The Friars at St. Joe's
St. Joseph University Parish has been staffed by the Conventual Franciscans since 1872. The first Conventual Friars arrived in the United States in 1852 to help serve the increasing immigrant population. They ministered first in Texas and later in the northeastern United States eventually moving westward. The friars at St. Joe's belong to the Our Lady of Consolation Province which has its mother house in Mount Saint Francis, Indiana.
Who We Are
The Conventual Franciscans are a worldwide community of men who have dedicated themselves to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Conventual Franciscans, also known as friars, conduct their ministries as priests or brothers following the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Conventual followers of Francis chose to minister in the heart of the city rather than in more remote hermitages; they banded together in concentrated communities. Hence the suffix, Conventual, as derived from the Latin, convenire, "to come together." Today, we Friars of the Community continue to live in "convents" or friaries, as they are more commonly called. Our community is spread throughout the world, structured into various Provinces, with about 4000 members. We wear a black or gray habit, as distinct from the brown garment typically worn by other Franciscan communities, with a simple three knotted cord representing our Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience, Our Minister General resides in Rome at the Church of Santi Apostoli (Holy Apostles- it is the burial place of the Apostles Philip and Andrew.) The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi remains the spiritual center of our Order. Here countless pilgrims journey to be touched by the message of St. Francis and the ministry of the friars. In addition, the Conventuals are the Vatican confessors at St. Peter's Basilica. In Christ's name they continue the ministry of healing so fundamental to the understanding of St. Francis. Francis died at the Portiuncula "little portion" Chapel near Assisi in 1226. Already considered as such by the people, Francis was formally declared a saint by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. The process of his canonization was one of the briefest in history. He is buried in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. His Feast Day is celebrated on October 4th.
What We Do
St. Francis called the brothers simply to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore Franciscans do not have a unique ministry that they all perform. Franciscan brothers and priests are involved in a wide variety of ministries depending on the interest and experience of the individual friar. For example, friars are teachers, carpenters, health care workers, social activists and pastors. However the three typically Franciscan values of working for peace, serving the poor, and safeguarding creation link all of their ministries together.
The most unique quality of Conventual Franciscans is their focus on community and prayer. Whether priest or brother, Conventuals live together in community to support one another and to join in common prayer.