Little Brothers of St. Francis
The Little Brothers of St. Francis were a religious congregation of Religious Brothers founded in the Archdiocese of Boston in 1970 by Brother James Curran, L.B.S.F. They followed an adaptation of the Rule for Hermits written by St. Francis of Assisi and lived a contemplative life among the "poorest of the poor", while serving the needs of the homeless.
Curran, who was then employed by the Opera Company of Boston, felt called to follow a life of prayer and service among the poor. In this goal, he was guided by the Franciscan friars who provided him counseling and spiritual direction. The first home of the community was his apartment on Beacon Hill in downtown Boston. He eventually gained the blessing of the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, who was himself a member of the Third Order of St. Francis. The cardinal allowed him to take religious vows and to wear a Franciscan habit, even though he was alone at that point. He soon adopted a habit made of denim, which quickly became the distinguishing mark of the community, earning them the nickname of the "Bluejeans Franciscans."
Curran's way of life was to keep working at his job, while spending several hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He then would go out among the homeless who would congregate in downtown Boston, especially around the Boston Common, and distribute food and coffee, as well as other necessities of life.
As other men came to join him, the community eventually relocated to a house in the Mission Hill section of Boston, among the city's poorest. The community never grew large, however, counting five Brothers at its peak in the 1990s.
In 2012 Curran was admitted as a resident of the Don Orione Nursing Home in East Boston, and announced in a final community newsletter to their supporters that they were disbanding. Whether this step by the remaining Brothers was voluntarily or not seems to be unclear, as the Archdiocese of Boston, under whose authority they operated, made no formal statement on their action. Another religious congregation, the Brotherhood of Hope, is believed to be acquiring the property.
- "The Contemplative Life Today: Little Brothers of St Francis". Vocation Blog. December 28, 2012.
- "Boston Catholics’ Open Letters to Cardinal Sean O’Malley". Boston Catholic Insider.