Order of Friars Minor Capuchin

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The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (O.F.M. Cap; in England and Ireland, O.S.F.C) is an order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Capuchins, called a minister general, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.

Contents

Origins

The order arose in 1520 when Matteo da Bascio, an "Observant" Franciscan friar native to the Italian area of Marche, said he became inspired by God with the idea that the manner of life led by the Franciscans of his day was not the one which St. Francis had envisaged. He sought to return to the primitive way of life in solitude and penance as practiced by the founder of his order.

His superiors tried to suppress these innovations, and Friar Matteo and his first companions were forced into hiding from Church authorities, who sought to arrest them for having abandoned their religious duties. They were given refuge by the Camaldolese monks, in gratitude for which they later adopted the hood or capuccio worn by that order - which was the mark of a hermit in that region of Italy - and the practice of wearing a beard. The popular name of their order originates from this feature of their religious habit, and after this the Capuchin monkey and the cappuccino coffee are named by visual analogy. In 1528, Friar Matteo obtained the approval of Pope Clement VII and was given permission to live as a hermit and to go about everywhere preaching to the poor. These permissions were not only for himself, but for all such as might join him in the attempt to restore the most literal observance possible of the Rule of St. Francis. Matteo and the original band were soon joined by others. Matteo and his companions were formed into a congregation, called the Hermit Friars Minor, as a branch of the Conventual Franciscans, but with a vicar of their own, subject to the jurisdiction of the general of the Conventuals. The Observants continued to oppose the movement.

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