1829272The New Student's Reference Work — Franciscans

Francis′cans, also called Minorites or Lesser Brethren, a religious order of the Roman Catholic church, founded by Francis d'Assisi in 1210. The head of the order is called the general and lives in Rome. It is the parent of many religious institutions, the earliest being Observantists, known for their more strict observance of the rules; the Conventuals are the less rigid party. Another offshoot is the Capuchins, founded in the 16th century. There also are several orders of nuns in the Franciscan institute, the Little Clares, Capuchins and Urbanists being well-known. As a literary order they have been eminent in the theological sciences. The order supplied the papal throne with Nicholas IV, Alexander V, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V and Clement XIV. See Jessopp's The Coming of the Friars.