The Capuchins form the youngest branch of the Order of Friars Minor and dates back to 1525, when some Franciscans were inspired to live a stricter life of prayer and poverty which was closer to the original intentions of St. Francis of Assisi. The reform received early recognition and grew fast first in Italy then all aover Europe since 1574. The Order now serves in 101 countries, counting around 11,000 brothers living in more than 1,800 fraternities. Simplicity, closeness to the people, and a fraternal spirit in their apostolate are clear visible signs that mark their lifestyle while emphasizing the importance of prayer and conversion.
They live in fraternity, pray personally and in community, share meals together, help each other to grow just like in a family. The communities, called fraternities, are joyful and hospitable places.
The Vicariate of Arabia
The Capuchins presence in the Gulf of Arabia dates back to 1851. The Mission was entrusted to the care of the Ethiopian Capuchins in 1857. In 1888, the Mission of Aden, started in 1840 by the first missionaries to Arabia, was raised to the status of an Apostolic Vicariate and entrusted to the Province of Lyon. The following year on June 28th, 1889, the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia was founded.
The General Statutes
The General statutes came to be from the work of the franciscan brother later known as St. Bonaventure. St. Bonaventure, learned and zealous religious, devoted all his energy to the government of the franciscan order. He laboured earnestly to secure the exact observance of the rule. In accordance with the rule, he held a general chapter every three years: at Narbonne in 1260, at Pisa in 1263, at Paris in 1266, at Assisi in 1269, and at Lyons in 1274, on the occasion of the general council. He made most of the visitations to the different convents in person, and was a zealous preacher. The Chapter of Narbonne (1260) promulgated the statutes of the order known as the "Constitutiones Narbonenses", the letter and spirit of which exercised a deep and enduring influence on the Franciscan Order. Although the entire code did not remain long in force, many of the provisions were retained and served as a model for the later constitutions.