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WHO WE ARE

OUR HERITAGE

St. Francis engaged the world as a brother to all. He sought unity in conflict. Perceived the goodness of the Creator in all of creation. Encountered Christ in the marginalized of his society. And discovered authentic joy in a life of simplicity.

OUR VISION

Inspired by the Life of St. Francis, we seek to be a point of connection in our community. We seek to foster opportunities to encounter Christ in prayer, beauty, service and spiritual & intellectual formation.

The Portiuncula (aka The Port)

The Portiuncula (Port-i-un-cu-la or Por-zi-un-cu-la)

in Lawrenceville is a Capuchin Franciscan evangelization ministry.  We chose the name because St. Francis was given a little chapel and called it his "little portion."  It became a home for the friars.  (See below for more history.)

Our little portion is a storefront located on Butler Street.  While a small space, it will be home to many events.  In choosing the name, we liked the wordplay of "Port" - a place where ships dock to resupply and bring goods before heading back out to sea.

The Portiuncula serves as safe harbor for people to make connections.  We hope that those who come might find refreshment and inspiration to go out and live the Gospel in their own lives!

The Capuchins have been present in Lawrenceville since 1873.  In 2020 the friars recently renewed their presence in the neighborhood with a major renovation of their “motherhouse”.  At that time, space was set aside with the commission to establish an evangelization ministry.  The ministry has been growing since July 2020, focusing largely on young adult ministry.  Our hope is to be a point of connection across various interests and build a stronger community.

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Saint Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi lived from 1181 to 1226.

One of the best known and favorite Saints of the Church, Francis has been inspiring people by his simple way of life, prayer and charity for more than 800 years.

Having deeply encountered Christ, Francis sought to live a Gospel life to the fullest.

 

He had a special care for the poor and outcast, a deep appreciation for the beauty of Creation, and a heart for intense prayer and meditation. 

We seek to invite others into this vision of St. Francis.

The Capuchins

Francis' short, but impactful life was a spark of renewal in his turbulent era, inspiring thousands of followers within a few years of his death. 

He established communities for men (friars or brothers), women (Poor Clares), and lay people (Secular Franciscans).

 

The Capuchin Franciscans emerged in 1524 as a reform movement to place renewed emphasis on Saint Francis' life of prayer and simplicity.

In 1873, Capuchins from Bavaria arrived in Pittsburgh  to serve the German immigrant community in Lawrenceville. We became known as the Province of St. Augustine, named for the first church we served in the city and continue to serve today.

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The Original Portiuncula

Early in his conversion, Francis spent much of his time restoring churches.  One of these, Our Lady of the Angels, he called the Portiuncula, meaning the "little portion of land." 

It was here that Francis built a small hut for himself.  Later, the chapel was given to Francis under the condition that it would become the mother house of his growing group of friars.  It was a place that he and his brothers came to for nourishment and rest, before going back out to serve.

Indulgence, etc,,,