Mendicant orders are, primarily, certain Roman Catholicreligious orders that have adopted for their male members a lifestyle of poverty, traveling, and living in urban areas for purposes of preaching, evangelization, and ministry, especially to the poor. At their foundation these orders rejected the previously established monastic model. This model prescribed living in one stable, isolated community where members worked at a trade and owned property in common, including land, buildings and other wealth. By contrast, the mendicants avoided owning property at all, did not work at a trade, and embraced a poor, often itinerant lifestyle. They depended for their survival on the goodwill of the people to whom they preached. The members of these orders are not called monks but friars.
The term "mendicant" is also used with reference to some non-Christian religions to denote holy persons committed to an ascetic lifestyle, which may include members of religious orders and individual holy persons.
Main mendicant orders
The Second Council of Lyon (1274) established four main mendicant orders, created in the first half of the 13th century:
Servites – Order of Servants of Mary, founded 1233 by the Seven Holy Men of Florence, Italy. The order was suppressed by the Second Council of Lyon in 1272, on the basis of the restrictions in the decree Ne nimium of 1215; the suppression was not fully enforced and was subsequently overturned by Pope Benedict XI in his Bull, Dum levamus, of 11 February 1304.
Minims – Hermits of St. Francis of Paola, founded 1436.
Like the monastic orders, many of the mendicant orders, especially the larger ones, underwent splits and reform efforts, forming offshoots, permanent or otherwise, some of which are mentioned in the lists given above.
Former mendicant orders
Mendicant orders that formerly existed but are now extinct, and orders which for a time were classed as mendicant orders but now no longer are.
Hospitallers of San Hipólito (Saint Hippolytus) or Brothers of Charity of de San Hipólito were founded in Mexico and approved by Rome as a mendicant order in 1700. In the 18th century they were absorbed by the Brothers Hospitaller of Saint John of God.
Saccati or "Friars of the Sack" (Fratres Saccati), known also variously as Brothers of Penitence and perhaps identical with the Boni homines, Bonshommes or Bones-homes, whose history is obscure.
Crutched Friars or Fratres Cruciferi (cross-bearing friars) or Crossed Friars, Crouched Friars or Croziers, named after the staff they carried which was surmounted by a crucifix, existed by 1100, suppressed by Pope Alexander VII in 1656.
Scalzetti, founded in the 18th century, suppressed by Pope Pius XI in 1935.