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Capuchins(kăp`yo͞ochĭnz) [Ital.,=hooded ones], Roman Catholic religious order of friars, one of the independent orders of FranciscansFranciscans
, members of several Roman Catholic religious orders following the rule of St. Francis (approved by Honorius III, 1223). There are now three organizations of Franciscan friars: the Friars Minor [Lat. abbr., O.F.M.
..... Click the link for more information. , officially the Friars Minor Capuchin [Lat. abbr., O.M.Cap.]. The order was founded (1525–28) in central Italy as a reform within the Observants, led by Matteo di Bascio. It is one of the largest orders. Born, like the Jesuits, at the beginning of the Counter Reformation, the Capuchins became a major force in church activity, especially in preaching and in missions. With the Jesuits they did much to revive Catholicism in the parts of Europe where Protestantism had prevailed. The Capuchins have been very important in foreign missions; they were early arrivals in French Canada.
See study by Father Cuthbert (1928, repr. 1971).
Catholic monastic order founded as a branch of the Franciscan order in 1525 in Italy.
The order received its name because of the pointed hood (capuccio) sewn to the cassock of coarse cloth that the monks wore. The founder of the Capuchins was the Franciscan monk Matteo da Bascio, who strove to restore the ascetic character of the early Franciscan communities. The rule of the Capuchins was approved by Pope Clement VII in 1528 or 1529. They were confirmed as an independent order by Pope Paul V in 1619. During the 16th and 17th centuries the order spread throughout a number of countries in Western Europe. The Capuchins played a large role in the Counter-Reformation. Their primary goal was to strengthen the influence of Catholicism on the popular masses.
Even today the Capuchins remain a bastion of clericalism. By1972 there were approximately 14, 000 Capuchin monks; theorder of Capuchinesses, founded in the 16th century, numberedabout 2, 500 nuns.