The establishing of new provinces of the Order in the Americas further complicated this already complex situation.
The first Franciscan province in the New World – that of Santa Cruz – was founded in Santo Domingo in 1505. By that time the reform movement of the Order had been firmly established in Spain. Nourished by this movement, principally through those friars who were closely associated with Cardinal Cisneros, this Province of Santa Cruz was founded under the jurisdiction of the Commissary General of the Ultramontane Observant Family. He it was who, up to 1517, took charge of the more important matters relating to the friars working in the Americas. After that year, because of the unification of all the Observant provinces under the Minister General, this Province of Santa Cruz, as also later all the other provinces established in the Americas, fell under his direct jurisdiction. Theoretically, he was the major superior of all the friars in the world, but, as already pointed out, whenever the Minister General was elected from a Cismontane province, the Ultramontane provinces (including those of the New World) had as superior general the Commissary General of the Family.
”Rule of l221," ch. 16:10-11, in The Writings of Saint Francis, trans. Ignatius Brady (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1983) 77. Henceforth, Brady.
St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis, chap. 12: I, trans. Benen Fahy in Marion A. Habig (ed.), St. Francis of Assisi: Writings and Early Biographies: English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. Francis, 4lh rev. ed. (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1983), 721. Cited henceforth as Omnibus.
Ibid., chap. 3:1, pp. 646-47.
Thomas of Celano, The First Life of St. Francis, chap. JO: 29, trans. Placid Hermann in Omnibus, 247.
Ibid., chap. I 5, p. 258.
Bonaventure, Major Life, chap. 9:5, in Omnibus, 701.
St. Francis, "Letter Addressed to the Whole Order," in Brady, 121.