We can call “Franciscans” all the religious who follow the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi, whether they are conventuals, Franciscans or Capuchins.
In 1209, Francis of Assisi gathered around him eleven lay brothers who recognized him as having spiritual authority, but had not taken religious vows. They took Gospel teachings such as poverty and humility as their way of life.
These very strict requirements worried the religious authorities. They saw it as an ideal difficult to follow and were suspicious of this grouping of non-religious.
It was not until the death of Francis of Assisi in 1226 that the Franciscans became religious (1229); they then organized according to the model of the Dominicans who devote themselves to preaching and teaching.
The Franciscans are therefore not monks, but religious from a group called Mendicant Orders. They are not a contemplative Order, although there is a strong emphasis on prayer, life with God and even the hermitage.
They are not purely active either. It is an evangelical mixture of the two typical forms of religious life: contemplative and active. In 1525, the Capuchins were formed. They constitute a more observant and rigorous branch.