Mendicant orders

Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Christian religious orders that have adopted a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model. This foresaw living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings and other wealth. By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached.

The term "mendicant" is also used with reference to some non-Christian religions to denote holy persons committed to an ascetic lifestyle, which may include members of religious orders and individual holy persons.

Cluny Abbey (7309874510)
Cluny Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery in Saône-et-Loire, France. It was at one time the center of Western monasticism.

Origins of the friars

What is called the mendicant movement in Church history arose primarily in the 13th century in Western Europe. Until that time the monks of Europe worked at their trade in their monastery. Renouncing personal property, they owned all things in common as a community after the example of chapters 2 and 4 of the Acts of the Apostles.[1]

With the rise of Western monasticism, monasteries attracted not only individuals aspiring to become monks and nuns, but also property, buildings and hence riches. In the view of some, the idea that Christ came down to earth poor and that the true Church must be the church of the poor clashed with this phenomenon. The desire for true Christian authenticity was thus seen by some to contrast to the empirical reality of the Church.[2]

The twelfth century saw great changes in western Europe. As commerce revived, urban centers arose and with them an urban middle class. New directions in spirituality were called for. Church reform became a major theme of the cultural revival of this era. In response to this, there emerged the new mendicant orders founded by Francis of Assisi (c. 1181 – 1226) and Dominic Guzman (c. 1170 – 1221).[3]

The mendicant friars were bound by a vow of poverty and dedicated to an ascetic way of life, renouncing property and travelling the world to preach. Their survival was dependent upon the good will and material support of their listeners. It was this way of life that gave them their name, "mendicant", derived from the Latin mendicare, meaning "to beg".[4]

The mendicant movement had started in France and Italy and became popular in the poorer towns and cities of Europe at the beginning of the thirteenth century. The refusal of the mendicants to own property and therefore to pay taxes was seen as threatening the stability of the established Church which was then planning a crusade, to be financed by tithes. For this and other reasons some mendicant orders were officially suppressed by Pope Gregory X at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274 and others were reformed, so as to be capable of contributing funds or men to support the war effort.[5][6]


While on a visit to southern France, Saint Dominic met the Albigensians, a religious sect which had a great popularity partly because of the economic situation of the times. Dominic, who had begun as a secular canon, responded to a desperate need for informed preaching by founding the Order of Preachers and thus embarking on a new form of religious life, the life of the friar. Before this time, religious life had been monastic, but with Dominic the secluded monastery gave way to priories in the cities. By the time of his death in 1221, the Order had spread through Western Europe, hundreds of young men had joined, and the presence of the Order of Preachers was felt at the major universities of the time.[7][8]


Francis came to this manner of life through a period of personal conversion. The Franciscans spread far and wide the devotion to the humanity of Christ, with the commitment to imitate the Lord.[2] Many of them were priests and men of learning whose contributions were notable in the rapid evolution and contemporary relevance of the movement.[1] Notable Franciscans include Anthony of Padua, who were inspirations to the formation of Christian mendicant traditions.


The Franciscans and Dominicans put into practice a pastoral strategy suited to the social changes. The emergence of urban centers meant concentrated numbers of the homeless and the sick. This created problems for the parish churches who found themselves unable to address these issues.[9] Since many people were moving from the countryside to the cities, they no longer built their convents in rural districts but rather in urban zones.

In another innovation, the mendicant orders relinquished their principle of stability, a classical principle of ancient monasticism, opting for a different approach. Unlike the Benedictine monks, the mendicants were not permanently attached to any one particular convent and to its abbot.[1] Because the orders' primary aim was the evangelization of the masses, the church granted them freedom from the jurisdiction of the bishops and they travelled about to convert or reinforce faith.[4] The freedom of mendicancy allowed Franciscans and Dominicans mobility. Since they were not tied to monasteries or territorial parishes, they were free to take the gospel into the streets, to preach, hear confessions and minister to people wherever they were.[9] Friars Minor and Preachers travelled with missionary zeal from one place to another.

