US Franciscan Friars


This is the site for all Franciscan – Order of Friars Minor (OFM) – friars serving in the US. They are down to about 1,000 or so friars, so they need vocations. (The Capuchin Franciscans have been receiving the lion’s share of vocations).

The OFMs recently decided to merge their several US provinces into one. There was one abstention from said merger.

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican


I will have to check this later. I went to a Franciscan college.


According to a Friar I was speaking to he said poverty in places like the Bronx is getting less so there is less need for Friars, the Franciscans in Bradford UK are down to 5 from 7 Friars


There will always be a need for friars. Our Lord said “The poor will always be with you.” That’s not just materially poor, but spiritually poor, as well.


The Franciscans in Bradford, UK, are apparently CFRs – Franciscan Friars of the Renewal:

I was primarily interested in the OFMs this time around. They’re the core group tracing their roots back to St. Francis, whose feast is Oct 4.


God willing I am hoping to join the CFR’s when I get released.


Could the OFM be struggling in small part due to competition with C.F.R. and the F.F.I. (competition between institutes)? All that said, I think the US (and most likely the rest of the world) could use some more good Franciscans, imagine the possibilities if we had millions and millions of good and holy Franciscans (and Poor Claires)?

@Cloisters, do you see the merger as a sign that they are critically endangered or even becoming extinct in the US anytime soon? That said, how is the OFM doing internationally?


The website said there were 11,000 worldwide and 1200 in the US.

What is the difference between CFM and Capuchins?


Not much, really. There’s also the Conventuals.

I believe that the Capuchins tend to be the most active of the three, and tend to live in smaller communities, but don’t quote me on that.


The only Franciscan male hermits I’ve seen are Anglicans in Australia. (Just putting that out there because it came to mind first).

That being said, all Franciscans are usually active. Only God knows how many variations-on-a-theme are out there.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs) were founded in the Bronx, weren’t they? They had a lot of publicity from being a new community, and Fr. Benedict Groechel, CFR, didn’t hurt their cause, either.

Capuchins grow beards, and follow the rule as precisely as possible.

Conventuals are big into convent living. My understanding of the difference between them and the OFMs are that the OFMs originally didn’t have any property whatsoever. The Conventuals broke off and built convents. Now the OFMs have friaries.

There’s also the Third Order Regular of St. Francis, which has all three branches – friars, cloistered nuns, and active sisters.


Goodness! This is all very confusing. I feel like I need someone to create a chart for me! :flushed:


To be honest, in my mind, the connotation of a female Franciscan nun would be a Poor Claire due to the heritage. Pardon if I sound annoying, but wouldn’t you think it would be grand if the US had a million good and holy Franciscan friars/monks/priests and a million good and holy Poor Claires as well.


So would I, but there are 13 observances of the Poor Clare Rule, plus the Third Order Regular nuns I mentioned. Those are 13 different interpretations of the Poor Clare Rule and Third Order Regular rule, respectively.


I hope this wiki page explains. There are four main observances of the Franciscan friar rule, according to this.


I don’t think I made myself clear. There are 13 different ways to live the Poor Clare Rule. Additionally, there is the Third Order Regular (“rule”) nuns’ way of life.


The “big 3” branches of the First Order are (1) the OFM, referred to in this thread, (2) the OFM capuchin, and (3) OFM Conventual.

  1. The OFM became extremely liberal on recent decades. As a likely result, very few young men go into it, because you can do social work or politics without going through seminary.
    I think the FFI might be a conservative breakoff from that group.

  2. Capuchins are fairly liberal. Fr. G broke off with his conservative CFR.

  3. The Conventual are moderate I think.
    End First Order.

Second Order are Cloister nuns. Third Order includes not only laity but active sisters, and orders of priests such as “Third Order Regular”, who teach at Steubenville.


Isn’t there some variance though among members like in many groups in general (even outside religious institutes); that also said, some “themes” of Francisca spirituality (ideology might be a better term here) like care for the poor and disadvantaged as well as care for creation do seem to highlight a “liberal” bent though, wouldn’t you agree? All that said (I’m repeating in a circle), isn’t the reality more like different types of Franciscans perhaps even among generations though the Franciscans do seem to emphasize a progressive trend due to the causes they are involved in (which would be the grain of truth)? That said, ideally everyone cares about all those causes but possibly everyone has different angles and perspectives on the issues so to speak.

Excuse me for adding further politicization and well repeating what I and you said.

Also forgive me if you mind me putting this on blast but, how is everyone doing?


Yes, there’s variation among individuals in the groups, with good people in all of them. But don’t underestimate the current difference s which are not about beards or long ago history. The founders of CFR and FFI went through agonizing battles with their mother congregations over liturgy and doctrine.

They were unable to be reconciled, so at great emotional and financial cost they established new communities. The need must have been extreme to make such sacrifice. They walked away with the shirt on their backs, away from parishes, institutions, friaries, friends and security they had known for decades. There must have been a strong reason.


Thats right but like I said the Bronx is not as poor as it used to be so there is little need for Franciscans to be there (don’t get me wrong it would be great if the CFR’s were in every city spreading the gospel)


Yes, there is as much variation within the Franciscan orders as there is among them, or even outside of them.

I wouldn’t describe Franciscan Spirituality and ministry as “liberal”. It’s not political. It’s Catholic. What you will often find though, is a greater emphasis on social issues than some other religious communities. I think in the American and western mind, we tend to associate social issues with liberal-leaning politics, but here it starts with Christ, and returns to Christ. Christ is the ideology.

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