Franciscan Friars of the United States of America

Welcome to the website of the Franciscan Friars of the United States of America. We are over 1,000 friars – members of the Order of Friars Minor – living and ministering as brothers across the United States.

Latest News on US Franciscans

#FriarFriday — Living in the Light

Do you like those movies where a man comes to after an accident and finds that his identity has been either stolen or wiped out?

Read More

#FriarFriday — Getting Away

Every Franciscan friar makes an annual retreat. This is a time away from one’s normal work where the friar can spend time in reflection, prayer, and spiritual renewal.

Read More

Friars Who Have Died

Eight US Franciscan friars have died recently. Here are their stories.

Read More

#FriarFriday — Cows and Fish

There was a neighborhood where everyone was Catholic except one guy, who also loved to grill outside every Friday after work.

Read More

Interview with Minister General Michael Perry

The Saint Francis and the Americas/San Francisco y las Américas (SFA) project presents its interview with Friar Michael Anthony Perry, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor.

Read More

#FriarFriday — With Hearts That Have Grown by Three

Have you ever stopped to think that the word “Lent” is a bit of a strange word?

Read More

#FriarFriday — A Season for Opening Doors

Lent is just a few days away. As usual, I am thinking about something to “do” for Lent.

Read More

#FriarFriday — Flipping the Switch

I grew up in an environment of state-sponsored discrimination.

Read More

Latest Franciscans News

RIP: Br. Alberto Beckhäuser, OFM, Liturgist and Author

30 Mar RIP: Br. Alberto Beckhäuser, OFM, Liturgist and Author Posted on March 30, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM On March 28, 2017, the liturgist Br. Alberto Beckhäuser, OFM died in Petropolis (Brazil). He belonged to the Province of the Immaculate Conception in...
Read More

Fraternities of New Forms of Life and Mission  

30 Mar Fraternities of New Forms of Life and Mission   Posted on March 30, 2017 in Evangelization, News by Alvin Te, OFM 35 friars who are part of the fraternities of new forms of life and mission gathered on March 26 to 30 in Frascati (Rome) for their 5th European...
Read More

Listen and You will Live: Guidelines for the Establishment of a Hermitage or House of Prayer

Introduction “Listen, and you will live.”  “Incline the ear of your heart.”  The words of St. Francis of Assisi in his Letter to the Entire Order are an invitation to listen to Christ, “true Wisdom of the Father” (2LtF 67), whom the Friars Minor follow more closely...
Read More

The Franciscans of Mexico Prepare to Celebrate 5th centenary

28 Mar The Franciscans of Mexico Prepare to Celebrate 5th centenary Posted on March 28, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM In preparation for the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of the Franciscan movement in Mexico (2024), represented in the so-called...
Read More

Catholic News Service on the new OFM website: Franciscans opt for their own ‘hip-hop’ style

27 Mar Catholic News Service on the new OFM website: Franciscans opt for their own ‘hip-hop’ style Posted on March 27, 2017 in Minister General, News by Alvin Te, OFM On  March 24, 2017, Cindy Wooden of Catholic News Service published the following article from on the...
Read More

Ecumenical Ceremony for the Completion of the Restoration of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulcher

24 Mar Ecumenical Ceremony for the Completion of the Restoration of the Edicule of the Holy Sepulcher Posted on March 24, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM A sign of unity among the various Christian communities: the ecumenical ceremony of completion of the restoration of...
Read More

Announcement of Upcoming Canonization and Beatification

24 Mar Announcement of Upcoming Canonization and Beatification Posted on March 24, 2017 in News, Postulation by Alvin Te, OFM The Holy Father Francis received in audience on Thursday, 23rd of March 2017, His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the...
Read More

Conference of Santa María de Guadalupe meet for Revitalization of Missionary and Evangelizing Efforts

22 Mar Conference of Santa María de Guadalupe meet for Revitalization of Missionary and Evangelizing Efforts Posted on March 22, 2017 in Evangelization, News by Alvin Te, OFM  From February 27 to March 3, 2017, the Secretaries for the Missions and Evangelization of...
Read More

Who We Are

We Franciscans owe our inspiration to Francesco di Bernardone, an affluent young merchant from the Italian town of Assisi, who in 1206 renounced his wealth and social status in favor of a life dedicated to God and the least of God’s people. Soon, other men and women joined him to begin a vast movement of Gospel renewal within the medieval Church.