Consequently, they organized themselves differently in comparison with the majority of monastic orders. Instead of the traditional autonomy that every monastery enjoyed, they gave greater importance to the order as such and to the Superior General, as well as to the structure of the order Provinces. Their flexibility enabled them to send out the most suitable friars on specific missions, and the mendicant orders reached North Africa, the Middle East and Northern Europe.[2]

As students and professors, Friars Minor and Friars Preacher, Franciscans and Dominicans, entered the leading universities of the time, set up study centres, produced texts of great value and were protagonists of scholastic theology in its best period and had an important effect on the development of thought. The great thinkers, St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure, were mendicants.[2]

In all the great cities of western Europe, friaries were established, and in the universities theological chairs were held by Dominicans and Franciscans. Later in the 13th century they were joined by the mendicant orders of Carmelites, Augustinian Hermits, and Servites.

They attracted a significant level of patronage, as much from townsfolk as aristocrats. Their focus of operation rapidly centered on towns where population growth historically outstripped the provision of rural parishes. Most medieval towns in Western Europe of any size came to possess houses of one or more of the major orders of friars. Some of their churches came to be built on grand scale with large spaces devoted to preaching, something of a specialty among the mendicant orders.

Early mendicant orders

Despite conforming to a recognizable model, the mendicant orders of friars had origins that were generally very different. The original mendicant orders of friars in the Church in the Middle Ages were the

The Second Council of Lyons (1274) recognized these as the four "major" mendicant orders, and suppressed certain others. The Council of Trent loosened the restrictions on their owning property. Afterwards, except for the Franciscans and their offshoot the Capuchins, members of the orders were permitted to own property collectively as do monks.

Other mendicant orders

The other mendicant orders recognized by the Holy See today are the

Like the monastic orders, many of the mendicant orders, especially the larger ones, underwent splits and reform efforts, forming offshoots, permanent or otherwise, some of which are mentioned in the lists given above.

Former mendicant orders

Mendicant orders that formerly existed but are now extinct, and orders which for a time were classed as mendicant orders but now no longer are.

Extinct mendicant orders

  • Ambrosians or Fratres sancti Ambrosii ad Nemus, existed before 1378, suppressed by Pope Innocent X in 1650.
  • Fraticelli of Monte Malbe, founded at Monte Malbe near Perugia in Italy in the 14th century, by the end of the century they had dispersed.
  • Hospitallers of San Hipólito (Saint Hippolytus) or Brothers of Charity of de San Hipólito were founded in Mexico and approved by Rome as a mendicant order in 1700. In the 18th century they were absorbed by the Brothers Hospitaller of Saint John of God.
  • Jesuati, or Clerici apostolici Sancti Hieronymim, Apostolic Clerics of Saint Jerome, founded in 1360, suppressed by Pope Clement IX in 1668.
  • Saccati or Friars of the Sack (Fratres Saccati), known also variously as Brothers of Penitence and perhaps identical with the Boni Homines, Bonshommes or Bones-homes, whose history is obscure.[15]
  • Crutched Friars or Fratres Cruciferi (cross-bearing friars) or Crossed Friars, Crouched Friars or Croziers, named after the staff they carried which was surmounted by a crucifix, existed by 1100, suppressed by Pope Alexander VII in 1656.
  • Scalzetti, founded in the 18th century, suppressed by Pope Pius XI in 1935.[16]

