Conventus Sancti Joannis Baptistæ
Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium
Convent of Saint John the Baptist
Post Office Box 462, Summerville, SC 29484-0462
Traditionalist, Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Conventual Franciscans


For those who did not despair and give up hope of ever seeing any changes or progress...
this website is currenly up-to-date, as of: 24 December 2019.

The Order of Friars Minor Conventual is one of the “Great Orders” of the Roman Catholic Church, and follows the Holy Rule of St. Francis of Assisi. Besides being called Franciscans, or Conventual Friars, we may sometimes be called “mendicant friars.” Mendicant friars are members of religious orders which, by solemn vow of poverty, renounce all individual ownership of material possessions, and rely only on the support from our own ministries and the charity of others; hence the name “begging friars.”

As one of the “Great Orders,” we are classified as being “Exempt” from the jurisdiction of any diocesan bishop. In addition to the Franciscans, other mendicant orders (e.g. Dominicans, Carmelites, etc.) had long been exempt from the jurisdiction of local bishops, and enjoyed (as distinguished from the secular clergy) unrestricted freedom to preach and hear confessions in the churches connected with their religious houses (i.e. convent, friary, monastery, etc.), as defined in the Papal Bull of Pope Martin IV: AD FRUCTUS UBERES (13 December 1281). This ultimately led to endless friction and open quarrels between the two divisions of the clergy, and, although Martin IV granted no new privileges to the mendicants, strife and violence broke out, mainly in France, particularly at Paris. Pope Boniface VIII adjusted their relations in the Bull SUPER CATHEDRAM of 18 February 1300, granting the mendicants freedom to preach in their own churches and in public places, but not at the same time when the prelate of the district was preaching. Although Pope Benedict XI abrogated this Bull, Pope Clement V reintroduced it in 1312.

The Order and its friars are subject, solely and completely, to the legitimate Sovereign & Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, it is not necessary to have the approval of, or “faculties” from, local diocesan bishops to: hear confessions, offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, reside in or to operate & staff our own churches, chapels, schools, hospitals, charitable organizations, publishing houses, etc. within any diocese. Approval and “faculties” would only be necessary if engaged in some ministry sponsored by, or under the jurisdiction of, a diocesan institution/organization.
The Convent of St. John the Baptist is an all-male religious community in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, composed of both lay-brothers and clerics. We strive to live the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi as “Conventual Franciscans,” in accordance with the Constitutions of 1932, which were approved by the Holy See. We adhere solely to the Doctrines, Dogmas, and Teachings of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, as it existed and thrived prior to the heretical and anti-Catholic Vatican II Reformation (1962-1965). Further, we exclusively offer the authentic and traditional Latin Mass (pre-1955) as codified by the Dogmatic Council of Trent in the year 1545, and Pope St. Pius V’s Papal Bull QUO PRIMUM. The Rituale Romano-Seraphicum (1942) and Missale Romano-Seraphicum (1942) are used for the administration of the Sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and other Liturgical ceremonies proper to the Franciscan Orders.

Surely, at this point, you must be wondering about our usage of the word “convent” to describe an all-male religious community. Our English word “convent” comes from the Latin conventus, meaning a gathering or assembly, such as: convention. In religious terms, this refers to a group of like-minded people living a religious life in the Evangelical Counsels (vows) of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. Here in the United States, convents became more commonly associated with the religious houses of nuns and sisters. “Friary” is probably the most familiar name for Franciscan houses, and is more frequently associated with the other two branches of Franciscans: Capuchins and Friars Minor. For Conventual Franciscans, the term “convent” is often retained for our religious houses, at least as a formal name or title; we use “friary,” too, as an informal, every-day reference to our home.

As noted above, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, as a Religious Order, is classified in Canon Law (1917) as an exempt institute of Pontifical Jurisdiction, which means that the Order and its friars are not subject to the authority of any diocesan bishop, but instead, immediately subject to the Supreme Pontiff. The 1917 “Pio-Benedictine” Code of Canon Law is the only recognized Law as having full, binding force.

Due to the extraordinary circumstances of today, caused by the anti-popes of the Vatican II Reformation and all of those affiliated with that schismatic church, it bears repeating: the Convent of St. John the Baptist, being a part of the traditionalist Order of Friars Minor Conventual, is classified as an "Exempt" religious house and, therefore, we are not under the authority of Vatican II Conventuals or any diocesan bishop. It is neither necessary nor required for us to have "faculties" from heretical and schismatic church leaders.

Like our founding father, St. Francis, we have a vision and urgent desire of helping to rebuild the true Church today, and restoring her former glory. We, likewise, desire to imitate the great Baptist, being that “…voice [of one] crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord…” (John 1:19-28).

Please keep us in your prayers, especially for holy vocations...your prayerful support is much needed and appreciated!
We offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the administration of the Seven Sacraments to the Roman Catholic faithful in the tri-state area of North & South Carolina, and Georgia. This includes: sick call visits, Catholic education (Catechism and preparation for the Sacraments), spiritual direction and counselling, parish administration, vocational direction, etc.

Since 2008, the Convent of St. John the Baptist has supplied a full-time, resident pastor at Holy Family, in Summerville, SC. Daily, as well as Sunday Masses, are offered year-round in this rectory house-chapel. Holy Family's rectory also serves as the residence for the Convent's friars. To learn more about Holy Family and Mass times, please visit: Holy Family's Website.

As the number of friars grows, they will also engage in household chores, assist with building and grounds maintenance, and agricultural work: maintaining the small vineyard, gardening, and beekeeping.

Regardless of status in the community, all friars will perform assigned duties: if our bishop-superior will clean toilets, mow lawn, cut down trees, dig a garden, etc., so will the other friars.
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