Although St. Francis of Assisi began his life of penance as a hermit, devoting himself to prayer, working among lepers and rebuilding churches in the Assisi area, other men were soon attracted to his company. By 1209, there were 12 brothers, and so they approached Pope Innocent III to gain approval of their way of life “according to the Holy Gospel.” The Order of Lesser Brothers (ordo fratrum minorum) — now formally known as the Order of Friars Minor — had begun.

The Gospel life of the Friars Minor, as Francis describes in our Rule, has four central components: first, to be men of prayer, “desiring above all things to have the Spirit of the Lord and its holy operation;” second, to live as lesser ones, “not making anything our own,” but serving the Lord in poverty and humility; third, to create a brotherhood of mutual care among ourselves, “showing we are members of the same family;” and fourth, to “go about the world” entering people’s everyday lives as heralds of God’s reign and agents of Gospel peace.

A history of the Franciscan presence in the US can be found above in the main menu.

“In whatever way it seems better to you to please the Lord God and to follow His footprint and poverty, do it with the blessing of the Lord God and my obedience.”

The Friar App

The Friar app allows you to post your prayer intention so that Franciscan friars across the country and others pray for your intention. You can also indicate that you are praying for the intentions of other people. The app also allows you to have a candle lit for your intention, or someone else’s intention, in an actual Franciscan church. More information

To get the app, scan one of the QR codes below using your smart phone or click on one of the QR codes to be taken to the appropriate App Store.

iPhone

iPhone QR Code

Android

iPhone QR Code

Friar Blogs

These are some blogs written by Franciscans friars in the US. Check them out.

Dan Horan OFM

Dan Horan OFM

Dating God

Dan Horan, a visiting professor at the Catholic Theological Union, blogs his reflections on the world and the church from a Franciscan and millennial perspective.

Kevin Mackin OFM

Kevin Mackin OFM

A Franciscan Journey

Words on the journey.

George Corrigan OFM

George Corrigan OFM

friarmusings

The musings of a Franciscan friar…

Casey Cole OFM

Casey Cole OFM

Breaking in the Habit

Casey Cole, a student still in simple vows, blogs about his experiences in formation, Franciscan spirituality and questions about the friars in general.

Christian Seno OFM

Christian Seno OFM

Pax et Bonum

A collection of photos and random thoughts chronicling Christian’s journey of learning to imitate St. Francis’s way of imitating Christ.

Lawrence Jagdfeld OFM

Lawrence Jagdfeld OFM

CUSA: An Apostolate of Persons with Chronic Illness or Disability

Friar Lawrence’s “almost daily” takes its focus from the Scriptures for the day.  It is written particularly but not exclusively from the perspective of persons who endure chronic illness or have disabilities.  

.

John Anglin OFM

John Anglin OFM

The Wandering Friar

This blog is a dimension of Friar John’s ministry of preaching with the Franciscan Ministry of the Word.

Tom Washburn OFM

Tom Washburn OFM

A Friar’s Life

Tom Washburn, executive secretary of the English-speaking Conference OFM, shares his thoughts, reflections, homilies and news of the church and world on a regular basis.

.

Joe Zimmerman OFM

Joe Zimmerman OFM

Ivy Rosary

Occasional reflections on all manner of topics, from a Franciscan perspective, especially race relations and church membership trends.

If you’re a friar with a blog and would like to have it added here, write us.

“It seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them. And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body.”