Orders no longer mendicant

Non-Christian mendicant orders

The term "mendicant" may also be used to refer to other non-Catholic and non-Christian ascetics, such as Buddhist monks and Hindu sannyasis. The Pali scriptures of Theravada Buddhism use the term bhikkhu for mendicant, and in Mahayana scriptures, the equivalent Sanskrit term bhikṣu is used. Mendicant traditions in Islam are found in Sufism and Dervishes.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Mendicant movement", Augnet Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c d Benedict XVI, "The Mendicant Orders", General Audience, 13 January 2010
  3. ^ Guiraud, Jean (1909). Saint Dominic. p. 175.
  4. ^ a b Labatt, Annie, and Charlotte Appleyard. "Mendicant Orders in the Medieval World". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 (October 2004)
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Mendicant Friars" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. ^ Tironensian Order Military School. Histoire Et Costumes Des Ordres Religieux, Civils Et Militaires (in French). Brussels, 1845 reprinted Nabu Press 2012. ISBN 978-1278531496.
  7. ^ "Who we are", Dominican Friars, Central Province
  8. ^ The sequence followed in listing the different orders follows the official precedence recognized by the Holy See, cf. Annuario Pontificio 2014 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2014, p. 1421-1425
  9. ^ a b "The Mendicant Orders", University of Saint Thomas–Saint Paul, Minnesota, 2003
  10. ^ "Origins of the Carmelite Order", The British Province of Carmelite Friars Archived 2013-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ The sequence followed in listing the different orders follows the official precedence recognized by the Holy See, cf. Annuario Pontificio 2014 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2014, p. 1421-1425
  12. ^ Griffin, Patrick. "Order of Servites". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 19 Aug. 2013
  13. ^ Giancarlo Rocca (dir.), Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, Edizioni Paoline, Roma, vol. V, 1978, col. 1185.
  14. ^ The sequence followed in listing the different orders follows the official precedence recognized by the Holy See, cf. Annuario Pontificio 2014 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2014, p. 1421-1425
  15. ^ Giancarlo Rocca (dir.), Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, Edizioni Paoline, Roma, vol. V, 1978, col. 1185.
  16. ^ Giancarlo Rocca (dir.), Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, Edizioni Paoline, Roma, vol. V, 1978, col. 1185.

External links

Apostolic poverty

Apostolic poverty is a Christian doctrine professed in the thirteenth century by the newly formed religious orders, known as the mendicant orders, in direct response to calls for reform in the Roman Catholic Church. In this, these orders attempted to live their lives without ownership of lands or accumulation of money, following the precepts given to the seventy disciples in the Gospel of Luke (10:1-24), and succeeding to varying degrees. The ascetic Pope Paschal II's solution of the Investiture Controversy in his radical Concordat of 1111 with the Emperor, repudiated by the cardinals, was that the ecclesiastics of Germany should surrender to the imperial crown their fiefs and secular offices. Paschal proved to be the last of the Gregorianist popes.

The provocative doctrine was a challenge to the wealth of the church and the concerns about ensuing corruption it brought: rejected by the hierarchy of the Church, it found sympathetic audiences among the disaffected poor of the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries.The doctrine of apostolic poverty was condemned as heresy in 1323, but it continued to be a source of debate.

Augustinian Recollect Province of Saint Ezequiél Moreno

The Augustinian Recollect Province of Saint Ezequiél Moreno is a division of the Order of Augustinian Recollects that has jurisdiction over the Philippines, Taiwan and Sierra Leone. It officially separated from the Province of Saint Nicholas de Tolentine on 28 November 1998. Today, the Provincialate House is located at the San Nicolas De Tolentino Parish Church on Neptune Street, Congressional Subdivision, Project 6, Quezon City.

Augustinian nuns

Augustinian nuns are the most ancient and continuous segment of the Roman Catholic Augustinian religious order under the canons of contemporary historical method. The Augustinian nuns, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo (died AD 430), are several Roman Catholic enclosed monastic orders of women living according to a guide to religious life known as the Rule of St. Augustine. Prominent Augustinian nuns include Italian composer Vittoria Aleotti, Italian mystic St. Clare of Montefalco, German mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich and St. Rita of Cascia.


The term Augustinians, named after Augustine of Hippo (354–430), applies to two distinct types of Catholic religious orders, dating back to the first millennium but formally created in the 13th century, and some Anglican religious orders, created in the 19th century, though technically there is no "Order of St. Augustine" in Anglicanism. Within Anglicanism the Rule of St. Augustine is followed only by women, who form several different communities of Augustinian nuns in the Anglican Communion.

Within Roman Catholicism, Augustinians may be members of either one of two separate and distinct types of Order:

Several mendicant Orders of friars, who lived a mixed religious life of contemplation and apostolic ministry and follow the Rule of St. Augustine, a brief document providing guidelines for living in a religious community. The largest and most familiar, originally known as the Hermits of St. Augustine (OESA; Ordo Eremitarum sancti Augustini) and also known as the Austin friars in England, is now simply referred to as the Order of St. Augustine (OSA). Two other Orders, the Order of Augustinian Recollects and the Discalced Augustinians, were once part of the Augustinian Order under a single Prior General. The Recollect friars, founded in 1588 as a reform movement of the Augustinian friars in Spain, became autonomous in 1612 with their first Prior General, Enrique de la Sagrada. The Discalced friars became an independent congregation with their own Prior General in 1592, and were raised to the status of a separate mendicant order in 1610.

