The friars minor capuchin

In c.1530 an initial cohort of monks, sent by Fr. Ludovico da Fossombrone, perhaps on the advice of Genoese matron Caterina Cybo, were welcomed at the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Genoa, where the Magistrate of the Pia Opera charitable institution assigned them some rooms and the church of San Colombano. A few years later the monks were called to carry out their work at the Ospedale di Pammatone. In 1538 the Magistrate of the hospital granted the Capuchins the use of the old monastery of San Barnaba, on the hill at Carbonara.

The 1600s saw the Capuchins expand throughout the region, founding several monasteries. Engaged in Genoa mainly in charitable work, they were on the front line of the plague outbreaks of 1630 and of 1656/57.

The destructive wind of the suppression of religious orders blew also through Liguria: due to the Napoleonic decrees of 1810, nearly all the Capuchin monasteries were closed and abandoned. Not until five years later did they regain the church and monastery of the Santissima Concezione. It was the first monastery to open after the Napoleonic storm. After the approval by the Italian Government of the law for the suppression of religious institutions in 1866, the Capuchins were dispersed from the monasteries, to which they were able to return only after many years.

Throughout the 1900s and into the present day, the Ligurian Capuchin monks have been engaged in parish health care ministry and in missionary work; one extremely important service is that of helping the poor and the needy, a long-established commitment that continues today through their daily “Canteens”.

Today there are 11 Capuchin communities across the Ligurian region.