"Those who embraced this life gave everything they had to the poor. They were satisfied with one habit which was patched inside and out, with a cord and trousers ..."
Testament of St Francis
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Founded by St. Francis of Assisi, the Order of Friars Minor is a brotherhood in which the brothers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus Christ more closely. By our profession we are totally consecrated to God whom we strive to love above everything else by living the gospel according to the vision and example of St. Francis.
Franciscan friars first came to the west coast in 1769, with the arrival of Franciscan Friar Blessed Junipero Serra in California. Franciscans from Mexico and Spain continued Serra's work, establishing a total of twenty-one missions from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region. In 1872, friars from Germany arrived in California and founded a number rural and urban parishes. By 1915, the Province of St. Barbara had been formally established by the Franciscan Order.
Today, 200 Franciscans friars are members of our province. We typically have about 20 men in formation as simply professed friars, novices, and candidates. In addition, a number of solemnly professed from other provinces live and work with us. Approximately 200 men contact us each year, wanting to join us in this vocation.
Together with the whole Franciscan family, we are challenged to adapt ourselves to a rapidly changing church and world while remaining true to the spirit of our founder, St. Francis. Like his original followers, Franciscans today are called to be persons of prayer involved in a variety of ministries. Our charism is not to any specific task in the Church. Rather, it is to be brothers among ourselves, to all people, and to all of God s creation.
Our general constitutions tell us: With the love of God poured out into their hearts by the Holy Spirit, all brothers should promote continually a family spirit and friendly relationships, especially among themselves. They should be courteous and cheerful and develop all the other virtues. Thus they can continually encourage one another to be men of hope, peace, and happiness. United in true brotherhood, they should reach a maturity that is fully human, Christian and religious. (GC, 39)
Every brother is a gift given by God to the brotherhood. Brothers differ in temperament, cultural background, customs, abilities, gifts and specific traits. They should accept each other as they are and as equals. The whole fraternity then becomes the privileged place for encountering God. (GC, 40)