Meet Our Religious Communities: The Third Order, Society of St. Francis

In 1205, Francis of Assisi was called by God to rebuild the Church. Early in his ministry, Francis recognized the need to include people from all walks of life within his movement of reform and renewal. The work of following Christ in humility, love, and joy, which is the vocation of all Christians, could not be restricted to the traditional and cloistered life of the Friars and Sisters (First and Second Orders). The Third Order was born.

Today, there are estimated to be over a half-million Franciscans worldwide in the various denominations of the Christian family. Anglican Franciscans are divided among five provinces around the globe. The Province of the Americas stretches from Canada to Chile to the Caribbean. It currently includes the First Order Brothers and Sisters – who live a celibate life in their respective communities – and the Third Order.

The Third Order consists of men and women, single or in committed relationships, who, though following ordinary The Third Order consists of men and women, single or in committed relationships, who, though following ordinary professions, are called to a dedicated life of service to our Lord through prayer, study, and work.

Like the First Order, “Tertiaries”, as they are called, make a lifetime commitment to live a rule of life in company with the sisters and brothers in their Order. Tertiaries follow Francis in prayer and action by striving to be peacemakers, working for social justice, and deepening our relationship with God. We share Francis’ concerns for the well-being of the earth, the poor, and the marginalized.

The Third Order Society of St. Francis in the Americas is just over 100 years old in Cincinnati, where we were founded. 

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