Friar means brother. The Capuchin Franciscans are an order of brothers began as a reform of the Franciscan Observants in 1525. Members of our order are often recognized by the brown habit and long capuche (hood) for which the order is named. Renowned as peacemakers and simple, approachable brothers, the Capuchins have been serving the Church in the United States since the 17th century. Capuchins were among the first missionaries in Maine, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, and all along the Mississippi River. The first pastors of both New York City and St. Louis were Capuchins.
Today there are seven regional jurisdictions of Capuchins in the continental United States and others in Puerto Rico and the Marianna and Hawaiian Islands. Usually found in the poorer sections of towns and cities, the Capuchins have a special charism for working with the common people and taking those assignments which others refuse. Capuchins can be found working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters, serving as hospital chaplains or prison ministers. Additionally, Capuchins may be found serving as parish priests or university professors, as preachers and nurses and as missionaries to distant lands. We build our life and ministry on the two foundations of prayer and fraternity.
The priority of prayer and the contemplative life is at the heart of the Capuchin charism. Personal and community prayer nourishes the brothers’ relationship with God and one another and enables them to give fully of themselves to everyone them meet. The Capuchin tradition has placed great emphasis on Eucharistic devotion and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Along with prayer, fraternity is of great importance to the Capuchin charism. A Capuchin is first and foremost a brother among brothers. This fraternal life is founded upon the Gospel in which, after washing the disciples’ feet, the Lord exhorts his followers to do the same for others.
To become a Capuchin Franciscan Friar is to answer God's call to a life of Gospel brotherhood according to the example of St. Francis of Assisi and the Capuchin tradition. After a meeting and some time of discernment with the Vocation Director, a man may begin the application process. This involves completing the application form and providing references, an interview with the Provincial Minister, and psychological testing. To become a candidate, you must be:
- A baptized and practicing Catholic man
- Single and without dependent children
- Between 18 and 40 years old
- A high school graduate or have a G.E.D. Diploma
- In good physical and mental health
- Free of debt (except college loans)