there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities.The most prominent group is the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called simply the 'Franciscans'.
They seek to follow most directly the manner of life that Saint Francis led. This order is a mendicant religious order of men tracing their origin to Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
Francis was the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi. While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life. On a pilgrimage to Rome, he begged with the beggars at St. Peter's. The experience moved him to live in poverty.
Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following. His order was endorsed by Pope Innocent III in 1210. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas manger scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata, making him the first person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. He died in 1226 while preaching Psalm 141.
Like his contemporary, Francis of Assisi, Dominic saw the need for a new type of organization, and the quick growth of the Dominicans and Franciscans during their first century of existence confirms that the orders of mendicant friars met a need.
Dominic sought to establish a new kind of order, one that would bring the dedication and systematic education of the older monastic orders like the Benedictines to bear on the religious problems of the burgeoning population of cities, but with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy.
Dominic's new order was to be a preaching order, trained to preach in the vernacular languages. Rather than earning their living on vast farms as the monasteries had done, the new friars would survive by begging and "selling" themselves through persuasive preaching.
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Who were the Mendicants?
The term mendicant (from Latin: mendicants, "begging") refers to begging or relying on charitable donations, and is most widely used for religious followers or ascetics, who rely exclusively on charity to survive. Followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants and were widespread in Christianity from the High Middle Ages, as they would beg for food while they preached in the villages. Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities,