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Capuchins in Paraguay

The Capuchins (OFMCap), actually an order of the Capuchin Brothers Minor , in Latin Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capucinorum , are a Franciscan mendicant order in the Roman Catholic Church . The name of the order is derived from the distinctive hood of the Franciscan habits . He belongs to the Franciscan order and today forms - next to the Franciscans (OFM) and the Minorites (OFMConv) - one of the three major branches of the first order of St. Francis .

In the past, the Capuchins were characterized on the one hand by a special love for silence and prayer, on the other hand by their closeness to the common people and the poor. This is expressed in today's Capuchin community, among other things, through active engagement in special and marginal group pastoral care and in social-pastoral projects (homeless work).


Mateo de Bascio

At the beginning of the 16th century there were various reform efforts within the Franciscan order. There were brothers who were firmly involved in pastoral tasks in large city conventions ( conventuals ), brothers who focused on the original ideals of St. Francis wanted to reflect ( observants ), and many movements between these forms of life.

The observant Mateo de Bascio left his monastery in the Ancona region in the spring of 1525 without the permission of his superiors to follow the example of St. Francis to go poor through the world. His superior had him arrested and locked up. De Bascio found an advocate in the Duchess of Camerino, Caterina Cybo , a niece of Pope Clement VII , and was then released.

In the autumn of the same year, two other Franciscans, Ludovico Tenaglia and his brother Raffaele, joined him. Thereupon the provincial superior, Giovanni da Fano, tried to bring the three brothers back by force of arms. These, however, hid in the mountains of Cingoli and then with the Camaldolese of Cupramontana . Besieged by their own brothers, the observants finally escaped disguised in the white habit of their hosts. As a result, they were officially excluded from the order in the spring. At the intercession of the influential Duchess Caterina Cybo, the responsible bishop took the persecuted into his care and allowed them to continue their traveling sermon.

In 1527 raged in the Duchy of Camerino again the plague . The fearless commitment of the three brothers to the dying prompted Katharina von Cibo to obtain a protective letter from her uncle, the Pope, in favor of the group in 1528. This is considered to be the founding document of a new reform movement, according to which the renegades were allowed to wear a maroon robe with a pointed hood as a sign of their radical life following the example of Francis of Assisi. They were allowed to practice the itinerant sermon, elect their own superiors and accept other brothers into their settlement. Because of the hood (Italian il cappuccio ) of the habit, the reformers were called capuchins by the people : When they went through the villages collecting alms in their early days, the children ran over and shouted "Cappucini, cappucini" - "The hoods are coming!" was also officially used in papal documents from 1535 onwards.

The new movement was soon followed by dozens and hundreds of reform-minded brothers across Italy. In 1534 they were joined by Giovanni Pili da Fano, who had persecuted the first brothers as provincial superior by force of arms. The “Friars Minor of Hermit Life”, as the Capuchins were called in full, attached particular importance to the sermon and life in small hermitages , a little away from the towns and villages. They were tied to the people and were initially particularly committed to caring for those suffering from the plague, which quickly gave them great support among the people. Today there are around 11,000 Capuchins around the world who live according to the Rule of St. Francis live. The Capuchins see their special charisma in the emphasis on contemplative prayer paired with a focus on people, especially the poor, the weak and the sick. Today, the community of the Capuchin sees the true solidarity in the example of self-emptying of Christ as in the hymn to Christ ( Phil 2,5-11  EU is drawn).


The Capuchin Order is divided into provinces. The highest authority is the general chapter, which is composed of representatives from all provinces. The Order of the General Curia is led Rome , elected by the General Chapter headed by Minister General is. The general minister is supported by the general definitors, also elected by the general chapter, who are each responsible for one of eight areas. Since there are only brothers among the Capuchins, those in charge are also addressed as brother and have no special title. The Order's General Minister has been the Italian Roberto Genuin since 2018, succeeding the Swiss Mauro Jöhri (General Minister from 2006 to 2018).

Capuchin provinces in German-speaking countries


On May 25, 2010 in the Upper Swabian monastery of Reute near Ravensburg , the Minister General of the Capuchin Order, Mauro Jöhri, united the Rhenish-Westphalian Order Province and the Bavarian Order Province to form a joint German Capuchin Province based in Munich . Christophorus Goedereis became the first provincial minister .

Forerunners of the German Capuchin Province were

  • the Rhenish-Westphalian order province with provincial office in Frankfurt am Main (until June 15, 2007 in the Capuchin monastery in Koblenz ), about 100 brothers and the provincial brother Christophorus Goedereis,
  • the Bavarian Order Province with Provincialate in Munich, about 80 brothers and the Provincial Brother Josef Mittermaier.

The German Capuchin Province has 18 branches, including the Capuchin Monastery Altötting , the Capuchin Monastery Liebfrauen in Frankfurt am Main and a branch in Münster , where the German Capuchin Province maintains the Philosophical-Theological University of Münster . Until October 19, 2014, there was also a monastery at the Käppele pilgrimage church in Würzburg .

Austria-South Tyrol

In Austria and South Tyrol the Capuchin Order has around 115 members who live together in 17 branches. The provincial government has its seat in the monastery Innsbruck The province of Austria-South Tyrol has existed since 2011. In 2007 the provinces of Vienna and North Tyrol were merged to form the province of Austria, four years later the province of Austria-South Tyrol was founded through the merger with the province of Brixen.

