Saint Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) is the founder of the Franciscans. Francis, who was born into a privileged Italian family, underwent a total about-face when he was seriously ill. This rich young man decided to become poor and devote the rest of his life to God. In Canada, the first Franciscan missionaries (then called Récollets) arrived in Quebec City in 1615. They worked there until 1830, where the last Récollet died. In 1888, the Franciscans went to Montréal, assisted by Fr. Frédéric Janssoone, who at the same time established the Commissariat of the Holy Land, in Trois-Rivières. During this time, the Saint Joseph Province of Eastern Canada was founded; it included houses (convents) in Lachute, Trois-Rivières and Montréal. The mission of the Franciscans then spread throughout Canada.
In 1908, the Franciscans of Québec went to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, where they founded the province of Christ the King. Other regions (provinces) then formed in the Canadian West. From then on, Franciscan brothers worked in Cochrane (near Calgary), Duncan, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria. Franciscan missions were also created in Peru and Morocco.