The Franciscan Family

The expression Franciscan Family is used broadly to indicate all religious groups inspired by the charism of Saint Francis. The Franciscan charism has inspired men and women, both lay and religious or priests, who have formed different groups over the centuries.

The experience originally lived by Francis and his first friars and sisters gave birth almost immediately to a male religious Order (the Order of Friars Minor), a female monastic Order (Clare and her sisters who, after her death, would be called Poor Clares) and an Order formed by lay people who, living in their own families, their work, their social, political and religious commitments, witnessed a Franciscan Christian commitment (Secular Franciscan Order). 

This complex religious movement sparked by the experience of Francis has, over the centuries, developed, fragmented, regenerated, divided and reunited, with an exciting history that we cannot retrace here. 

In this broad sense, therefore, today, the Franciscan Family includes Orders, both religious and lay, Congregations or Religious Institutes for women and men, monasteries of Poor Clares and Conceptionists, Secular Institutes, and also groups or movements inspired by Francis of Assisi. It should also not be forgotten that there are Anglican Franciscans and Lutheran Franciscans worldwide.

The Conference of the Franciscan Family

In 1995, it was decided to give a more organised form to this "Franciscan galaxy", and the Conference of the Franciscan Family was established to promote communion of life in the Franciscan family and to have a unified voice in the world and the Church. A few years later (2004), the Conference itself was juridically recognised by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Members of the Conference

The Conference is made up of six members: 

  • The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM)
  • The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv)
  • The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap)
  • The Minister General of the Third Order Regular (TOR)
  • The Minister General of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS)
  • The President of the International Franciscan Conference of Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular (CFI-TOR)


The Conference - without prejudice to the character, autonomy and competences of each individual order or institute - aims:

  • To promote knowledge of Franciscan history and spirituality and the witness of these in the practice of daily life, in their own initiatives, activities and institutions, in faithful and constant service to the Church, especially in evangelisation and the formation of a Christian culture;
  • To maintain a common attitude, for a more fruitful contact, with the Holy See, the hierarchy of the Church and other religious institutes;
  • To promote and fraternally implement collaboration in various initiatives and activities (e.g., contemplation, pastoral service, mission ad gentes, initial and ongoing formation, centres of higher studies, and programmes with non-Catholic Franciscans);
  • To promote and support common organisms and structures, with their own Statutes approved by the Conference, for the realisation of the aims indicated in the previous point in specific and determined areas;
  • To continuously revive the spirit of fraternity in order to realise the Unum Sint, becoming a sign and witness of unity in the Church and the world;
  • To represent the CFF with the Holy See, other Orders, Institutes and organisations in all matters concerning common issues.