Various congregations of clerics known as Canons Regular who also follow the Rule of St. Augustine, embrace the evangelical counsels and lead a semi-monastic life, while remaining committed to pastoral care appropriate to their primary vocation as priests. They generally form one large community which might serve parishes in the vicinity, and are organized into autonomous congregations, which normally are distinct by region.

Bartolomea Riccoboni

Bartolomea Riccoboni (ca 1369-1440) was a Dominican nun in the convent of Corpus Domini in Venice. She wrote a chronicle of the convent, and a necrology. She has been studied as a good example of the beginnings of women's writings in the late medieval mendicant orders. In addition to matters relating to her own convent, she records the events of the Papal Schism, in which she is an adherent of Gregory XII.

Brother (disambiguation)

A brother is a male sibling.

Brother may also refer to:

Brother (Christian), a member of a Christian religious order

Friar, a member of one of the mendicant orders

Brother, a title usually preceding a surname as a way to address a male parishioner in some Protestant and Latter Day Saint church settings

Brother, a member of a fraternity

Brother, a term of address for a male member of the Rainbow Family

Brother Industries, a Japanese manufacturing company

Brother (manga), a Japanese manga

Brother Island, various islands around the world

Discalced Augustinians

The Order of Discalced Augustinians (Latin: Ordo Augustiniensium Discalceatorum) (Italian: Ordine degli agostiniani scalzi) was a reform movement of Roman Catholic religious orders, which occurred as part of the Counterreformation developing in Catholic Europe, also found sympathy among the friars of the Augustinian Order. As the order to which Martin Luther belonged, there was a special interest among them in the theological debates of the day, as well as a need to return to the roots of their way of life.

In an effort to seek a more simple and spiritual life, various friars banded together and followed a pattern seen in other mendicant orders, in which simplicity of dress and a stricter form of a life of prayer and penance were embraced. Among the Augustinians, there also was an effort to return to the eremetical origins of their Order. As with the Carmelite reform of the same period, these friars came to be known by their practice of wearing sandals, as opposed to shoes (thus the term discalced or barefoot), in an effort to live more like the poor.

This reform was approved by the 100th General Chapter of the Augustinian friars, which was held during May 1592 at the Friary of St. Augustine in Rome, motherhouse of the entire Order. The new branch which thus developed was approved by the Vatican as a separate Order in 1610.Their current motherhouse is in Rome. As of 2012, they numbered 220 friars, of which 139 were priests, and served at 33 parishes located in Italy, Brazil and the Philippines. They use the postnominal initials of O.A.D. to identify themselves.

Discalced Mercedarians

The Discalced Mercedarians (Latin: Ordo Frati Excalceatorum de B.M.V. de Mercede; Spanish: Orden de Descalzos de Nuestra Señora de la Merced) are members of a mendicant order, which is a reform branch which developed in the 17th century of the Mercedarian Order, founded in the 12th century primarily to assist Christians who had been taken prisoner by Muslim armies or pirates. They use the postnominal initials O.M.D.


A friar is a brother member of one of the mendicant orders founded in the twelfth or thirteenth century; the term distinguishes the mendicants' itinerant apostolic character, exercised broadly under the jurisdiction of a superior general, from the older monastic orders' allegiance to a single monastery formalized by their vow of stability. The most significant orders of friars are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians and Carmelites.

Jack Upland

Jack Upland or Jack up Lande (c. 1389–96?) is a polemical, probably Lollard, literary work which can be seen as a "sequel" to Piers Plowman, with Antichrist attacking Christians through corrupt confession. Jack asks a "flattering friar" (cf. Piers Plowman's "Friar Flatterer") nearly seventy questions attacking the mendicant orders and exposing their distance from scriptural truth.

Two extant works respond to Jack's questions: Responsiones ad Questiones LXV (before 1396) and Friar Daw's Reply (Digby 41, c. 1420). The latter text blasts John Wycliffe as one of history's major heretics. Responding to Friar Daw, an unknown author wrote Upland's Rejoinder, which survives in Digby 41, in the margins surrounding Friar Daw's Reply. Upland's Rejoinder intensifies the level of invective: Daw is said to recruit the young sons of true-living plowmen to become (paradoxically) "worldly beggars," apostates against true rule, and sodomites.

Jack Upland was printed by itself in an octavo edition c. 1536–40 by John Gough (STC 5098). John Foxe's Acts and Monuments (1563, 1570) reprinted Jack Upland and attributed it to Geoffrey Chaucer. Thomas Speght's 1602 edition of Chaucer's Works (STC 5080) included Jack Upland.


A mendicant (from Latin: mendicans, "begging") is one who practices mendicancy (begging) and relies chiefly or exclusively on charitable donations to survive. In principle, mendicant religious orders do not own property, either individually or collectively, and members have taken a vow of poverty, in order that all their time and energy could be expended on practicing or preaching and serving the poor. It is a form of asceticism.

Many religious orders adhere to a mendicant way of life, including the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some Sufi dervishes of Islam, and the monastic orders of Jainism and Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food while they preached to the villages.

While mendicants are the original type of monks in Buddhism and have a long history in Indian Hinduism and the countries which adapted Indian religious traditions, they did not become widespread in Christianity until the High Middle Ages. The Way of a Pilgrim depicts the life of an Eastern Christian mendicant.

Minim (religious order)

The Minims (also called the Minimi or Order of Minims, abbreviated O.M.) are members of a Roman Catholic religious order of friars founded by Saint Francis of Paola in fifteenth-century Italy. The Order soon spread to France, Germany and Spain, and continues to exist today.

Like the other mendicant Orders, there are three separate components, or Orders, of the movement: the friars, contemplative nuns and a Third Order of laypeople who live in the spirit of the Order in their daily lives. At present there are only two fraternities of the Minim tertiaries; both are in Italy.

Order of Augustinian Recollects

The Order of Augustinian Recollects (O.A.R.), whose members are known as Augustinian Recollects, is a mendicant Catholic religious order of friars and nuns. It is a reformist offshoot from the Augustinian hermit friars and follows the same Rule of St. Augustine.

Religious community

A religious community is a community (group of people) who practice the same religion. The term is used in a wider sense and a different narrower sense. People who define themselves as having a particular religion are considered to be members of the religion's community.

In the wider sense, the term is used to refer to members of one religion who may live in groups, or near or intermingled with members of other religions. Community members may mix with others in everyday life, but worship separately, typically in a dedicated temple such as a church or mosque. One might speak of the Catholic community of Belfast (a city), or the Jewish community of France (a country). In other cases, a person must be formally accepted by community authorities to become acknowledged as a member. In Israel only couples both from the same officially recognized religious community may marry.

The term is also used in a different, narrower sense to mean a group of people of the same religion living together specifically for religious purposes, often subject to formal commitments such as religious vows, as in a monastery.

Second order (religious)

When referring to Roman Catholic religious orders, the term Second Order refers to those Orders of cloistered nuns which are a part of the mendicant Orders that developed in the Middle Ages.

Servite Order

The Servite Order is one of the five original Catholic mendicant orders. Its objectives are the sanctification of its members, preaching the Gospel, and the propagation of devotion to the Mother of God, with special reference to her sorrows. The members of the Order use O.S.M. (Ordo Servorum Beatae Mariae Virginis) as their post-nominal letters. The male members are known as Servite Friars or Servants of Mary.

The Order of Servants of Mary (The Servites) religious family includes friars (priests and brothers), contemplative nuns, a congregation of active religious sisters, and lay groups.

Society of Saint Augustine

The Society of Saint Augustine (Societas Sancti Augustini), also known as the "Augustinians of Kansas" is a Roman Catholic Institute of Consecrated Life which takes as its pattern of living, the way of life delineated in the Rule of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The community was founded on October 16, 1981 in Amarillo, Texas by four Augustinian Recollects (Friars from the Order of Augustinian Recollects). They were later joined later by two Augustinians; (Friars formerly from the Order of Saint Augustine.) As an Augustinian community, The Society of Saint Augustine is composed of priests, religious brothers and lay people. It is rooted in the Augustinian Recollect tradition but differs somewhat from many other Augustinian Communities in that it places great emphasis on the inclusion and involvement of the laity (lay persons) in the life and ministry of the community. Wherever a Community house is established, great emphasis is placed on extending Augustinian spirituality. Lay "Affiliates" take part in Communal activities and regular formation. These "Affiliates" are invited to join the friars in Daily Offices, communal events—and even in the apostolate, where appropriate. In turn, they extend Augustinian spirituality by their lives.

