscans
    Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
    The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

     (O.F.M. Cap.)
  • Conventual Franciscans
    Conventual Franciscans
    The Order of Friars Minor Conventual , commonly known as the Conventual Franciscans, is a branch of the order of Catholic Friars founded by Francis of Assisi in 1209.-History:...

     (O.F.M. Conv.)

Books

  • A History of the Franciscan Order: From Its Origins to the Year 1517 by John R. H. Moorman, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1988. ISBN 9780819909213
  • Origins of the Franciscan Order by Cajetan Esser, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1970. ISBN 9780819904082
  • The Leonine Union of the Order of Friars Minor by Maurice Carmody, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1994. ISBN 9781576590843
  • Friars Minor in China: 1294 - 1944, by Arnulf Camps and Pat McCloskey, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1996. ISBN 9781576590027
  • In the Name of St. Francis: A History of the Friars Minor and Franciscanism until the Early Sixteenth Century, by Grado Giovanni Merlo, translated by Robert J. Karris and Raphael Bonanno, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2009. ISBN 9781576591550
  • The History of Franciscan Theology, by Kenan Osborne, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1994. ISBN 9781576590321
  • Friars Minor in Ireland from Their Arrival to 1400, by Franics Cotter, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1994. ISBN 9781576590836
  • The Franciscan Spirituals and the Capuchin Reform, by Thaddeus MacVicar, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1986. ISBN 9781576590867
  • Medieval Franciscan Houses, by John R. H. Moorman, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1983. ISBN 9781576590799
  • A Poor Man's Legacy: An Anthology of Franciscan Poverty, by Cyprian Lynch, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1989. ISBN 9781576590690
  • The Franciscan Concept of Mission in the High Middle Ages, by E. Randolph Daniel, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1992. ISBN 9781586590652
  • Peace and Good in America, A History of the Holy Name Province, Order of the Friars Minor, 1850s to the Present, by Joseph M. White, Franciscan Institute Publications, 2004. ISBN 9781576591963
  • The Birth of a Movement, by David Flood and Thaddee Matura, Franciscan Institute Publications, 1975. ISBN 9780819905673
  • A History of the Franciscan Order: From Its Origins to the Year 1517 by John Richard Humpidge Moorman, Oxford University Press, Oxford, (1968) ISBN 0-19-826425-9; reprint: Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, IL (1988) ISBN 0-8199-0921-1
  • Franciscan Phylosophy at Oxford in the Thirteenth Century by D.E. Sharp, Oxford University Press, London (1930); (a more recent ed.: ISBN 057699216X)
  • Medieval Monasticism: Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages (3rd Edition) by C.H. Lawrence, ISBN 0-582-40427-4
  • The Spiritual Franciscans: From Protest to Persecution in the Century After Saint Francis by David Burr. ISBN 0-271-02128-4
  • Francis and Clare: The Complete Works By Ignatius C. Brady, Regis J. Armstrong, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, (1982) ISBN 0-8091-2446-7
  • The Fraternal Economy: A Pastoral Psychology of Franciscan Economics By David B. Couturier, Cloverdale Books, South Bend (2007) ISBN 978-1-929569-23-6
  • Francis of Assisi: Early Documents 3 Volumes. Edited by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM Cap., J.A. Wayne Hellmann, OFM Conv., and William J. Short, OFM. New York: New City Press. Copyright 1999, Franciscan Institute of Saint Bonaventure University, Saint Bonaventure, NY. ISBN 978-1565481107.
  • "The Franciscan Story" by Maurice Carmody, Athena Press Publishing Co. UK (2008). ISBN 1847481418 ; ISBN 978-1847481412

Articles

  • Schmucki, Oktavian (2000) "Die Regel des Johannes von Matha und die Regel des Franziskus von Assisi. Ähnlichkeiten und Eigenheiten. Neue Beziehungen zum Islam" (pp. 219–244) in Cipollone, Giulio (ed.). La Liberazione dei 'Captivi' tra Cristianità e Islam: Oltre la Crociata e il Gihâd: Tolleranza e Servizio Umanitario. (CollectaneaArchivi Vaticani, 46.) Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Vatican City.

Three branches of First Order


Regular and Secular Third Order


Lutheran Franciscans


Anglican Franciscan


Non-denominational Franciscan


Research resources