Our 2020 Novitiate class consists of six men from different parts of the world and representing three provinces. The Friars novices will live together for a year and day, and take part in the full novitiate program under the guidance of their formation team. They will discern and develop their sense of vocation to the religious life within the Conventual Franciscan Order.

Friar Wayne Mulei

Joseph of Cupertino Province

Friar Wayne Mulei, 41, of Reno Nevada, grew up with a passion for adventure and motorcycles. After September 11th 2001, he felt inspired to join the Marines After his tour of duty, he attended college and began to discover Catholicism. He converted to the faith and completed college with a degree in History with a minor in Asian Studies. Wayne met the friars while attending a vocation discernment group for his diocese, where the friars also ministered at the cathedral. After attending the friars’ come-and-see retreats, he easily fell in love with the life of St. Francis and the ideal of community life.         

Friar Michael Boes

Our Lady of the Angels Province

Friar Michael Boes, 40, is from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. After high school, he enrolled at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, a Benedictine foundation whose members were inspiring enough for him to join the Order after graduation. He loved the life, but took some time away from the monks while discerning a desire for a more active life. Michael has always had a service-oriented personality. Before joining the friars he trained as a Medical Technician and a Personal Care Assistant. He also worked as an assistant teacher in a number of settings, but mostly enjoyed his time working with special need and autistic children.

Friar Edgar Varela

Our Lady of the Angels Province

Friar Edgar Varela, 36, from Phoenix, Arizona, met the Conventual friars while he was a Carmelite studying at Loyola University in Chicago, and again at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Some years after leaving the Carmelites, his continued desire for religious life inspired him to reach out to the Conventual Franciscans since he had been impressed by the fraternity they witnessed from his time together with them in school. In his free time, Edgar enjoys hiking, listening to music, playing volleyball, and experimenting with cooking and baking.

Friar Jonathan Garcia Zenteno

Our Lady of the Angels Province

Friar Jonathan Garcia Zenteno, 35, from Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas, Mexico, had been a Conventual friar in his home country for a number of years. After he left the community, he worked in a state office as an archivist and researcher. He also taught some classes on Franciscan history to the Poor Clares in his home town. Ingrained with the ideals of service – especially through his family’s foundation of assisting the poor with healthcare – Jonathan felt a strong desire to return to religious life. He petitioned to return to the Conventuals in the U.S., a new home country. 

Friar Bram De Backer

Our Lady of the Angels Province

Friar Bram De Backer, 34, from Zottegem, Belgium, received a degree in theology from the Katholieke Universiteit in Louvain. Always having a great interest in mental health issues, Bram worked as a caregiver for adults with severe learning disabilities. He also ministered as a lay chaplain at a psychiatric hospital, and then served as a lay missionary in Cambodia, again working with physically disabled youth. Having discerned religious life for a number of years, he discovered the Conventuals on the Web, immediately felt attracted to their way of living out the Franciscan charism.

Friar Anthony Ruffolo

Saint Bonaventure Province

Friar Anthony Ruffolo, 31, originally from Deerfield, Illinois, worked for a time as a police officer in a large metropolitan department. While witnessing so many lives in destitution and abject poverty, both physical and spiritual, he began to experience a “reversion.” Anthony was drawn to the Franciscan charism and joined the Secular Franciscan Order. It was also during this time that he became acquainted with the life and ministry of the friars and subsequently answered the vocational call to serve others in the way of St. Francis as a Conventual Franciscan.

Please Pray for the friars in formation.