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Catholic religious congregation approved in 1528 comprising men consecrated to an austere and joyous life, close to the people, following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi and his first companions (1209-1226), and the messianic model of Jesus and his apostles in spreading the creed of peace


Unlike the Reformed Friars, the Conventual Friars followed the instructions from the papal and episcopal magisterium from the outset. Therefore, they are involved in praiseworthy preaching, philosophical, theological and also professional training, and they are generally resident in large convents in the centre of cities or large towns.


Since the XIII century not only have territories inhabited by friars been divided into either Franciscan or Capuchin areas, but they have also been divided into districts known as 'custodies'. It is an area with around five to fifteen convents, with a similar road network and local mentality. Usually, each custody has its own novitiate house, especially in periods with large numbers of friars, as was the case of the Capuchins in the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Erice town

Elymian and Roman town. After a period of abandonment in the early Middle Ages, it regained vitality starting in the XII century, jealously preserving its socio-political autonomy. Since 1962, Erice has become even more active thanks to the Fondazione Ettore Majorana which promotes international scientific conferences of high renown.


Religious family structured in three sections - the First, Second and Third Orders - founded by the famous Saint Francis of Assisi in the first part of the XIII century. With its itinerant style, it immediately became widespread in the main European nations. The Franciscans’ spirituality and presence helped to transform the European continent with two types of settlement: in towns (the conventual tradition) and outside (the various reformed traditions).


Established in military circles, geopolitics is the science that studies the many variables in the territory that interact and change throughout time. It places emphasis on the geographic variable, that is, how the physical and geological conformation influences human settlements and civilisation in periods of peace or war.


To name the local superior of a fraternity Francis of Assisi used a term taken from the pastoral world of the Bible, referring to the guardian of the flock. The main characteristic of the community of friars’ everyday life is their observance of biblical values.

Lay brother

Professed friar who lives the Capuchin Franciscan life in its essential evangelical form. Devoted to simple prayer and faithful work, it is easier for lay brothers to lead a life of holiness and example. Among the Capuchin Friars, there is a host of holy, blessed and venerable lay brothers, servants of God, beloved by the people, and in various cases, also by the top figures in the ecclesiastic hierarchy and the nobles and notables of civil society. 


Like the terms ‘guardian’ and ‘custodian’, ‘minister’ takes its authentic meaning from the Bible. Francis loved to define their leadership in the same terms as Jesus Christ who called himself his disciples’ ‘minister and servant’ so that they could learn that true leadership can be experienced in faithful, joyful and responsible 'diakonia'.


Trial year for candidates wanting to enter the fraternal religious life of the Capuchins, at the end of which they are accepted into the temporary profession. Established by Gregory IX in the XIII century, this training period has experienced the usual trends of all such institutions: original fervour, consolidation, decadence, reform, and so on. The Capuchins and in general all the Franciscan reforms make the novitiate period one of extreme austerity, with special forms of contemplation and penitence. The distinctive feature showing a novice’s maturity is his serenity and joy (sign of integration, maturity and perfection of charity), in the various forms of penitence and mortification.


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