The Order of Friars Minors, also called the Franciscan Friars, is a Catholic religious order founded by St Francis of Assisi in 1209.

The word ‘friar’ means “brother”, and the Order of Friars Minor, or “Order of Lesser Brothers”, is first and foremost a brotherhood. Franciscan Friars seek to follow Jesus Christ more closely, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with the Rule of Life composed by St Francis.

Through their religious profession, Franciscan Friars dedicate themselves totally to God in obedience, with nothing of their own, and in chastity. They seek to live a life of prayer and devotion, bear witness to the Gospel in a spirit of charity, ongoing personal conversion and minority, and preach reconciliation, peace, and justice.

They strive to recognise those around them as their brothers and sisters, engage in dialogue with believers of other faiths, and show respect for all creation.


Francis of Assisi is born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone

Pope Innocent III approves the founding of the Franciscan Order

Pope Honorius III approves of the written Rule of St Francis for the Order of Friars Minor

Franciscans all over the world celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order


The Custody of St Anthony of Padua in Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei, was officially constituted in Singapore in May 1991, dependent on the Australian Province of the Holy Spirit. Friar Phillip Miscamble was named its first Custos. By then, the friars had been running the Church of St Mary of the Angels in Bukit Batok for 21 years.

Today, the Custody comprises five communities of friars – two in Singapore and one each in Kuching, Johor and Penang – and three parishes. In 1999, the Custody assumed responsibility for its first parish in Malaysia – St Ann’s Mission in Kuching, and in 2008, the Church of St Theresa in Johor became the friars’ second parish in Malaysia.

Besides parishes and pastoral work, the friars in the Custody of St Anthony also run a spirituality centre in Singapore.

In addition, in keeping with the evangelical and missionary nature of the Franciscan Order, several friars from the Custody have been sent to Australia, Japan and New Zealand. There they work in a variety of missions promoting not only the spiritual life but also the human and social development of the local community.


Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) is an important part of the Franciscan mission, and the Custody has a JPIC representative whose role is to raise awareness of the need for environmental and social justice, and of inter-religious and ecumenical initiatives within the Custody and its parishes, and among all involved in its ministries.

 Learn more about Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation.

Holy Land Commissariat

In addition, the Custody has a Holy Land Commissariat. The commissary serves as a bridge between the Holy Land and Christians in Malaysia and Singapore, including collecting the donations for the “pro Terra Sancta” collection on Good Friday, and organising pilgrimages to the Holy Places in the Holy Land.

Learn more about the Holy Land Commissariat.


The Custody is also responsible for the formation of young men entering the Order from Singapore and Malaysia. This includes their formal studies in philosophy, scripture and theology at St Francis Xavier Major Seminary in Singapore and College General Seminary in Penang, as well as other courses and programmes to prepare them for ministry.

Friars in formation, i.e. those who have made their Profession of Simple Vows, live in Greccio Friary located at Chestnut Drive in Upper Bukit Timah. There they are formed under the direction and mentorship of the Post-Novitiate Formation Director.

Accompanying them on their journey are several Solemn-Professed friars, who serve full-time in the administration, formation and pastoral works of the Custody. 


To aid its ministries and in compliance with local laws, the Custody has registered a company in both Singapore and Malaysia – The Order of Friars Minor (S) Ltd and OFMM (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd respectively.

In Singapore, The Order of Friars Minor (S) Ltd is also a registered charity with the primary objectives of:

Providing Education & Formation

in the Franciscan way of life.

Fostering & Promoting

the Franciscan way of life, especially its principles of universal love, almsgiving, peace, mutual respect, mercy and understanding.

Providing Spiritual, Physical, & Charitable Relief 

to the poor, sickly, needy, aged and infirm.