Recent Books by US Franciscans

A Spirituality for Sunday People

A Spirituality for Sunday People

The Word proclaimed Sunday after Sunday is inspired by God. Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, entered into our history and fully embraced our humanity. In a similar fashion, the Bible is the Word of God, communicated through human authors with their particular worldviews. This collection of homilies reflects on the Word in today’s life.
Eager to Love

Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved of all saints. Both traditional and entirely revolutionary, he was a paradox. He was at once down to earth and reaching toward heaven, grounded in the rich history of the Church while moving toward a new understanding of the world beyond.
Following Jesus in the Footsteps of Francis

Following Jesus in the Footsteps of Francis

In Following Jesus in the Footsteps of Francis. John Anglin OFM explains the spiritual vision of St. Francis and those who came after him.
God is Not Fair

God is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude

As Paul made clear to the Corinthians two thousand years ago, being a Christian can mean appearing out-of-step at times. In this collection of essays, Friar Dan Horan demonstrates that the Christian life is most often focused on the counterintuitive and gratuitous foolishness of God’s love revealed in the healing of the broken and broken hearted, forgiving the unforgivable, and loving the unlovable.
Live Like Francis

Live Like Francis: Reflections on Franciscan Life in the World

The goal of Franciscans has always been to put the Gospel into action. Whether you are a professed Franciscan of many years or someone just beginning to seek a spiritual understanding of Francis and Clare of Assisi, Live Like Francis will give you the tools you need to live the Gospel—a directive that remains as simple and, at times, confounding, today as it was eight hundred years ago during Francis’s life
Franciscans and their Finances

Franciscans and their Finances: Economics in a Disenchanted World

A book about Franciscans and their economics and the way that Franciscans are developing a more relational economy as they serve the poor and vulnerable around the world.Francis fraternal economy is not primarily about dollars and cents, market shares or stock derivatives. It is about the destiny of men and women in the real world and how they come about a new security and peace in God.
The Divine Dance

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

The Trinity is supposed to be the central, foundational doctrine of our entire Christian belief system, yet we’re often told that we shouldn’t attempt to understand it because it is a “mystery.” Should we presume to try to breach this mystery? If we could, how would it transform our relationship with God and renew our lives?
Anti-Catholicism in American History

Anti-Catholicism in American History: A Reinterpretation: Human Identity Needs Theory and the Bible Riots of 1844

Kyle Haden, OFM, examines the tumultuous and dangerous religious and social landscape of antebellum America and vividly demonstrates the religious and social constructs that helped define “true American identity,” as this was understood by the Protestant majority and experienced by the influx of new Catholic immigrants of that time. Haden offers an energizing prescription for today’s debates around inclusion and exclusion.
Enter Assisi

Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality

Go on a spiritual pilgrimage to Assisi with Murray Bodo OFM. Enter Assisi takes you on a journey through the gates of the city, where you will discover in your own life the way to follow Jesus as St. Francis did. The walls of the medieval town surround a place where your imagination can explore spiritual holy ground.
If you’re a friar who’s recently published a book, let us know.

“And I worked with my hands, and want to do so still. And I definitely want all the other brothers to work at some honest job.”

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some common questions about the Franciscans.

Why are male Franciscans called friars?

The word friar comes from the Latin word frater, meaning brother. Frater is the root of other English words such as fraternal, fraternity, fratricide, and fraternize.When St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan order he used the word friar because he intended its members to live as brothers without distinction of rank, title, or education. Friars are first and foremost brothers to each other. Friars live in communities called fraternities, and the building which they live is called a friary.

The male religious of the mendicant orders (e.g., Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Carmelites) are all called friars.

How can you tell which friars are priests and which are brothers?

You can’t. All Franciscan friars are first and foremost brothers to each other. All Franciscan friars live the same rule of life and wear the same religious habit.

Some Franciscan friars are ordained to priesthood. Generally, these friars devote themselves to sacramental ministry. Other friars are not ordained, and these friars work in any number of fields which may include counselling, spiritual direction, teaching, medicine, social work, cultural or social animation, and so on. There is no limit to the kinds of ministry open to Franciscans, as long as the work does not go against Gospel values.

