About the Friars
The Friars of the St. Barbara Province
"Those who embraced this life gave everything they had to the poor. They were satisfied with one habit which was patched inside and out, with a cord and trousers..."
--The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi
Franciscan friars first came to the U.S. west coast in 1769 with the arrival of Blessed Junípero Serra in Alta California. Franciscan friars from Mexico and Spain continued Fr. Serra's work, establishing a total of twenty-one missions from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay region. In 1872, friars from Germany (via St. Louis, Missouri) arrived in California and founded a number of rural and urban parishes. By 1915, the Province of St. Barbara had been formally established by the Franciscan Order.
Today, 180 Franciscan friars--from many different cultures and backgrounds--are members of our province. We are hopeful, dynamic (by the Holy Spirit), prayerful and dedicated to living the Gospel by following the example of Jesus. We typically have about 15 men in formation as simply professed friars, novices, and candidates. In addition, a number of solemnly professed from other provinces live and work with us.
Together with the whole Franciscan family, we are challenged to adapt ourselves to a rapidly changing church and world while remaining true to the spirit of our founder, St. Francis. Like his original followers, Franciscans today are called to be persons of prayer involved in a variety of ministries. Our charism is not to any specific task in the Church. Rather, it is to be brothers among ourselves, to all people, and to all of God's creation.
Our General Constitutions tell us: With the love of God poured out into their hearts by the Holy Spirit, all brothers should promote continually a family spirit and friendly relationships, especially among themselves. They should be courteous and cheerful and develop all the other virtues. Thus, they can continually encourage one another to be men of hope, peace, and happiness. United in true brotherhood, they should reach a maturity that is fully human, Christian and religious. (GC, 39)
Every brother is a gift given by God to the brotherhood. Brothers differ in temperament, cultural background, customs, abilities, gifts and specific traits. They should accept each other as they are and as equals. The whole fraternity then becomes the privileged place for encountering God. (GC, 40)