Changing Third Orders - Common?


#1

Has anyone ever joined a Third Order then realized that another spirituality fit them best?

In that case, what are the options?

  • Can you leave and join another?
  • Can you be part of more than one?

Yes, I know it is important to discern, but does this ever happen?


#2

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:259405"]
Has anyone ever joined a Third Order then realized that another spirituality fit them best?

In that case, what are the options?

  • Can you leave and join another?
  • Can you be part of more than one?

Yes, I know it is important to discern, but does this ever happen?

[/quote]

You cannot be a member of more than one third order at a time. It is a vocation, like any other and it is considered that you are making a lifelong commitment when the time comes that you make your permanent profession. This is typically after 5+ years of formation which would mean that you had been living and studying that spirituality for the entire time.

Up until then, all of your professions are temporary so you would be free to leave at the end of each block of time which you professed for. For example, in the Dominican Laity, after the initial 6 months of inquiry, if I am accepted by the Chapter and the Order, I will make a 1 year profession which is the Novitiate year. After that year, if i am invited by the Chapter and the Order, I can make another temporary profession which I believe is for two years. Following that, another two year profession can be offered and accepted. Then, your permanent profession is offered. However, those who request it can do another temporary profession for a year if they request it and the Chapter Moderator and Provincial Moderator approve it. That would give someone well over 6+ years of discernment.

The other option, which is thankfully rare, is for someone who is permanently professed to request to be released from their promises. I am unsure what the process is for that entirely, but I know it goes to the Provincial for some sort of adjudication.

I gather from reading your posts on the subject that you are feeling pulls in more than one direction at the moment. That is fine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Relax, take your time, study, PRAY, and contemplate each direction and something will come to you.

One thing you may consider is seeing if the various orders you are looking into do spiritual retreats. Spending a few days living in that world will likely give you an insight to spirituality from each order's perspective that you would not otherwise have. It could be a valuable part of your discernment process.

Good luck and God Bless!


#3

Thanks for breaking it down.

5 years. Wow!

Then it doesn't make sense that one would ask to be released. I hadn't realized there were temporary vows that are renewed or that it took so long.

I'm not in any hurry, although I have been invited to attend meetings as a visitor from three different Third Orders. That kind of puts things at the forefront of my mind.

[quote="jwinch2, post:2, topic:259405"]
You cannot be a member of more than one third order at a time. It is a vocation, like any other and it is considered that you are making a lifelong commitment when the time comes that you make your permanent profession. This is typically after 5+ years of formation which would mean that you had been living and studying that spirituality for the entire time.

Up until then, all of your professions are temporary so you would be free to leave at the end of each block of time which you professed for. For example, in the Dominican Laity, after the initial 6 months of inquiry, if I am accepted by the Chapter and the Order, I will make a 1 year profession which is the Novitiate year. After that year, if i am invited by the
Chapter and the Order, I can make another temporary profession which I believe is for two years. Following that, another two year profession can be offered and accepted. Then, your permanent profession is offered. However, those who request it can do another temporary profession for a year if they request it and the Chapter Moderator and Provincial Moderator approve it. That would give someone well over 6+ years of discernment.

The other option, which is thankfully rare, is for someone who is permanently professed to request to be released from their promises. I am unsure what the process is for that entirely, but I know it goes to the Provincial for some sort of adjudication.

I gather from reading your posts on the subject that you are feeling pulls in more than one direction at the moment. That is fine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Relax, take your time, study, PRAY, and contemplate each direction and something will come to you.

One thing you may consider is seeing if the various orders you are looking into do spiritual retreats. Spending a few days living in that world will likely give you an insight to spirituality from each order's perspective that you would not otherwise have. It could be a valuable part of your discernment process.

Good luck and God Bless!

[/quote]


#4

[quote="TrueLight, post:3, topic:259405"]
Thanks for breaking it down.

5 years. Wow!

Then it doesn't make sense that one would ask to be released. I hadn't realized there were temporary vows that are renewed or that it took so long.

[/quote]

Yep. :D

I can only speak for what the OP does and even then not with complete knowledge since I am brand spanking new to formation. I have no idea what other groups do but I would imagine it is similar in terms of length and process.

Just as when you were confirmed, you are now as much a Catholic as the Holy Father himself, someone who is a Lay Dominican is as much of a Dominican as the Master of the Order who is the living successor to Saint Dominic. They are all part of the same family, equal in dignity within the Order. That is why it is taken so seriously.

