the difference between a "Capuchin"
Franciscan and a regular Franciscan? A. Capuchin Franciscans are regular
Franciscans..they are part of the family of
"Friars Minor" founded by St. Francis of
Q. How many kinds of Franciscans are
there anyway? A. Only God knows how many kinds of
Franciscans there are. We do know, however,
that there are three within the First Order
of St. Francis: the Franciscans of the
Leonine Union (or "Order of Friars Minor"
whose initials are "O.F.M."); the Conventual
Franciscans (or "Order of Friars Minor
Conventual" whose initials are "O.F.M.Conv.")
and the Capuchin Franciscans (or "Order of
Friars Minor Capuchin" who put "O.F.M.Cap."
after their name)
Q. Is your Order named after the coffee
drink called "cappuccino"? A. Cappuccino (Italian for
"Capuchin") is named after the Capuchin
Franciscans. Legend has it that the whipped
cream rising to a point reminded some
Italian wag of a Capuchin friar with his
long, pointed hood, or capuche, up and he
dubbed the coffee beverage "cappuccino".
Q. Are you guys named after the "capuchin
monkey"? A. When the Spaniards first saw those
adorable little monkeys in South America
with tufts of hair on their chins resembling
beards and heads that looked shaved, they
dubbed the delightful primates "capuchinos"
(having a beard used to be mandatory for all
Capuchin Franciscan friars, and every
deacon, priest and bishop was tonsured,
having had the crown of his head shaved).
Q. What does "Capuchin" mean? A. The word "Capuchin" apparently
came from the Italian word for "hood." The
first Capuchins were mocked for their long
pointed hoods, being called "Scappuccini";
eventually, it became "Cappuccini" which was
"Capucin" in French and came into English as
Q. If I join the Capuchins in India,
Karnataka, could I be stationed anywhere in
the world there are Capuchins? A. In theory, any Capuchin friar
could be stationed anywhere in the world
where the friars have established
themselves, but in practice, the friars tend
to be stationed within the confines of their
own jurisdiction. St. Francis used to say,
"The world is my cloister!"
Q. Can a Capuchin become a bishop?
A. Capuchin Franciscan friars can
become members of the Church's hierarchy. In
the U.S., the Archbishop of Denver, CO,
(Archbishop Charles Chaput) and the Bishop
of Fall River, MA, (Bishop Sean O'Malley)
are Capuchins. Earlier there were many
Capuchin Bishops in North India.
Q. How long does it take to become a
"full-fledged" Capuchin? A. In a sense, one never becomes a
full-fledged Capuchin Franciscan friar
because formation is an on-going process.
From the first stage of initiation to
perpetual pofession of vows takes anywhere
from ten to thirteen years in most cases.
Q. Do I need a college degree to be a
Capuchin? A. One does not need a college to
join the Capuchins, though many ministries
which the friars are engaged in would
require a good college education.
Q. Was Padre Pio a Capuchin? A. Padre Pio was a Capuchin
Franciscan friar and a priest noted for his
holiness of life and for having the
Stigmata: the five wounds of Christ in his
hands, feet and side. In fact, he was the
first priest in the history of the Church to
have received the Stigmata. Pope John Paul
II will proclaim him "Blessed Pio of
Pietrelcina" on May 2, 1999 and Canonized on
16th June 2002 by the Pope John Paul II
Q. Do I have to be a Catholic to be a
Capuchin? A. Only practicing Catholics are
considered for membership in the fraternity.
Q. Do I have to be a man to be a
Capuchin, or can women join too? A. Only men can become Capuchin
Franciscan friars. There is an order of
Capuchin Poor Clare nuns who belong to the
second Order of St. Francis, and there are
communities of Capuchin Franciscan Sisters
who belong to the Third Order of St.
Q. Is celibacy trying or lonely? A. Celibacy can be very trying and it
can be lonely. Living in community helps
celibates to overcome loneliness and prayer
and work can help make celibacy less trying.
Celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom is a
gift from God who provides the graces
necessary to lead a celibate life.
Q. Do vows of poverty mean you cannot
own anything? How do you pay for stuff? A. According to the popular belief
poverty means you can have anything...you
just can't own it. Seriously, our vow is
based on our trust on God's providence which
can best be seen by living simply, and
always having a "preferencial option" for
the poor. Practically speaking, we share
what we have and ask for what we need.
Q. Does the vow of obedience mean you
have to do what your told or else? A. Obedience means that you must
follow the directions of your religious
superiors as the expression of God's will
for you unless those directions violate
one's conscience. As we pray when we recite
the Lord's prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy
will be done.."
Fr. Manohar Mervin Dsouza
ST. ANNE’S FRIARY
Jail Road, Kodialbail Post, Mangalore
Karnataka - 575 003, India
Phone: 9980104579 / 9481976210