The worldwide Franciscan Order was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209. One of four North American jurisdictions, our Chicago-based Province was established in 1939. 

St. Francis’ simplicity, love for the Eucharist, and devotion to the Virgin Mary remain at the heart of our Province. This solid Catholic foundation unifies the friars as they live their 800-year tradition of Gospel fraternity and deep love for the Church.

Our Franciscan identity is further shaped by the life and mission of St. Maximilian Kolbe, our confrere who became a “Martyr of Charity” in Auschwitz.

Our mission

We Conventual Franciscan friars
are called by God’s love to the Gospel life
in fraternity, simplicity,
prayer and penance,
love of the Eucharist,
and devotion to Mary,
the Immaculate Mother of God. 

Together we proclaim
the Incarnate and compassionate Christ,
help build communities of worship
in service to the marginalized and poor,
and praise the God of creation
by reverencing our sisters and brothers
and the whole earth.

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Vocations

If you are here, it may be because of an inner sense you are feeling. Most of the time, this sense, or inner feeling, asks you to serve in one fashion or another.

Most men do not know what to do about it. Being on this page is the first step. Please take a few minutes and watch this video to get more information.

Learn about our history

With over five thousand followers in his lifetime, St. Francis inspired the energetic and talented friars toward a broader task of helping to transform every level of society.

No positive initiative was outside the community’s gospel mandate – as long as the good work did not “extinguish the spirit of holy prayer and devotion.”

The friars quickly became preachers and educators, administrators of royal charities, and advocates of social justice. They spread the faith far and wide as missionaries, and they often spilled their blood as martyrs.

Conventual Friars in North America. Taken in the 1940s