I cannot speak for other groups such as the SFO, etc. but I would imagine that they take it just the same way. I would assume that someone who is a fully professed Secular Franciscan is just as much of a Franciscan as someone like Brother JR.

I would think about the retreat option if you are not sure at this point. I have heard of others going that route and they spoke positively of the experience.

Peace,


#5

[quote="jwinch2, post:4, topic:259405"]
.

I cannot speak for other groups such as the SFO, etc. but I would imagine that they take it just the same way. I would assume that someone who is a fully professed Secular Franciscan is just as much of a Franciscan as someone like Brother JR.

Peace,

[/quote]

But surely there is a difference as lay are not considered "religious".

Why would someone who is not too old to enter the priesthood or religious order choose a third order. Is it because ties such as marriage/children or job?


#6

Yes for me a Third Order is the choice as I am married with children - I know marriage was a vocation in its way - I love my life with my husband and children. But when I came back to the church a few years ago now, by way of a convalidation, I began to feel restless and felt God was calling me to do and be more for Him. I'm still not sure what order would be best for me but, like some other posters have said when they answered a question I put about this, I have felt drawn to Carmelite spirituality almost as soon as I heard about it. I am not good at preaching or getting out into the world - what with other time commitments but mostly because I'm quite shy - but I can pray and so I think a contemplative order might be just the thing for me. I guess this is a bit of a 'stating the obvious' but the idea is to find something that you fit into naturally rather than go somewhere and expect them to fit to you ... ?


#7

[quote="TrueLight, post:5, topic:259405"]
But surely there is a difference as lay are not considered "religious".

[/quote]

No they are not consecrated religious, but that does not change their being part of the family. It just means they have a different role to play within that family and the world.

Why would someone who is not too old to enter the priesthood or religious order choose a third order. Is it because ties such as marriage/children or job?

Perhaps. But to my understanding it is mostly because it is a different vocation/calling in the first place. Members of lay orders are called to live that vocation, and the spirituality of their order within everyday life. They are not called to be consecrated religious or to receive Holy Orders as secular priests. That is not their vocation. If it was, they would go to seminary or join an order as a brother, sister, or nun. Its tough to remember this sometimes, but we are all equal in dignity in the eyes of God, and thus the Church. As such, Lay professed are equal in dignity in their order as a friar, nun, etc.

It is also possible that one could have more than one vocation. For example, some members of lay orders do get a call to the permanent diaconate later in life which is fine as well. The life lay member of the order is a vocation; the diaconate is a vocation; and if they are married, that is a vocation as well.


#8

[quote="jwinch2, post:7, topic:259405"]
No they are not consecrated religious, but that does not change their being part of the family. It just means they have a different role to play within that family and the world.

[/quote]

I see. The above makes a lot of sense to me.


#9

Brother JR will hopefully drop by and share his wisdom with us, because without question he's the expert on this.

I will say that the SFO has a similar period of formation. But there's one critical difference between the two third orders:

Lay Dominicans are laymen, and they bring Dominican spirituality wherever they go, especially to their parish. They don't have to pack up and go to a "Dominican parish", they can stay where they are.

The Secular Franciscans are NOT just for lay people, the ordained can join them as well. You become a legit part of the Franciscan family. For them, you go to the fraternity meetings, and if there's a Franciscan run parish you should make the effort to be there. And in their case, anybody can do anything (well, except for stuff that requires a Priest like saying Mass). You literally become Brothers and Sisters, regardless if you are ordained or not.

Little known fact (unless you're Franciscan or Dominican); St. Pope Pius X was a secular Franciscan. Apparently after he became Pope, he started inviting those in his usual group to his residence at the Vatican. His will said "I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor". Imagine being a brother with the Pope!!


#10

The formation period for the SFO is on the average about 2-4 years. There are three different stages. One would look at whether their spiritual charism matches that of the Order during this formation time - if not the Order would do it's best to help that person find a contact for the charism they best do match (normally from the Fraternities I have known) as it is the charitable thing to do. It is not looked down upon it is just part of the formation process.

Once one is professed they should have a very strong ability to KNOW that they match up with this charism and not others. A third order is not something you join - it is something you are. The profession part just comes as part of a process to have that confirmed by the Fraternity.


#11

[quote="Melchior, post:9, topic:259405"]
Brother JR will hopefully drop by and share his wisdom with us, because without question he's the expert on this.

