St. Francis and the early friars lived a very simple lifestyle. However, the ideal of Lady Poverty to which Francis aspired was not so much about what the friars could and could not have. Rather, poverty was about cultivating a radical dependence upon the providence of God. St. Francis marveled at the poverty of God, that he would deign to become a helpless infant weeping in the arms of a human mother. Francis was overwhelmed that God would allow Himself to be treated like a criminal and to be murdered on a cross. More than this, Francis was amazed at the poverty of God in that would take on the form of humble bread and remain with us in the Eucharist.
For St. Francis the poverty of Jesus Christ was expressed in his complete kenosis, the total self-emptying of himself in order to trust radically in the Father's love and providence. It was this poverty, this radical trust in God, that Francis idealized as Lady Poverty and to which he called his brothers to aspire. Francis would not allow the brothers to beg provisions for more than three days time, believing this to be an insult to the providence of God.
The Capuchin Reform stressed a return to the poor, austere lifestyle embodied by St. Francis of Assisi. As the Capuchin Constitutions state:
"Let us cultivate radical poverty, both personal and communal, and out of love of the Lord’s Cross to lead a life of austerity and joyful penance."
The following are writings which further elaborate the friar’s vow of poverty.