Friars Minor, Gray Friars, Grey Friars, OFMGeneral Information
The Franciscans are members of a religious order that follows the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi. The first Franciscans, called the Order of Friars Minor, followed an ideal of total poverty; they possessed nothing in common or individually. Forbidden to accept money, they lived from day to day by working and begging. When they began studying and living at universities, however, they had to modify their strict ideal of poverty. By the time Saint Francis died (1226), the order had spread from Italy to England, the Holy Land, and all of Europe. The friars were known as the people's preachers. They wore a gray tunic with a white cord at the waist; hence, their English name Grey Friars.