The Order of Friar Minors Conventual, commonly known as the Conventual Franciscan Friars are one of the three branches of the First Order of St. Francis. The word Conventual derived from the Latin convenire, means “to come together”; thus we live together in friaries. The Order of friars Minor Conventual was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the XIII century. From its humble beginning, the Order has continued to attract faithful disciples from all over the world. Currently, there are about 4500 priests and brothers who share a common name of Friars.
In Africa, we are present in seven countries, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burkina Faso and Malawi. Our presence in Kenya began in Ruiri, Meru Diocese in 1984 when Missionaries from the Province of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe in Gdansk, Poland responded to the request of Bishop Emeritus, Rt. Rev. Silas Njiro to open up a mission in his diocese. As a result of our growth in Kenya, we currently have five friaries:
- St. Maximilian M. Kolbe Friary in Ruiri, Meru
- St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Limuru
- St. Bonaventure Friary in Nairobi
- St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Nairobi
- Mary Mother of God Friary in Subukia
In the year 2004, we became a separate jurisdiction, called Provincial Custody (or Vice Province) with the official name of The Provincial Custody of St. Francis of Assisi in Kenya.
In Kenya we serve the people through different ways of apostolate ranging from, working in the parishes, formation houses, spiritual centre, printing press, dispensaries, children’s homes, and publishing the magazine of Messenger of Mary Immaculate.
We live a fraternal life irrespective of our colour, race or countries of origin, sharing the love of God as true witnesses of the Gospel life. Besides our apostolate, we witness the risen Lord by our way of life. Just like the poor and humble Christ, and sons of Saint Francis, our aim is to be close to the people of God radiating God’s love to all those whom we serve.
We fulfill the command of Christ, who by word and deed taught his disciples to pray always. By loving God, the highest good, we friars are earnestly moved by the example and words of our Seraphic Father to direct our hearts to the Father, who “created and formed us in the flesh according to the image of His beloved Son and in the spirit according to His likeness”, and to pray to the same Father. In this respect, our life is centered on prayer. We begin each day by participating communally in the Holy Eucharist where we draw the strength to live each day meditating on the Holy mysteries of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the love of our Mother, Mary Immaculate.
Saint Francis of Assisi is the Patron of our Custody. By his holy life, he has inspired us to live authentic life following Christ in his footsteps. That is, to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without anything of our own and in chastity. This is what he wrote in the rule of life. This is our life.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
(Num 6, 24-26)