The Capuchin Monastery, A Modest Oasis In Upscale Jerusalem
Although they live a communal life, the Capuchin friars are not cloistered in their monasteries. Rather, they go out into society performing charitable activities.
Sometime in the 16th century, as Franciscan friars toiled in the fields of Italy, a group of children ran after them chanting “cappuccino, cappuccino!” What they were referring to were the large hoods worn by friars of one branch of the Franciscan order to keep rain and the hot Italian sun off their necks.
It wasn’t long before those Franciscans became known, worldwide, as Capuchins. And one day we would all call that delicious coffee drink that is the color of their hoods cappuccino.
It is no surprise that there are Franciscan churches, monasteries and friars in the Holy Land – quite a few of them in Jerusalem. What is unusual, however, is the location of the Capuchin monastery, for it stands smack in the middle of Talbieh, one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
Far less grandiose than many similar establishments, the Capuchn monastery reflects the values of its occupants: Capuchin friars, while Franciscans, prefer a simpler life with more prayer and more penance. Capuchins are among the strictest of Catholic monastic orders and spend significant time communing with the Lord.
Their Holy Land adventure began back in 1932. At the invitation of the Latin Patriarch, a Capuchin friar working with the poor and needy in Lebanon named Abuna Yacoub was dispatched to Jerusalem. After Abuna Yacoub purchased land in the new neighborhood of Talbieh, construction began on a friary.