>> The Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B. V. M. in Romania << 

According to tradition, the Order of Friars Minor has been present in the region of Romania since the Franciscan Order first began to expand, that is, during the life of St. Francis of Assisi himself.
The first official document to attest to a Franciscan presence in this area is the papal bull Cum hora undecima (June 11, 1239), issued by Pope Gregory IX, in which he asks the Franciscans to go on a mission to the Bulgarian, Wallachian and Cumani peoples. A particular turning point came when the Prefects of the Mission to Romania, who resided in Constantinople because they were also Ministers Provincial of the Eastern and Latin Patriarchal Vicariates, were made to reside in Romania starting in 1650.
In modern Romania, the first law to recognize religious Orders as legal entities was the “Law of Cults” of 1928. Under article 17 of the “Law for the Ratification of the Concordat between the Romanian State and the Holy See” (June 12, 1929), the state recognized the juridical personhood of Catholic Religious Orders and Congregations, but only if their members were Romanian and their Provincial Superiors lived in the country. Unfortunately, the Decree-Law No. 176 of August 3, 1948, suppressed religious Orders in Romania, including the Conventual Franciscan Province of St. Joseph in Moldova. Many religious were arrested and sentenced to years in prison. Conventual Franciscan priests continued to work as parish priests in diocesan parishes until 1990, the year in which the Province was reopened and reorganized under the guidance of Friar Gheorghe PĂTRAȘCU, who led the underground Province, and through the laborious initiative of other friars who were still living, with the approval of the ecclesiastical authorities. The Diocese of Iași returned several parish communities to the friars, namely, the parishes in Luizi-Călugăra, Prăjești, Târgu Trotuș, Galați, Huși and Hălăucești, and later, the parishes in Buruienești and Nisiporești. However, four parishes that belonged to the friars before 1948, were not returned, namely, the parishes in Bacău, Fărăoani, Săbăoani and și Adjudeni. The rebuilding of the Order’s formation institutions began in Nisiporești, with the Pastor Friar Petru ALBERT, who opened a Pre-Theological School. In May of 1990, he enrolled a class of sixty young men, to prepare them for entry into the Order. In the fall of that year, the first class of novices preparing for simple vows was inaugurated in Luizi-Călugăra. In 1991, some members of the first group of friars to profess vows were sent to study abroad.
After its reopening in 1990, the Province of Romania sent many of its students to various colleges in Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and elsewhere. Some who studied abroad remained in those countries and ended up serving as members of the Conventual Franciscan or diocesan clergy there. The similarities between the Romanian and Italian languages also fostered the desire to do pastoral ministry in Italy, and inspired by that culture, to serve in the missions of the East and later, in England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, the United States, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and elsewhere.
In 2001, the Province of Romania was entrusted with the pastoral care of the Marian Shrine in Cacica, Romania. In 2002, a Conventual Franciscan presence was established in Părâul Rece, Romania. Today it is a novitiate and a spiritual retreat center. In 2005-2006, the current Provincial Curia was built in Bacău, Romania. In 2006, the Sf. Anton de Padova Friary and the Pacea Social Center in Roman, Romania were built. In 2006, a presence was established in Bucharest [Bucureşti], the capital of Romania. Today it is a friary with a charismatic profile, the friars serve as confessors in the cathedral, but above all they work with the people on the streets. In 2008, a mission friary was erected in Râșcani, Republic of Moldova (currently suppressed). In 2009, friaries were erected in Negrești Oaș and Chișineu-Criș, in the Transylvania region of Romania. The Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land has belonged to the Province of Romania since 2010.

Today, the Jurisdiction has two hundred and twenty-one solemnly professed friars, nine simply professed friars, twenty-four friaries, three filial houses, and one missionary house.

Presences in Romania:
BACǍU – Sf. Iosif soţul Preacuratei Fecioare Maria Friary and Provincial Curia
BUCUREŞTI – Sf. Bonaventura Friary
BURUIENEŞTI – Sf. Iosif Muncitorul Friary
CACICA – Regina Sf. Rozariu Friary
CAREI – Sf. Anton de Padova Friary (temporarily suppressed)
CHIȘINĂU CRIȘ – Adormirea Maicii Domnului Friary
GALAŢI – Naşterea Sf. Ioan Botezătorul Friary
HǍLǍUCEŞTI – Naşterea Sf. Fecioare Maria Friary
HUŞI – Naşterea Sf. Fecioare Maria Friary
LUIZI CǍLUGǍRA – Sf. Andrei Apostol Friary
NISIPOREŞTI – Adormirea Maicii Domnului Friary
ORADEA – Maica Domnului Friary
PÂRÂUL RECE – Sf. Treime Friary
PRǍJEŞTI – Preasfânta Treime Friary
ROMAN – Sf. Francisc de Assisi Friary
ROMAN – Sf. Anton de Padova Friary
TÂRGU TROTUŞ – Trupul şi Sângele Domnului Friary
VIIŞOARA – Maica Unității Filial House
ARAD – Sf. Anton de Padova Friary
BAIA MARE – Sf. Francisc Mission House
CREVEDIA – Sf. Iosif, Muncitorul Filial House (suppressed)

Presence in the Republic of Moldova:
RÂŞCANI – Sf. Francisc de Assisi Filial House (suppressed)

Presences in Italy:
L’AQUILA – San Pio X Friary
CAMPOBASSO – San Pietro, Apostolo Friary
TIRRENIA – San Francesco Friary

Presences in Germany:
GRABENSTÄT – Sf. Maximilian Friary
CHIEMING – Adormirea Maicii Domnului Friary
HAAR – Sf. Conrad din Parzham Friary

Franciscan Missionary Center
General Secretariat for Missionary Animation