American Franciscans

The Franciscan friars are members of a Catholic religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1208 and officially recognized by Pope Innocent III in
1209. (The female complement of the order, the Poor Clares, was begun in 1212.) The Franciscans’ goals are to teach and evangelize as Jesus’s
apostles did.

The Franciscan friars were instrumental in the spread of Christianity and European influence across today’s Mexico and southwestern United States.
Franciscan friars accompanied many of the early Spanish conquistadors and played a key role in the spread of Spanish settlement in the New World,
especially into today’s Texas and California, where they established missions and presidios.

The earliest Franciscans in the Americas sailed to the island of Hispaniola and founded the first monasteries in the New World in the cities of Concepci³n
de la Vega and Santo Domingo. The famous Taino cacique Enriquillo (who led a successful rebellion against the Spaniards from 1519 to 1534) was
educated in the Santo Domingo monastery as a boy, and Bartolom Col³n, Christopher Columbus’s brother and the founder of Santo Domingo, was
buried there. The Franciscans’ fame on Hispaniola, however, was eclipsed by that of the Dominican friars. Their main impact was in New Spain Spanish
The Franciscan mission in Trampas, New Mexico, dating to 1700, is one of the best preserved in the Southwest.

Franciscan friars played a vital role in
the spread of Spanish frontier settlements in the region. (Library of Congress, USW3-015112-E)
Twelve Franciscans arrived in Mexico in May 1524, at Hernando Cortz’s request, to convert the Native Americans. Thirty-five years later, there were 300
of them at eighty Franciscan missions. Franciscans were the most frequent administrators of the Holy Offices of the Inquisition in Mexico City and Lima,
Peru (both founded in 1569), and later in Cartagena (1610). Franciscans, aided principally by Juan de Zumrraga (he was the first archbishop of Mexico
and brought the first printing press to the Americas), founded the College of Santiago Tlatelolco near Mexico City for the express purpose of training the
sons of Native American chiefs to be priests, but their goal was opposed by most Spaniards; from 1555 to 1591, laws were promulgated that specifically
prohibited the ordination of Native American priests.
Franciscan order re-elects American brother amid ongoing financial … holidaymapq

American Franciscans Photo Gallery

The Future of the Franciscans – US Franciscans holidaymapq

Website Has Many Franciscan Resources – US Franciscans holidaymapq

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