It’s one of the most iconic and recognizable religious habits in the world. The image of a preaching Friar, in a simple brown robe with a humble cinture, is a powerful, evocative, and indelible image. But why exactly do Franciscans wear brown?

Franciscans friars, in the tradition of our founder Saint Francis of Assisi, embrace a life of simple and unattached poverty. The brown robes reflected the destitution of the peasants Franciscans served at the time of our founding. The robes of St. Francis’ followers were made of cloth and old clothing donated by those peasants, who always wore undyed brown, the least expensive material of the time. Additionally, a simple corded rope, known as cinture, with three knots is worn around the waist. The three knots represent Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, the three cornerstones of the Franciscan Order.

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10 thoughts on “Why Do Franciscans Wear Brown?

  1. Would Franciscan monks or friars in 16th-18th century La Florida have worn brown? I know they wore grey but did they also wear brown? If so can you direct me to the sources of information that discuss this? God Bless!

  2. My best friend who was a Catholic.Met some undesireable teens that advocated witchery.One dark night while driving a Monk in dyed Brown robe and rope.piped up from the ditch near the Train tracks and frightened us terribly.Now that I have read this article I can now understand WHY IT HAPPENED TO US AT THAT TIME.TY JESUS.AMEN

  3. I find myself always comfortable in the essence and presence of St Francis…(And indeed Mother Mary)…I am a Spiritual Leader within a Non-Catholic Order.. My beliefs are certainly Christian inspired…but with a broader base of Spiritual Vocation.. My Love ans Belief in Jesus in His Works and the Works of St Francis,…Move me with a Great Sense Of Love For Everything and Everyone

  4. I remember now…For some reason,( Before my Catholic Marriage ended in Divorce)…I always was most comfortable wearing Brown Clothing… So much so, people used to comment on this fact…Something subconcious musta been going on

  5. I have a DVD about Saint Francis of Assisi- it was good to know that I watched a biography on him and how he started the Franciscan order

  6. *sigh* No, peasants did not always wear brown. Wool is most often white but may be gray, brown or black. So there is no reason their clothing would always be brown even if it was not dyed, which it might well be. Ingredients for simple dyes, flowers and leaves mainly, were freely available or easily grown. No this has nothing to with St. Francis, but I hate misinformation.

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