The General Minister, during the course of his term of service, has at his disposal the friars who work in the General Curia and in the other institutions present in Rome.
There are, in addition, seven houses other than the General Curia that are directly dependent on the General Minister. Four are located in Rome: the International College of St. Lawrence, the St. Fidelis House of Hospitality on Via Cairoli, Consolation Friary and the the House at Garbatella; and three are located outside of Rome: the friary at Frascati, our seat of ongoing formation, the fraternity of Loreto, the location of the Holy House; finally Capuchin Monastery in Jerusalem, Israel.
All these houses have their own statutes and perform different functions for the benefit of the Order and the universal Church. The friars who make up these fraternities, like that of the General Curia, come from different parts of the world.
The International College of St Lawrence of Brindisi in Rome was founded in 1908, adjacent to the General Curia in Via Boncompagni. It remained on the same site until it was transferred to its present site on the Circumferential highway around Rome (GRA), during the General Chapter of 1968.
The College is a front-rank institution of the Capuchin Order, dedicated to formation and higher education. It aims to deepen and to pass on the Capuchin Franciscan culture and to foster the formation of future generations of friars in the best possible ways. It is certainly the most numerous and multicultural fraternity in the entire Order, welcoming friars from all circumscriptions to attend the various pontifical universities in Rome. The College is composed of the students and the resident core-community.
The Capuchin Friary at Frascati
The Friary at Frascati is located in a splendid location on the Roman hills. The Province of Rome handed it over to the General Curia in 1911. From 31 May 2011 until 2016 it became the headquarters of the CIMPCap secretariat, which had moved from Rome-Garbatella to Frascati. For 5 years, the General Curia, while maintaining ownership of the Frascati friary, entrusted its responsibility to CIMPCap.
The part of the friary reserved for the accommodation and instruction of the friars has been completely renovated: 36 single rooms with bathrooms, a large recreation room and a conference room (also used for group study) have been created.
Il Convento della Consolazione has the great advantage of being located in the historical center of the city, allowing for easy reach to the various Pontifical Universities or professional offices. Despite its central location, it still maintains a peaceful environment, since it’s not adjacent to a busy thoroughfare in Rome.
The Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione is a rare case of the merger of three churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Santa Maria in Portico, Santa Maria delle Grazie and Santa Maria della Consolazione (1506). The Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione is a rare case of the merger of three churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin: Santa Maria in Portico, Santa Maria delle Grazie and Santa Maria della Consolazione (1506). Hence the presence of three crosses in the coat of arms and in other places. The Capuchin Friars have provided pastoral service here since the second half of the sixteenth century, as can be inferred from an inscription on a fresco in the small room, at half scale. Many saints of the 1500s and 1600s stayed in the hospital and at the Church: one is always reminded of St. Aloysius Gonzaga’s service to the sick and his death, for example; or the hospitalization of Caravaggio following a scuffle. From 1897 to 1947 the Roman Province of the Capuchins committed themselves there. Since 1948, the vicinity has been occupied by national facilities linked with the friars; primarily, the national TOF Center by consent of the Capuchins. Since 1967, the administration has passed to the Conference of Italian Ministers Provincial, and since January 1995, the friary has been the legal address of the CIMPCap organization. In 2001 an agreement was made between the Capuchin General Curia and the Vicariate of Rome following the canonical regularization of parish churches in the city. After a brief interlude with the government on the part of CIMPCap and the General Curia, it returned again under the General Curia of the Order at the beginning of 2015.
The Friary of Via Cairoli - also called “Friary of St. Fidelis in Urbe” and “Guesthouse” – was set up as a guest house in 1978 by the then General Minister, Br. Pascal Rywalski and his Definitory. From the beginning management has been undertaken by the Province of Milan. Its purpose is described in these terms in the agreement signed with the province: “The house is a dependency of the General Curia for all purposes and exists principally to offer hospitality to all the friars visiting Rome.” Since then, hospitality has also been extended to close relatives of the friars of the General Curia, to priests, religious and relatives of the resident fraternity of the International College.
It is important to note: This is a "Guesthouse" ONLY for THE CAPUCHINS. It is not open to the public.
The house is conveniently located close to Termini Station. It is equipped with a chapel, refectory and adjacent kitchen, reading rooms, a conference room, interior garden and about thirty bedrooms, a few of which are occupied by members of the fraternity and the rest at the disposal of guests.
The House at Garbatella
The Garbatella house in Rome has a special history. Originally a villa of Count Attilio Dario Pozzi of Rome and Countess Bulgarini of Siena, it ended up as a convent in the middle of the last century. The Pozzi family owned the entire hill on which sits the “Largo delle Sette Chiese” (Plaza of the Seven Churches), along with a further incline that leads to Via Pomponia Grecina; a hill-vineyard (the parallel rise is called Via di Vigna Pozzi) on which a villa was built based on a design by the Countess Lodovica Bulgarini d’Elci, wife of the count.
Not much is known of the family, only that the young wife of the Count died during childbirth. Raising his children alone, the count had to concede to their constant requests to sell everything "because the villa is too far from the center of town". The Count was reluctant, but eventually gave in and sold the villa and the land. The whole was purchased by the Capuchin General Curia at a favorable price, and on November 15, 1949, the Vicar General of the time, Br. Agatangelo of Langasco, presented to the family a certificate of affiliation with the Order, which is kept in the sacristy.
