Our official title is the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. We are a Roman Catholic Religious Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi on 16th April 1209. Our rule was approved by Pope Honorius on 29th November 1223.
We have been present in England, under the name Greyfriars since 1224. On this site, you will find inspiring information on the life and ministry of the Greyfriars. You will be introduced to our history, heritage and spirituality. You will also be able to read about some of the leading figures of our family. As you continue your visit, you will be introduced to all the major sites of the Conventual Franciscans and to other significant Franciscan sites that might be of interest to you. We hope you will enjoy reading about our apostolate and about the passionate and challenging lives of the Greyfriars. May God give you His peace!
The Order of Friars Minor Conventual is a religious community founded by St. Francis of Assisi. From its earliest times the word Conventual was used with the phrase "Friars Minor" to designate their life in community. The members of the Order are called Conventua Franciscan Friars. From its foundation our community, by the will of our Father St. Francis, is a true fraternity. Its members, therefore, as brothers of a single family, share in the life and work of the community, each according to his own circumstances. They have equal rights and obligations, except in those matters pertaining to holy orders. Our Order, however, is classified by the Church as clerical. St. Francis wanted his brothers to be known as Friars Minor "so that... from the very name itself his disciples might realize that they had come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility." Our friars are united in a conventual fraternity, in the proper sense of that term, so as to foster greater dedication, a more regular life, a more fervent divine office, a better formation of candidates, the study of theology, and the other works of the apostolate in the service of the Church of God so that, especially under the guidance of Mary Immaculate, the Kingdom of Christ may be extended throughout the world.
Blessed Agnellus of Pisa - Patron of our Custody
Agnellus of Pisa born in 1194, was one of the early friars recruited shortly after the initial approval of the Order's regula vitae by Innocent III. There is a tradition that he was received into the fraternity by St Francis of Assisi at Pisa in 1211. He knew many of the major players in the evolution of the fraternity, such as Bernard of Quintavalle, Elias of Cortona, John Parenti, Pacificus, Gregory of Naples and St. Anthony of Padua. He ministered in the provinces of Tuscany, France and England, and may have worked elsewhere before his departure for France. At the general chapter of 1224 he was appointed to lead the mission to England at the age of 30, becoming the first minister of the new province, which he served until his death on 13 March 1236.