Formally the Order of Friars Minor. Part of the First Order of Saint Francis, commonly called Franciscans, formed by Saint Francis of Assisi between 1207 and 1208, and legally established in 1209. In 1517, all early reforms of the Order, such as the Clareni, Colletani, etc., were united in one body henceforward known as Friars Minor of Saint Francis, or Friars Minor of the Regular Observance, and the Conventual friars were constituted a separate order, the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals). In 1897 a reunion of later reforms of the order, and comprising the Observants, Recollects (1570), Reformati (1532), and Alcantarines (1496), was effected and approved by Pope Leo XIII. The Franciscan habit is dark brown, confined by a white cord; sandals are substituted for shoes, except in cases of necessity. Activities of the order embrace an extensive field. The friars have served as preachers, missioners, confessors, ambassadors, mediators, legates, and inquisitors against heresy; they hold a noteworthy record in the cultivation of the sciences, and have also devoted themselves to the support of the poor and the care of the sick and orphans. See also the Order’s web site.