Minister General (Franciscan)

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Minister General is the term used for the leader or Superior General of the different branches of the Order of Friars Minor. It is a term exclusive to them, and comes directly from its founder, St. Francis of Assisi. [1] He chose this word over "Superior" out of his vision that the brothers of the Order were all to be equal, and that the friar supervising his brothers was to be a servant who cared for (ministered to) them, not one who lorded over them. The original term is minister generalis in Latin and is found in Chapter 8 of the Rule of St. Francis.

Order of Friars Minor male order in the Catholic Church

The Order of Friars Minor is a mendicant Catholic religious order, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi. The order adheres to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others. The Order of Friars Minor is the largest of the contemporary First Orders within the Franciscan movement.

Francis of Assisi Catholic saint and founder of the Franciscan Order

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Friar member of a mendicant religious order in Catholic Christianity

A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.

The term is sometimes written as "General Minister", but this is the official form in the English language, in keeping with other official titles.

Francis chose this term to designate the leaders of the various communities scattered around Europe even within his lifetime.

In the 20th century, the term also came to be used as well by many religious congregations of the Third Order of St. Francis, in the effort to follow more closely the spirit of the founder of their Order.

A religious congregation is a type of religious institute in the Catholic Church. They are legally distinguished from religious orders — the other major type of religious institute — in that members take simple vows, whereas members of religious orders take solemn vows.

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References

  1. "Minister General". Ordo Fratrum Minorum.