The Franciscan Order is a mendicant Christian order practicing voluntary poverty that emerged in Italy at the start of the 13th century. Its model of voluntary poverty was based on an interpretation of the poverty undertaken by Christ and the apostles known as apostolic poverty. The order was founded by Giovanni Bernardone, known as Saint Francis, a wealthy cloth merchant who renounced his possessions to lead a life of poverty. Legends of Saint Francis are important to the collective identity of the order. The order includes the lesser brothers, the Poor Clares (female members), and the Third Order, or tertiaries (lay members). There have been many interpretations of the meanings and uses of Franciscan poverty during the long history of the order.

Franciscan poverty had a ...

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