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.

J Bourdichon 1507 Sanctus Francescus de Paula
Francis of Paola (1416–1507), founder of the Order of Minims


The founder of the Order, Saint Francis of Paola, was born in 1416 and named in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. The boy became ill when he was only one month old, and his mother prayed to St. Francis and promised that her son would spend a year in a Franciscan friary if he were healed. Her prayer was granted, and at 13 years of age Francis fulfilled that votive year. After this year he dedicated himself to a life of solitude and penance as a hermit.[1]

In 1435, two followers joined Francis and began the community, which was first called the "Poor Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi." Francis and his followers founded hermitages at Paterno in 1444 and Milazzo, Sicily, in 1469. The Archbishop of Cosenza approved the group and established them as a religious order on November 30, 1470, and this approval was confirmed by Pope Sixtus IV in his bull Sedes Apostolica of May 17, 1474. At that time, the pope also changed their status from that of hermits to mendicant friars.[2]

Marin Mersenne (1588–1648)

The name Minims comes from the Italian word minimo, meaning the smallest or the least, and their founder would call himself il minimo dei minimi. Francis of Paola wanted to distinguish himself as being of even less significance than the Friars Minor founded by his patron saint. Francis composed a rule for the community in 1493, which was approved under the name of "Hermits of the Order of the Minims".[3] The definitive version of the rule was solemnly approved by Pope Julius II in the Bull Inter ceteros, July 28, 1506, who also simplified the name of the community to the Order of Minims (Latin: Ordo Minimorum).[4]

In addition to the standard three religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, the rule contains the vow of "a Lenten way of life" (Latin: vita quadragesimalis), which is considered to be the distinctive feature of the Minims.[5] This vow is for perpetual abstinence from all meat and dairy products, veganism, except in case of grave illness and by order of a physician. Because of asceticism, The Order is also discalced in character and there are other acts of humility.

The Minim habit consists of a black wool tunic, with broad sleeves, a hood, and a short scapular. It has a thick, black cord (with four knots that signify the four vows) with a tassel to gird the robe.

The Order of the Minims spread throughout Italy in the fifteenth century and was introduced to France in 1482, and later to Spain and to Germany in 1497.[6] The houses in Spain, Germany, and France were suppressed during the period following the French Revolution. By the turn of the 20th century, only 19 friaries remained, all but one of them in Italy. On December 31, 2010, the Order had 46 communities with 174 members, 112 of them priests.[7] The majority of these were in Italy, but they are also established in Cameroon, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Czech Republic, India, Mexico, Ukraine and the United States of America.[8]

Paulaner brewery

The Munich friary of the German Minims brewed beer as means of support, but after the friars were expelled, the brewery continued independently. It continues to brew the Paulaner brand of beer, which draws its name from Francis of Paola.

Notable Minim friars

Plumier Charles
Charles Plumier (1646–1704)
Louis Feuillée (1660–1732).

Notable Minim tertiaries

The Nuns

St. Francis was called to France in 1483 by King Louis XI to serve as his deathbed confessor. While he was there, the Spanish ambassador, Don Pedro de Lucena, who was a very pious man, grew to know and admire him. He sent reports of the holy friar to his family back in Jaén. His daughter, Elena, and her two daughters, Maria and Francisca, felt so inspired by Don Pedro's reports, they wanted to dedicate themselves to the way of life Francis had established. Through the ambassador, they communicated their interest to the saint, and asked for a rule of life which they might follow. St. Francis welcomed their request heartily, and, to this end, he adapted the rule of the friars for them to live as cloistered nuns.[5]

Don Pedro donated a portion of his estate to the young women, and there they formed a small monastic community. They received the Minim religious habit from a Friar Lionet on June 11, 1495, and established the Monastery of Jesus and Mary. This was first and remains the oldest monastery of the Minim nuns. Francisca was elected as the first corrector (religious superior) of the community. She spent many years as the corrector of the monastery, gaining a reputation for holiness, and is today honored as Blessed Francisca. Their proper rule was approved by the Holy See in 1506, at the same time as that of the friars.[10]

The Federation of Minim Nuns of Saint Francis of Paola includes 14 monasteries in Spain, Italy, Mexico, and the Philippines.[11]

Notable Minim Nuns

A new community was established in Barcelona on Easter 1623. In 1936, the 25 members of the community in Barcelona were arrested by soldiers of the Republic of Spain. Charged with treason, nine choir nuns and an extern Sister were executed on July 23. They were beatified by Pope Francis on October 13, 2013, and are commemorated on July 23.[12]

  • Blessed Josefa Pilar García Solanas (María Montserrat)
  • Blessed Ramona Ors Torrents (Margarida d’Alacoque Of Saint Raymond)
  • Blessed Dolors Vilaseca Gallego (Maria de l’Assumpciò)
  • Blessed Mercè Mestre Trinché (Maria Mercè)
  • Blessed Vicenta Jordá Martí (María de Jesús)
  • Blessed Josepa Panyella Doménech (Josepa of the Heart of Mary)
  • Blessed Teresa Ríus Casas (Trinitat)
  • Blessed Maria Montserrat Ors Molist (Enriqueta)
  • Blessed Ana Ballesta Gelmá (Filomena of Saint Francis de Paola)
  • Blessed Lucrecia García Solanas

