Franciscan Branches



This might be an ignorant question, but I am confused. What are the differences between the branches of the Franciscan Order. The vows are the same I assume, but how do the charisms/ministry differ among, say, Capuchins and “regular”(?) Franciscans?

Thank you,


They all follow the Rule of St. Francis, and in many ways they are identical, but they have different nuances.

Each, in their own way, think they are the most “original” - either by being the “first,” of the most like the Order Francis intended.

If you are interested in the Franciscans you can live the Franciscan life equally well in any one.


Other then 2nd Order Franciscan, all the different groups don’t really vary their ministries based on which order they are, they vary their ministries usually based on location, region, friary, etc.

There is a branch of 1st Order friars called the Custos of the Holy Land. Their primary ministry is to both the Shrine of the Holy Land and the people of the Holy Land.

Some groups tend to assist in schools, some in college (i.e the Greyfriars), some have Pro-life ministries.

The 2nd Order Franciscans tend to be cloistered nuns so you don’t tend to see them a lot.

The main groups are 1st Order - OFM, OFM Capuchin, and OFM Conventual.
2nd Order - Poor Clares and other derivations with Clare in the title
3rd Order - Secular Franciscan Order and Third Order Regular (Many Franciscan groups without OFM in their title tend to fall in this category.)

All follow St. Francis’ and St. Clare’s ideals. All of them do it in different ways, all of them as long as they are under the auspices of the Catholic Church are part of the same family.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit