Mummies, Monkeys, and Coffee


When the Order of Friars Minor, a group of Franciscan Monks, decided to live in a more primative style of life, the Capuchin Monks were formed by Matteo de Bascio (Well not quite yet).  At that time, you can not just decide to change a religious organization, especially one created by St. Francis of Asissi.


The group was outlawed, and found refuge with the Camaldolese Monks.  The Camaldolese were known for their habits, or robes, which had a pointed hood or cappuccio.  The monks were so greatful, they named their order Capuchin and adopted the brown robes with pointed hoods.


In 1528, Pope Clement VII allowed Matteo and his order to come out of hiding and allowed them to preach to the poor as hermits.  The order grew and word spread.  They became well know for their religious habits (Their religious clothing).  

The most famous coffee drink in the world, the Cappuccino and the Capuchin Monkey were both named after the color of these famous monks robes .


The order grew, and in the -8th century, there were an estimated 31,000 monks.

These monks are also know for their Crypt in Rome that is covered in the bones of thousands of Friars as well as their catacombs in Palermo Sicily housing a very large collection of mummies.  


After outgrowing their cemetery in 1599, they mummied a recently passed monk and began storing mummies in their catacombs.  What started for only monks, wealthy families have had many family members added to the collection.


If you find your self in Sicily, stop by and see this amazingly grotesque tourist attraction.  You will not find any monkeys, but a cappuccino is most likely just a stones throw away.


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