The Minim Daughters of Mary Immaculate is a separate institute founded in 1867 in Guanajuanto, Mexico, by Venerable Pablo de Anda Padilla. The sisters work in schools and medical centers in Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Rome, and Nogales, Arizona.[13]


  1. ^ A.M. Galuzzi, Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione, vol. IV (1977), col. 528.
  2. ^ A.M. Galuzzi, Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione, vol. V (1978), col. 1356.
  3. ^ A.M. Galuzzi, Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione, vol. V (1978), col. 1358.
  4. ^ A.M. Galuzzi, Dizionario degli istituti di perfezione, vol. V (1978), col. 1359.
  5. ^ a b Currier, Charles Warren. History of religious orders, Murphy, 1898
  6. ^ Oliger, Livarius. "Minimi." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 27 April 2015
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, Vatican (2011), p. 1427.
  8. ^ Website of the Order (in Italian)
  9. ^ Wooden, Cindy. "Pope, creating six new saints, uses newly abbreviated formula", Catholic News Service, November 24, 2014
  10. ^ Website of the Monastery of Jesus and Mary in Jaén, Spain (in Spanish)
  11. ^ Federacjón de Monjas Minims
  12. ^ Website of the Monastery of Jesus and Mary in Barcelona (in Spanish)
  13. ^ Wiechec, Nancy. "Mexican order has had a presence on U.S. side of border for decades", National Catholic Reporter, May 21, 2014

External links


Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary

The Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary (mfPS) is a single (one single Order, not three like the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Dominican and Franciscan Orders) Roman Catholic active/contemplative religious order distinguished by three (3) Branches: the Men's Branch for Priests and Brothers/Friars, the Women's Branch for Nuns and the Lay Branch for those of all ages and professions, including the sick, dying, and those children conceived but as yet "unborn" or "pre-born".

The Order was founded on June 24, 1942 in Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico by Reverend Mother María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary. Called the Order of Atonement/Work of Atonement/the Legion of Victim Souls, "Minims" as "Victim Souls" [whether men or women living the Religious Life or those still living in the world also called laymen or laity] live a life in keeping with their motto of "Charity and Immolation".

Those Franciscan Minims who profess public Religious vows receive a Religious habit, similar to the Franciscan Habit and the Carmelite Habit. However, the Habit of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary has the same colors of tunic and veil (or cowl for the men) as Our Lady wears in Her Icon of Perpetual Help. Our Lady wears these same colors in Icons of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and many other famous icons, paintings and statues of the Blessed Ever-Virgin Mother of God. The Minim tunic is maroon, with a blue veil (or blue cowl for the men). In Mexico City, in the 1970s, the locals nicknamed the Nuns: "Los Rojos" (the Red ones). Traditionally, this color was worn by poor Jewish women as it was an earthen color. Wealthier women wore white since they had servants and other means to maintain perfectly white cloth. In art, these colors traditionally signify both the Virginity (Red) and Motherhood (Blue) of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Order of Atonement of the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary is not related to or an offshoot of the Minim (religious order) also called the Minimi or Order of Minims, (abbreviated O.M.) who are members of a Roman Catholic religious order of Franciscan friars founded by Saint Francis of Paola

Gaspare Ricciullo del Fosso

Gaspare Ricciullo del Fosso, O.M. (1496–1592) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Reggio Calabria (1560–1592),Bishop of Calvi Risorta (1551–1560),

and Bishop of Scala (1548–1551).

Girolamo Orsaja

Girolamo Orsaja, O.M. (died 1683) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Rossano (1676–1683).

Marin Mersenne

Marin Mersenne, Marin Mersennus or le Père Mersenne (French: [mɛʀsɛn]; 8 September 1588 – 1 September 1648) was a French polymath, whose works touched a wide variety of fields. He is perhaps best known today among mathematicians for Mersenne prime numbers, those which can be written in the form Mn = 2n − 1 for some integer n. He also developed Mersenne's laws, which describe the harmonics of a vibrating string (such as may be found on guitars and pianos), and his seminal work on music theory, Harmonie universelle, for which he is referred to as the "father of acoustics". Mersenne, an ordained priest, had many contacts in the scientific world and has been called "the center of the world of science and mathematics during the first half of the 1600s" and, because of his ability to make connections between people and ideas, "the post-box of Europe". He was also a member of the Minim religious order and wrote and lectured on theology and philosophy.


Minim may refer to:

Minim (music), a note length, British English name for a half note (which usually gets two beats)

MINIM (band), an industrial rock band from Spain

Minim (unit), a small amount of fluid, essentially a standardized drop

Minim (religious order), a member of a religious order founded by St. Francis of Paula

Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary

Minim (palaeography), a short vertical stroke used in handwriting

Minim (Judaism), a Hebrew word denoting "sectarians" (e.g. Sadducees, Nazoraeans, etc.)

Minim, Martap, a village in Cameroon

Minim, in leafcutter ant colonies, member of the caste of smallest-sized workers

Mini-M, also known as Inmarsat-M, a global satellite internet, telephony and fax network operated by Inmarsat


Minimi can refer to:

FN Minimi, a belt-fed light machine gun

Minim (religious order), a religious order known as the Minimi (Minims, Order of the Minims)

Abductor minimi digiti muscle (hand), a muscle in the hand

Abductor digiti minimi muscle (foot), a muscle in the foot

and groups

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