FIOR (Franciscan Institute Outreach - Malta)

7. History of the Franciscan Movement (3)

3) Houses of Recollection

7.18. It is an interesting fact that every reform in the long history of the Franciscan Order was born in the environment of small hermitages. It was a kind of return to the humble beginnings, according to the simple form of life which Francis wrote for those Brothers living in hermitages. We have already noted this phenomenon in the case of the Spirituals, the first Observants, the Spanish Franciscan reformers, and the Capuchins. During the 16th century, we notice a similar trend even within the Observant family, with the establishment of "houses of recollection" within the Provinces, in which friars could live the Rule in its simplicity and remain united with their religious family.

7.19. In Spain the "houses of recollection" began in 1502. In 1523 the Minister General Quinones gave them special statutes, to ensure that they remained under the obedience of their respective Ministers. In Italy the Minister General Lichetto favoured houses of recollection. It was in these houses that the reforms within and outside the Observance were born. We have already referred to the Capuchin reform. We shall now turn to the other reforms within the Observant family, born as a result of the Franciscan experience in these houses of recollection in Italy (where they became known as "ritiri"), Spain and France.

© copyright FIOR-Malta
Text by Fr. Noel Muscat ofm


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