To get the ball rolling...here is a question I am oftened asked when people seem me in my brown habit, as I walk around Ashburnham Place. To be honest they usually start by asking me if I am a monk? I respond with the ancient answer of many Franciscans Friars..."Well...I am a Chipmonk!"
At one time there was a great seperation of monks from the people. Monks were in the main, enclosed in Monasteries, committed to one community, one Abbot, and in one place, living lives of ascetisism and prayer. (The word monk comes from the greek, monos - from which we get the word, mono - and meant single/alone/solitary ) and so monks were separate from the ordinary folk and life in towns and cities. Friars, (the word is from the latin for brothers) especially Franciscan friars, have always been in the centre of towns and cities, particularly where the poor lived. But it is now not as it once was and monks. though still in monasteries, are much more involved with the local towns folk, in eduation and hospitaity. Friars used to live mainly in Friaries, that were within the local towns, but they were not tied to one place. In fact, franciscan friars should not have had any such attachments and were originally mendicants, begging on the streets. Both monks and friars follow a rule and the older Franciscan Orders, still take three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. In the Roman Catholic Church both friars and monks pray the Divine Office, but monks in the main pray in choir within their monastries, friars who live in community also pray together, but now many live alone in parishes and within the local communities.
Note: The Order of the Companions of Jesus, which is a non-denominational (doesn't come under any one denominations or church umbrella) Franciscan Community of Reconcilliation, made up of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, Sisters and Brothers, follows the Gospel as their Rule and they take three vows/precepts, taken from the book of Micah, To act justly, to love mercifully and to walk humbly with God and each person they encounter on their daily pilgrimage.