Special focus

The common novitiate for the entire German-speaking area has been located in the Capuchin Monastery of Salzburg since 1998 . In addition, the Capuchins in Salzburg offer the so-called “Salzburg Our Father Weeks”, in which people can combine spiritual impulses with a tour of the city and living in the monastery. Living in the community for a certain time is also possible in the monasteries Schruns-Gauenstein, Vorarlberg, and Neumarkt in South Tyrol. These offers are aimed at all interested women and men.

A special offer for men interested in religious life is the “Monastery Week” in the Capuchin Monastery in Salzburg . In the Capuchin monastery Vienna is also important for the Austrian history Kapuzinergruft . The slw - Social Services of the Capuchins is located in Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna. Not to be forgotten are the monasteries that guard the relics of Capuchins, St. Fidelis in Feldkirch, Blessed Markus von Aviano in Vienna and Blessed Thomas von Olera in Innsbruck.


Wesemlin Monastery in Lucerne , seat of the Swiss Capuchin Province

The main tasks of the Brothers of the Swiss Province are pastoral care and mission. With the Capuchin monastery in Altdorf in the canton of Uri, the first Capuchin monastery north of the Alps was established in 1581. Little by little the order spread to all Catholic areas of Switzerland. In 1920 the Swiss Capuchins took over the mission areas in Tanzania. Further assignments in the development of young churches followed in South America, Asia and Oceania. Today Swiss Capuchins are active in Indonesia, Tanzania, Chad and on the Arabian Peninsula. The Swiss Capuchin Paul Hinder has been Apostolic Vicar in Arabia since 2004 . Swiss Capuchins founded the sister communities of Menzingen and Ingenbohl.

For years, however, the order has been struggling with recruiting difficulties. The membership fell from over 700 to below 200, and several branches had to be closed. As a means of combating the difficulties of the younger generation, the Order Province relies on modernized monastery models such as the "open monastery" in Rapperswil . Since 2010 there has been the possibility of becoming a "temporary brother". With this model, the brother has to decide whether to live in a monastery or in civil life after six years at the latest.

At the beginning of 2018 there were still eleven monasteries or communities with around 100 brothers. The average age of the friars was now 74 years.


Great Capuchins

Daily routine (example)

  • 6.30 a.m. - Betchor ( Lauds , silent prayer )
  • 7:00 a.m. - breakfast , then time for yourself
  • 8:00 am - meditation, study , reading
  • 09:00 am - Eucharistic celebration with the congregation
  • 9.30 a.m. - work ( pastoral care , house, kitchen, garden, depending on agreement)
  • 12:00 noon - lunch, then lunch break
  • 2:30 p.m. - work, including time for yourself, depending on the agreement
  • 6:00 p.m. - Choir ( Vespers , meditation, Compline )
  • 7:00 p.m. - dinner, then time for yourself
  • 8:30 p.m. - Recreation ("re-creation", relaxation together)
  • 9:00 p.m. - personal night prayer, night's rest

Friday is celebrated as the day of silence, as the so-called "desert day". One day a week is free for recreation, hobbies, etc.

See also


  • Niklaus Kuster (ed.): Of wandering brothers, hermits and popular preachers. Life and work of the Capuchins in the age of the Reformation. Sources on the origins of the Franciscan reform and its early development in the German-speaking area . Butzon and Bercker, Kevelaer 2003, ISBN 3-7666-2084-3 .
  • Inspired freedom. 800 years of Francis and his movement , ed. by Niklaus Kuster - Thomas Dienberg - Marianne Jungbluth in cooperation with the Franciscan Research Unit FFF. Herder, Freiburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-451-31053-9 .
  • Lázaro Iriarte, The Order of St. Francis. Handbook of the Franciscan Order History , Altötting 1984.
  • Lexicon capuccinum. Promptuarium historico-bibliographicum Ordinis Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum (1525–1950) , Romae 1951.
  • Edilbert Lindner, The Saints of the Capuchin Order , Altötting 1982.
  • Walther Hümmerich, beginnings of the Capuchin monastery building. Investigations on Capuchin architecture in the Rhenish religious provinces , Mainz 1987.
  • Maximilian Pöckl: The Capuchins in Bavaria from their origins to the present day . Seidel, Sulzbach 1826. Digital edition on, as of February 5, 2010.
  • Hillard von Thiessen: The Capuchins between denomination and everyday culture. Comparative case study using the example of Freiburg and Hildesheim, 1599–1750 . Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau 2002.
  • Helvetia Sacra V. The Order of St. Francis , arr. by Klemens Arnold [among others], edited by Albert Bruckner and Brigitte Degler-Spengler . Vol. 2: The Capuchins in Switzerland , Bern 1974.
  • Christian Schweizer, Kapuziner , in: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz , Vol. 7, Basel 2008, 94–96.
  • Catalog of the library of the Capuchins in Düsseldorf a. otherwise instruction. Düsseldorf 1805 (manuscript) digitized

Web links

Commons : Capuchins  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Capuchins  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Suso Frank : Capuchin . In: Walter Kasper (Ed.): Lexicon for Theology and Church . 3. Edition. tape 5 . Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1996, Sp. 1220-1221 .
  2. ^ Hermann Schalück: Solidarity in the times of globalization. In: ite - Magazine of the Capuchins, No. 1/1999. Retrieved July 26, 2009 .
  3. Nuovo Ministro Generale. Capuchin press release. September 3, 2018, accessed July 27, 2019 (Italian).
  4. German Capuchin Provinces united. In: May 26, 2010, accessed July 27, 2019 .
  5. Does the brother work miracles for a while?, accessed on November 27, 2013 .
  6. Simon Hehli, Thi My Lien Nguyen: Monks cannot live on God's wages. In: NZZ. March 30, 2018, accessed July 27, 2019 .