In 1209, St. Francis of Assisi received formal approval from Pope Innocent III for his new way of life.
St. Francis wanted his followers to imitate the humility of Christ and to minister to the least in society.
By 1517, the Franciscan Order was divided into autonomous branches, each professing a valid perspective of their observance of his Rule. The "Conventual" followers of St. Francis chose to minister in the heart of the cities rather than in more remote hermitages. Conventual Franciscans emphasize fidelity to the Catholic Church, the Holy Father, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, and stress the importance of fostering strong fraternal communities.
In the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF), the Order is divided into four provinces based broadly on geographical region. The Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) Province is located along the East Coast, which oversees the Provincial Custody of the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa in Great Britain & Ireland and the Provincial Delegation of Saint Francis of Assisi in Canada. The Saint Bonaventure (SB) Province is based in Chicago, IL, which oversees the Provincial Delegation of Our Lady, Help of Christians in Australia. The Our Lady of Consolation (OLC) Province operates in the Midwest and oversees the Provincial Delegation of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the SW United States. And finally, the Saint Joseph of Cupertino (SJC) Province is based in California. All the aforementioned Provinces, Custody, and Delegations, send their novices to the Interprovincial Novitiate in Arroyo Grande, California.
To learn more about the locations and ministries of the provinces,
click on the links below. For a list of vocation directors near your area, click here.