Upon asking the Capuchin Poor Clare Nuns of Via Piemonte to sell their monastery to the Order, the General Curia, then located on Via Sicilia, promised that a new convent at Garbatella would be built for them. However, it was necessary to subdivide the land on which buildings existed along Via Pomponia Grecina up to the area where the friary, church and Poor Clare monastery are located. In front of the house, a ground floor guest accommodation was built for relatives visiting the nuns. For several years, this was made available to the Community of St. Egidio, who opened a nursery school for the children of poor families in the neighborhood.
Initially, the chaplain for the nuns lived in the house together with a lay brother in charge of questing for them. In the 1970s, the house was refurbished as the main office for the Capuchin missionary magazine “Continenti” (once known as “Il Massaja”) and a guest house for missionaries. Later it was chosen as the headquarters of CIMPCap (at the time Br. Dino Dozzi was president) and more recently - during the renovation of the General Curia - as the residence of the Postulator for the Order.
Today four Capuchin friars live in the house: the guardian, Br. Bahlebi Idris Shekai of Eritrea; the vicar, Br. David Edvin Guerra of Guatemala, also a student at the Antonianum of Franciscan Spirituality; Br. Gerardo Gallo of Calabria, who works at the Vicariate of Rome; and Br. Egidio Picucci of the Marche. They provide spiritual assistance to the Nuns; celebrate Eucharist and hear confessions for the Disciple Sisters of the Divine Master; as well as helping out with masses and confessions in neighboring parishes. They are also called for visits to the nearby CTO hospital, where there have been several requests for assistance to the dying.
The Capuchin Friary in Loreto
In accordance with a Concordat (Art. 27) signed by the Holy See and the Italian government on February 11, 1929, the Shrine of Loreto was again placed under the immediate dependence of the Supreme Pontiff, who entrusted it to the administration of one of his delegates. Not long after, Pius XI in a handwritten document dated September 24, 1934, decreed: “It is our wish that the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin called forth by us to officiate at our Basilica and especially for the ministry of hearing confessions, establish a fully exemplary community of religious under the direction of a superior delegated by the General Minister, as befits the sanctity of the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the dignity of the Holy See.”
Br. Vigilio da Valstagna was the General Minister at the time. In the Analecta Ordinis Minorum Capuccinorum (December 15, 1934, p. 334), the official publication of the General Curia, it was stated in Latin that the offices entrusted to the Capuchins were the following: “custody, sacristy, choir, administration of the Sacrament of Penance”, in addition to the worldwide public ministry of the Holy House, already assumed in 1883. It was also specified that “the Province of the Marche, which for three centuries has won merit by its service to the shrine, is in charge of all the offices to be carried out, with the confessors of the various languages summoned from other provinces”. Finally, it was established that the General Minister, by virtue of his own authority and through his chosen delegate, maintain his charge of all the religious and their activities at the shrine. With the exception of a few slight adjustments at random, brief intervals, this legal setup has not undergone any substantial changes. Over time, however, responsibility of the shrine fell almost exclusively to the provincial of the Marche, in whose territory it is located; he thus encountered considerable difficulties providing the necessary personnel. The General Minister, Mauro Jöhri, aware of the spiritual significance of this "first international shrine dedicated to the Virgin" (John Paul II), with the consent of his Council (and through a special decree obtained in collaboration with Br. Raffaele della Torre, delegate to the Holy House) established a general fraternity in Loreto which depends directly on the Minister General of the Order, sustaining the personnel there from the over one hundred circumscriptions around the world. Meanwhile, he and Archbishop Giovanni Tonucci signed an agreement between the Pontifical Delegation and the Capuchin Order.
On March 25, 2015, the Feast of the Annunciation – a commemoration recalling the House of Nazareth, the Minister General and his Council, in a solemn liturgy presided over by Archbishop Tonucci, declared the community of Loreto as a general fraternity, including friars from eight provinces , four of which are outside of Italy.
Capuchin Presence in Jerusalem
The Talbiye district in Jerusalem, where the Capuchin Monastery is located, is very close to the old city’s center, about a 20 minute walk from the Holy Sepulcher. It features many very fine buildings, most of which were built using the typical local white stone. It is in a Jewish area, considered one of the prime areas in Jerusalem, with parks, playgrounds, walkways and places for exercise.
Today the Monastery falls directly under the care of the General Minister, and the fraternity is international. There are friars from provinces all over the world: including several provinces of India, as well as Zimbabwe, Italy and Mexico.
A few of the brothers look after the running of the center and the fraternity, others are students of Biblical studies and still others minister to Israel’s Indian migrant workers in Konkani and Malayalam.
The Monastery is also a place for ongoing formation in the Order. The General Secretary for Formation conducts a one month course in three distinct groups: one in Italian, one in Spanish and Portuguese and one in English and French.
The center of spirituality is called “I am the light of the World”. It is utilized by bishops, priests, seminarians and other religious for sabbaticals, studies, short courses and spiritual exercises. The Monastery, however, is not for pilgrim groups.
The facility has been used for recollections by the Salesian and Friars Minor students of theology, pastoral workers in Israel, African religious in Israel, Hebrew speaking Catholics, etc. The center has 26 rooms of which there are seven single rooms, eleven double, two triple and six can accommodate four occupants each; altogether there are 59 beds. All rooms are en suite (with private bath), spacious, well furnished and individually temperature controlled. The Church is spacious, beautiful, modern and combines our Jewish background with thought provoking Christian art. Within the church there is a lovely chapel where the brothers celebrate Liturgy twice daily.
The refectory can comfortably seat sixty people. The “mini” library and sitting room affords our guests ample space for discussions in smaller groups. The larger hall can hold about a hundred people.
You are most welcome to visit the Capuchins in Jerusalem, and to book your spiritual recollections, retreats, etc. Please send an email to [email protected] We hope to see you soon!