The members of the community are committed to living a traditional mendicant Augustinian Religious life, based on meditation / recollection, community prayer. Members wear the traditional religious Habit consisting of a black (or White) mendicant tunic, black leather cincture, scapular and capuce. Over this they wear a silver Augustinian Cross. Members may also wear the Rosary. They celebrate the daily Divine Office or "Liturgy of the Hours"; practice a simplicity of life and are to be faithful to the Rule of Saint Augustine. Drawing from the various reform movements in the Augustinian Tradition (the Spanish Recollection, The Observantine Congregation of the Augustinian Order, etc.,) the Society of Saint Augustine seeks to authentically adapt traditional Augustinian Religious Life to the contemporary needs of Society.

The community transferred to the Archdiocese of Kansas City in 1997 when it was invited by Archbishop James P. Keleher to minister in that diocese. While fostering the "active/contemplative" dimension of Augustinian Religious Life, the Society of Augustine involves itself in a broad spectrum of ministries, including parochial and pastoral care, adult catechesis, Hispanic ministry, teaching, direction of retreats and military chaplaincy. The community also places great emphasis on "pro-life" issues.

Presently, this community of reform Friars has two houses: Villa Saint Augustine, in Kansas City (which serves as the Administrative Center for the Community), and Villa Ostia, a retreat house in up-state New York. In April 2009, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City entrusted two parishes to their care: Holy Family Parish, St. Mary-St. Anthony Parish. (St. Anthony Parish had formerly been entrusted to Franciscan Friars who had left some time ago.)

The Religious Sisters 'affiliated' with the Society, while sharing in the charism of the community, are governed separately from the Friars. Presently, the Augustinian Recollect Sisters of our Lady of Consolation, have one convent in Topeka, Kansas.

Superior general

A Superior General or General Superior is the leader or head of a religious institute in the Roman Catholic Church. The Superior General usually holds supreme executive authority in the religious order, while the general chapter has legislative authority.The figure of Superior General first emerged in the thirteenth century with the development of the centralized government of the Mendicant Orders. The Friars Minor (Franciscans) organized their community under a Minister General, and the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) appointed a Master General.Due to restrictions on women religious, especially the obligation of cloister for nuns, congregations of women were not initially able to organize with their own Superior General. In 1609, Mary Ward was the superior general of a religious institute that imitated the Jesuit model, but the institute was not accepted by the Roman Curia. It was in the nineteenth century that religious congregations of women were able to organize with a General Superior and the role is now very common. Mother Teresa, for example, was the Mother General of the Missionaries of Charity. Following the Second Vatican Council women religious formed the International Union of Superiors General.

In canon law, the generic term Supreme Moderator is used instead of Superior General. Many orders and congregations use their own title for the person who holds this position. Some examples are:

Abbot general


Master general

Minister General

Mother General

Prior General

Rector general

General Director / DirectressIn many cases there is an intermediate level between the Superior General and the superior of the individual monasteries or of equivalent communities, often named the provincial superior.

Trinitarian Order

The Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives (Latin: Ordo Sanctissimae Trinitatis et captivorum), also known as the Order of the Most Holy Trinity or the Trinitarians, is a Catholic religious order founded in Cerfroid, outside Paris, in late 12th century. From the very outset, a special dedication to the mystery of the Holy Trinity has been a constitutive element of the order's life.

Papal documents refer to the founder only as Brother John, but tradition identifies him as Saint John de Matha, whose feast day is celebrated on 17 December. The founding-intention for the order was the ransom of Christians held captive by Muslims, a consequence of crusading and of pirating along the Mediterranean coast of Europe. The Order has the initials "O.SS.T." Its distinctive cross of red and blue can be traced to its beginnings.


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