This friary serves as the headquarters for the Province of Our Lady of Angels as well as a home for friars in hospital ministry and other outreach. It is also a place of hospitality for many friars and others who pass through Northern California.
In 1990, Br. Peter Banks was elected Minister Provincial of the Capuchin Friars of Our Lady of Angels Province and looked for a friary to house himself and a provincial curia. The convent at Our Lady of Angels Parish in Burlingame was available, and soon a community of friars was living there.
The two main ministries of St. Francis Friary are provincial administration and care of the retired friars. It is also a residence for friars in other ministries, such as chaplaincies. The friars who live at St. Francis also help with the work at Our Lady of Angels Parish and host groups, such as the Secular Franciscans, in their chapel.
This friary serves as a formation house for the Capuchin Friars as well as a place for those who come to Berkeley for sabbatical. It is near the Graduate Theological Union as well as UC Berkeley and many other schools. St. Francis High School, La Canada Flintridge, CA: The Capuchins began a small high school seminary here in 1946, but over the years it has grown to be one of the best Catholic high schools in Southern California. The friars still work with the faculty and staff to make sure that the school imparts not only knowledge but also Capuchin Franciscan values to the students.
Opened as a house of studies in 1970, this friary now serves as a home for friars involved in various ministries, especially health care. They serve as chaplains at various local hospitals and also welcome guests who come to visit the city of St. Francis. Named after St. Bonaventure, an early Franciscan and brilliant mystical theologian, this friary was established in the 1970s specifically for the friars who were involved in theological and other professional studies. It is situated near the University of San Francisco, and convenient to public transportation, which has made it a base for the friars living in the City of St. Francis. Besides the life of prayer and study, the friars here have been involved with the local church in many ways. They help the local Carmelite Nuns and work in area hospitals and parishes. The friary has also been a place of hospitality for friars and others visiting the Bay Area, as well as a place where the poor can find a friendly face and a lovingly prepared sandwich.
San Lorenzo is located in the lovely Santa Ynez Valley and was well suited for retreats. Originally designed to be a Seminary and used as our Novitiate for a number of years. Friars here helped give retreats and offered Spiritual Direction and hospitality for retreatants from all over Southern California.
In 1984, with smaller numbers of novices entering, the friars decided to share part of the facilities at San Lorenzo with groups looking for a place of solitude and prayer. The earliest groups to come here were members of AA, who found themselves strengthened and renewed by their time at San Lorenzo. The friars worked to create a hospitable and fraternal atmosphere, and helped out, giving talks and hearing confessions. After a few years, other groups or individuals began to seek time at San Lorenzo. In the 1990s a new friary was built so that larger numbers of retreatants could be accommodated.
While San Lorenzo is still a Capuchin formation center, it had been renamed San Lorenzo Friary and Prayer Center to emphasize the importance of the ministry of prayer and contemplation which the friars try to share with those who come there. In the spirit of St. Francis, the friars hope to share this beautiful place with everyone. With the support of local benefactors and various fundraisers help they were able to keep rates low and welcome groups from such places as St. Lawrence parish in Watts.
In July 2011, San Lorenzo returned as our Novitiate. While San Lorenzo no longer offers retreat programs, the community is still a big part of Sunday Mass.