Despite some friars being ordained and others not, in the spirit of St. Francis, all friars – lay and ordained – see themselves as brothers, as equals, with no one greater or less than the next, respectful to one another and to all of creation.

If you are not sure if a Franciscan friar is a priest or a brother, you can never go wrong addressing him as brother. Within their fraternities, friars generally address one another by their first name or by the word brother. On this website, we use the word friar as the title for all friars.

What is a Franciscan habit?

A habit is the official garb that identifies a religious man or woman as a member of their individual order or congregation. The word came into use as it was the habit of religious men and women to daily dress in their respective, distinctive clothing.

Franciscans wear a brown religious habit with a white cord. The habit has two parts: a tunic and a capuche (hood). The cord has three knots in it which represent the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Traditionally, the sandals were worn with the habit. These days, particularly in the northern latitudes, shoes are many times worn instead.

St. Francis of Assisi not only wanted to serve the poor; he wanted to be poor. When he devised a habit for his brothers, he chose the clothing typically worn by the poor of the time: a plain unbleached tunic with a hood for protection, a cord fastened around one’s waist, and sandals for one’s feet. The habit worn by St. Francis  is preserved by the Poor Clare nuns in Assisi.

Franciscans wear their habits for special occasions and gatherings. Some wear it every day, while some wear regular clothes instead. Others wear whatever is needed for their particular work.

Are Franciscan friars monks?

No. Monks live a cloistered life in a monastery, and vow to live in that monastery for all of their lives. Franciscan friars, on the other hand, may live in many different friaries during their lives.

A story is told in the early days of the Franciscan order that lady poverty came to visit Francis. Francis, being poor, can only offer her bread and water; later, when she wants to rest, the friars can give her only a stone and not a cushion on which to lay her head. And, when she asks them to show her their cloister, they took her to a hill and showed her the whole world and said, “This, lady, is our cloister.”

A monk’s life is one of stability. Friars are itinerants, that is, they move from place to place.

How do Franciscans spend their days?

A Franciscan’s day is composed of prayer, time with the community, and work. The friars – some are priests and some are not – can do any kind of honest work: pastoral work, social work, community work, education, missionary work, and so on. Among Franciscans, you will find social animators, doctors and nurses, cooks, preachers, parish priests, catechists, teachers and professors, journalist, laborers, and more.

Franciscans aim to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, to live a lively and true fraternity, rooted in a spirit of prayer, to which all work comes second. A Franciscan fraternity is a cell of the Church, open to all and involved in following Christ and Francis of Assisi for today’s world. In our choice of how we life, where we live and what we do, we emphasize service to those who are most in need. Once each friar has understood and lived this missionary aim, he is encouraged to do honest work according to his abilities and interests… and the needs of his milieu.

What are provinces?

The Franciscan order is divided into various regions, called provinces. Sometimes a province encompasses an entire nation, in other countries, there may be several provinces.

At the current time, there are seven different provinces in the US. You can view a brief story of each one on our history page.

How many Franciscans are there?

It’s said that only God knows how many Franciscans there are! St. Francis of Assisi’s vision was so powerful, that there are literally hundreds of groups who call themselves Franciscan.

There are three groups which belong to what is called the First Order of St. Francis: the Order of Friars Minor (often called just “Franciscans” and whose initials are OFM), the Conventual Franciscan Friars (whose initials are OFM Conv.) and the Capuchin Franciscan Friars (whose initials are OFM Cap.).

We are members of the OFM in the US. There about 15,000 friars in the world, and of whom about 1,200 live and work in the US.

Have other questions? Drop us a note!

Connect with US

Facebook

Like our page on Facebook.

Instagram

Follow us on Instagram.

Twitter

Sign up to get tweets from US Franciscans.

Some photos from Instagram

Pin It on Pinterest