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Catholic Dictionary




Those Franciscans who professed to observe faithfully the Rule of St. Francis approved by Pope Honorius III in 1223. The observantine movement started in Italy in 1368 and gave rise to various semi-autonomous groups like the Recollects and Alcantarines, who remained subject to the minister general of the Friars Minor. In 1898, Pope Leo XIII in the document Felicitate Quadam abolished all the distinctions, including the name Observants, and gave the Franciscan Order its original name of Friars Minor.