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“The Rule and life of the Friars Minor is this : to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of one’s own, and in chastity.” (Rule of St. Francis)

 

THE CAPUCHINS ARE FRANCISCANS

Saint Francis of Assisi did not consider himself anything other than a sinner who turned his heart away from empty desires and who found his treasure in the Lord instead. He heard the Good News of Jesus and devoted his entire life to living that message.
 


Men and women, priests and non-priests, celibates and married people – many people asked if they could follow Saint Francis. The men who wanted to live in community, poverty and celibacy were called the Friars Minor. The women who wanted to live that same kind of life formed a second group under Saint Clare and became known as the Poor Clares. The men and women who wanted to follow Saint Francis while remaining in their marriages, family life and jobs were called the Third Order or Secular Franciscans.

 

IT’S IN THE NAME : FRIARS MINOR

WHAT IS A FRIAR?

The word “friar” simply means “brother.” Saint Francis was not a priest, and he did want to create an order of priests. Saint Francis simply realized that he was one member of God’s creation. He experienced God as Father, Jesus as God made man and so his brother, and every person and every created thing his brother or sister, too.

The first followers of Saint Francis were simply men, some of them priests but some of them not, who wanted to live the Gospel of Jesus as Saint Francis did.

Jesus had a family – Joseph and Mary. Jesus surrounded Himself with men and women disciples. Jesus, as God, is a member of the divine “family” of three persons in one God. Recently, Pope John Paul II has spoken a lot about the theology of communion.

In this world afflicted by division and violence, the Gospel challenge is to live in brotherhood and sisterhood with all of God’s creation under God’s reign.

 

MINOR

Everyone knows the meaning of the word “minority.” It means you are not in the biggest or more important group. To be a minor means you are considered the smallest, weakest or least important. Saint Francis understood that Jesus took the lowest place and told His followers to do the same. He saw that being in the lowest place is where one can best serve others. It is not a place of dishonor but a privileged place of service. When you give, you receive. When you go to the lowest, you will be raised to the highest. It is where God goes – he bends down to wash the feet of the disciples.

 

WHAT DOES “CAPUCHIN” MEAN?

There are many groups of Franciscans. They all follow the same inspiration given by Saint Francis. The Capuchins started in Italy around the year 1525. They were called Capuchins by the people for different reasons, one of them being perhaps on account of their long hoods, called the “capuche.”

The Capuchins have been known throughout the centuries as being very close to the ordinary people, simple and austere people, heroic in their service to the sick during times of plague, enthusiastic in preaching to the people.


CAPUCHIN LIFE IS A LIFE OF BROTHERHOOD

Saint Francis understood that God showed His perfect love for us by becoming one like us in all things but sin. Jesus, the eternal Word of God, became man and shared in all of our poverty and weakness. Jesus - God Himself - became our brother.

And so brotherhood was very important to Saint Francis. If he wanted to be like Jesus, he had to become a brother to everything in creation, especially to those considerd unlovable by others. Saint Francis kissed the leper, and he became the friend of those despised by others.

For Capuchins, the brotherhood or fraternity is at the core of our life. Without it, we would cease to exist. We live together, pray together, work together and recreate together. We are family.

A LIFE OF PRAYER

 

Saint Francis did not simply pray; his whole life was a prayer. He saw God reflected in all things, and so he was constantly lifting up his mind and heart to God.

Saint Francis especially saw God in the Eucharist. He believed that Jesus became Bread for us, to be our food for eternal life.

 

 

A LIFE OF SERVICE

Saint Francis nursed the lepers and preached repentance to all. He reconciled people fighting with each other and brought peace to all he met.

Capuchins are called to do any kind of ministry or service in the Church, but we especially try to serve the neglected.

 

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