Order of Friars Minor
|Abbreviation||OFM, Franciscans, Greyfriars|
“Pax et Bonum”|
("Peace and Goodness")
|Founder||St. Francis of Assisi|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
The Order of Friars Minors (Latin: Ordo Fratrum Minorum), also known as the Franciscan Order or simply the Franciscans, is a Catholic religious order founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, after it was approved by Pope Innocent III. Along with the Dominicans, the order has historically been the most prominent of the mendicant orders—that is to say they depend on charity, spending their lives preaching the Gospel and serving the poor.
Some of the most famous philosophers, theologians and scientists in European history have been Franciscans, for instance St. Bonaventure, Roger Bacon, Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. It has also produced four Popes, the most noted of which include Pope Sixtus IV. During the Late Middle Ages, the Franciscans attempted to protect the poor from the high rates of Jewish usury, by creating the low rate monti di pietà system; Bl. Bernardine of Feltre and Bl. Michele Carcano were at the forefront of this.
In North America, the cities of Santa Fe (capital of New Mexico), Los Angeles and San Francisco were founded by Franciscans. At the time of founding they were part of the Spanish Empire, while today they are part of the United States and very different (perhaps intentionally) to what their original founders envisaged; for instance, the Jews have made San Francisco the homosexual capital of the world.