Ask a Franciscan

What Do All Those Initials Mean?

Q: Your November 2010 issue included the following abbreviations after the names of priests, brothers or sisters: O.F.M., F.S.P., T.O.R., O.S.B. and O.S.F. Where can I find out what these represent?

A: The ones you cited mean the Order of Friars Minor, Daughters [Figlie] of St. Paul, Third Order Regular, Order of St. Benedict and Order of St. Francis. You’ll find 141 men’s and 739 women’s communities listed in The Official Catholic Directory 2010 (OCD).

Some men’s and women’s communities share the same initials, such as O.P. (Order of Preachers or Dominicans). Your parish office or a large public library may have a copy of the OCD. The online lists that I found were all much shorter. I have seen Irish cemetery markers where P.P. (parish priest) followed a man’s name.

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