The Order of Friars Minor Conventual is a religious community founded by St. Francis of Assisi under the name of Friars Minor. From its earliest times the word conventual was added to this name. The members of the Order are called Friars Minor Conventual.
From its foundation our community, by the will of our Father St. Francis, is a true fraternity. Its members, therefore, as brothers of a single family, share in the life and work of the community, each according to his own circumstances. They have equal rights and obligations, except in those matters pertaining to holy orders. Our Order, however, is classified by the Church as clerical. St. Francis wanted his brothers to be known as Friars Minor "so that… from the very name itself his disciples might realize that they had come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility". Our friars are united in a conventual fraternity, in the proper sense of that term, so as to foster greater dedication, a more regular life, a more fervent divine office, a better formation of candidates, the study of theology, and the other works of the apostolate in the service of the Church of God so that, especially under the guidance of Mary Immaculate, the Kingdom of Christ may be extended throughout the world. In the Order, contemplative life is intimately linked to apostolic activity. The apostolate of sacred orders is exercised through the ministry of clerical friars with the cooperation of the others. For the common good of the Lord's flock the entire Order and each friar is immediately subject to the Supreme Pontiff.
The Order is founded on religious profession by which the friars commit themselves to the gospel life of perfect charity, not simply in using the ordinary means of sanctification but by the public vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity by which they are consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church; and by the observance of common life and the Rule and Constitutions, according to the spirit of the Seraphic Order. Friars are definitively incorporated into the Order by their profession of solemn vows.
Special ways of promoting the Franciscan spirit:
a) loving God, the supreme good whose loving plan is to restore all things in Christ, with undivided heart;
b) conforming oneself to the same Christ the Lord from whom every grace flows as from its source and head, by realizing His mysteries in one's own life, in union with Mary, the Immaculate Mother of God, and with the whole Church;
c) likewise, loving all people by proclaiming and promoting peace, brotherly love, and the kingdom of Christ among them;
d) and, finally, while living in the world, serving the Lord in poverty, humility, simplicity, and gladness of heart.
By their profession of the vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity, the friars:
a) dedicate themselves directly and entirely to God in a special manner;
b) are conformed more exactly to the type of life Christ the Lord chose for Himself and are united in a special way to the Church and her saving mission;
c) stimulate the fervor of their charity through a fuller expression of their baptismal consecration, progress in the life of pilgrims and penitents, and voluntarily deny themselves goods otherwise highly esteemed.
The Rule or form of life of the Friars Minor confirmed by Honorius III and interpreted by successive Popes is the fundamental law of the whole Order from which, therefore, the friars should draw inspiration and to which they should conform their lives. The friars should strive to observe the Rule, Constitutions, and statutes as the obligation contracted at religious profession requires, principally out of love for evangelical perfection according to the spirit of the Order.
The Order is divided into provinces to which friars are affiliated. Provinces are formed from friaries or communities in which friars are stationed de familia General and provincial custodies are considered similar to provinces according to the norms of the Constitutions.