The order has the most direct line to St. Francis himself. The Order of Friar Minors or O.F.M. Under the legal protection of the Conventuals, the Order gained legal independence in 1628. A conventual friar Image source: Wikipedia. The move has also attracted criticism. The friars, who describe themselves as "penitents" dedicated to missionary and humanitarian work, are ecstatic at the result and last week began donning the re-designed habits. What did Francis think about the color of the habit? Besides being much lighter than the present black wool habit that weighs seven pounds, the trim new design has breast pockets in which the the brothers can keep their mobile telephones. The flip side of this, however, is that, over time, each friar becomes more comfortable with wearing the habit. We shall discuss the garments each one of them wear, as below. Throughout the centuries, the families of the first Order – that of the “friars minor” – adopted gray and brown colors (in many shades: light, dark, chestnut, reddish) … and even black. The black pleated habit used by the Franciscans' Third Regular Order for 150 years, not only "weighed a ton", the friars complained, but looked "cliched", and failed to reflect their philosophy. The gray color helps blend in with the city environment, complementing the bleak atmosphere of the slum areas, where the friars usually dwell during missions. But the problem remains: where would one keep one's mobile phone?". Pasquale Magro | Source:, Br. The Capuchins (1525) arising from the Observants, faced opposition on various fronts. It started out in rural areas with friars wearing brown habits but later evolved to adopting ash-gray robes and serving the urban poor in cities. Yves St Laurent once displayed an authentic friar's habit in his showroom, as an example of a design that could not be bettered. To speak of the color of the habits worn by Franciscans (men and women inspired by the charism of Francis of Assisi) is not an easy task. The Friars  Minor Observant underwent the official move from gray to brown habits at the 1895 Assisi Chapter when Leo XIII gathered the various families of the Observance into the “Friars Minor” (Reformed, Alcantarins, Recollects, etc.). The overall habits of the order is similar to the O.F.M. It gives example to religious women and men that they should not have elegant and fine attire, but rather wear dull colors, like that of the earth”. Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI Elected New Minister…, Koinonia: The OFS Rule as a response in times of…, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM appointed Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, The Antonianum University awards an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Pope Francis participates in International Prayer Meeting for Peace at the Franciscan Basilica of Saint Mary in Ara Coeli, Rome. At the time the brothers’ robes were supplied by peasants, who often were not much wealthier than the Franciscans. who was known for his deeds and his humility. It was necessary to have "courage and intelligence" to change a friar's habit, he said. The most common color worn by the peasant class of the dark ages were varying shades of gray and brown, depending on the source of wool that was … In the Constitutions of Narbonne (1260), St. Bonaventure, who was General Minister, prescribes that the friars never wear black or white. The dirt-brown habits worn by the friars define meekness and the down-to-earth nature of the order, living out their days in rural areas where they assist the poor. To remain faithful to that spirit today, friars should be dressing in the same way as down-and-outs. Some wonder if it is ever awkward to wear the habit. During the order’s establishment, the hood was the mark of hermits who lived out their lives in prayer and isolation—much like the Capuchin order. The pearly white girdle also symbolizes clarity, as well as hope among city-dwellers stricken with poverty. Obviously, color has always had a symbolic energy that serves as a reminder of the spiritual identity of the group. He said: "To return to a more modern, humbler style, which is in fact based on a much older one, we are returning to the simplicity which we are supposed to be all about. The Capuchin order was established in 1528 as a reformation movement adopting a more contemplative lifestyle. With a solid earthly tone which delicately blends, the habits consist of a soft hood and a white girdle, contrasting with the brown color of the overall garment. ", New Covid lockdown rules for England: what you can and can't do from today. She has now come up with a snappy, charcoal grey model in lightweight wool. was established in 1517 to adopt a simpler, poorer life. Here, we talk about the many different Franciscan habits worn by various branches of the order. The new garb, they say, will be both more practical and comfortable. Towards 1240, an English chronicler speaks of friars minor wearing “long gray robes “. Capuchin friars live in smaller homes and operate in lesser numbers. Any idea what happened a few days ago? Until 1517, the Franciscan family, born in 1209, was a juridical one, governed by a single General Minister, considered by all to be the direct successor of Saint Francis. The black pleated habit used by the Franciscans' Third Regular Order for 150 years, not only "weighed a ton", the friars complained, but looked "cliched", and failed to reflect their philosophy. The other Franciscan orders, who all dress differently, are said to be eyeing jealously their brothers' new habits, which they may be tempted to emulate. The Friars Minor Capuchin, in 1912, decided on their present chestnut color. As you may already know, St. Francis established the Franciscan order and his influence spread throughout the world. Vittorio Messori, an Italian journalist and commentator on Church matters, and who, with the Pope, co-wrote the bestseller Crossing the Threshold of Faith, was unconvinced.