The friars, though frequently following variants of older monastic rules, differed from monks in fundamental respects. Adopting a life of individual and corporate poverty, they refused endowments and property, relying instead on begging; unlike ‘traditional’ monks they lacked ‘stability’ but were licensed to travel, moving from place to place at the behest of the order to preach, study, or administer; their raison d'être was engagement with, rather than seclusion from, the secular world. The mendicant orders, particularly the Dominicans, developed a supranational organization directed by provincial and general chapters and ultimately subject to the papacy.
As orthodox evangelists they placed much emphasis on learning both within their own communities and in the universities, and it is no coincidence that almost all of the leading intellectuals of late medieval Europe, including Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, were friars. Though the friars attracted much hostility and satirical comment in the late Middle Ages, there can be little doubt of their continuing appeal to the urban laity until the Reformation.
"friars." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/friars
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