I will say that the SFO has a similar period of formation. But there's one critical difference between the two third orders:

Lay Dominicans are laymen, and they bring Dominican spirituality wherever they go, especially to their parish. They don't have to pack up and go to a "Dominican parish", they can stay where they are.

The Secular Franciscans are NOT just for lay people, the ordained can join them as well. You become a legit part of the Franciscan family. For them, you go to the fraternity meetings, and if there's a Franciscan run parish you should make the effort to be there. And in their case, anybody can do anything (well, except for stuff that requires a Priest like saying Mass). You literally become Brothers and Sisters, regardless if you are ordained or not.

Little known fact (unless you're Franciscan or Dominican); St. Pope Pius X was a secular Franciscan. Apparently after he became Pope, he started inviting those in his usual group to his residence at the Vatican. His will said "I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor". Imagine being a brother with the Pope!!

[/quote]

My understanding is that priests can become lay Dominicans as well, but I am not 100% on that. Is your understanding different?


#12

[quote="jwinch2, post:11, topic:259405"]
My understanding is that priests can become lay Dominicans as well, but I am not 100% on that. Is your understanding different?

[/quote]

The word "secular" doesn't mean laypeople, it means to be out in the world. So in this case, Diocesan Priests are still secular.

It isn't the secular Dominicans, it's the Lay Dominicans, which to me would indicate that it's for lay people.

BUT I just Wikipedia, and it says "The Third Order as it exists to-day can be divided into two categories: regular, i.e. comprising Tertiaries, whether men or women, who live in community and wear the habit externally; **and secular, i.e. whether married or single, cleric or lay, who live their lives like others of their profession, but who privately take up practices of austerity, recite some liturgical Office, and wear some symbol of the Dominican habit."

So now I'm confused! Looks like we better do some more research on this one.

EDIT: On Dec. 10, 2010, Benedict XVI granted the title of 'Venerable' to Fr. Antonio Palladino, **a Diocesan priest and a Dominican Tertiary. He lived a fruitful life in Italy, joining the Third Order, founding a large Chapter in his parish and starting a new community of Dominican Sisters*. Venerable Antonio was born Nov. 10, 1881 and died May 15, 1926. *

Well I'll be dipped!


#13

I am a Third Order Lay Carmelite, (O.Carm.) and at the beginning of this month our members shared a retreat with the Secular Discalced Carmelites, (O.C.D.), and the retreat Master was a Discalced Carmelite priest. From both branches of the order the titles I mentioned live their charism in the world, whether they be parents, lawyers, computer software engineers, students, etc., or retired.

On the last day of the retreat several O.C.D. members were clothed in their order's large ceremonial scapular, which included a secular priest, (parish priest in the area), who wants to immerse himself in Carmelite spirituality. The large ceremonial scapulars are worn at our monthly meetings, and other special gatherings.

Blessed John Paul II was an O.C.D. third order member.


#14

[quote="Dorothy, post:13, topic:259405"]
I am a Third Order Lay Carmelite, (O.Carm.) and at the beginning of this month our members shared a retreat with the Secular Discalced Carmelites, (O.C.D.), and the retreat Master was a Discalced Carmelite priest. From both branches of the order the titles I mentioned live their charism in the world, whether they be parents, lawyers, computer software engineers, students, etc., or retired.

On the last day of the retreat several O.C.D. members were clothed in their order's large ceremonial scapular, which included a secular priest, (parish priest in the area), who wants to immerse himself in Carmelite spirituality. The large ceremonial scapulars are worn at our monthly meetings, and other special gatherings.

Blessed John Paul II was an O.C.D. third order member.

[/quote]

Interesting. Thanks for sharing!

I admit to knowing next to nothing about Carmelites. There is a thread about religious orders and spiritualities which I would love to get your input on if you are in the mood to share more than you already have.

Peace,


#15

Where is the thread? I would be happy to share.


#16

[quote="Dorothy, post:15, topic:259405"]
Where is the thread? I would be happy to share.

[/quote]

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=600571

:)


#17

[quote="Dorothy, post:13, topic:259405"]
I am a Third Order Lay Carmelite, (O.Carm.) and at the beginning of this month our members shared a retreat with the Secular Discalced Carmelites, (O.C.D.), and the retreat Master was a Discalced Carmelite priest. From both branches of the order the titles I mentioned live their charism in the world, whether they be parents, lawyers, computer software engineers, students, etc., or retired.

On the last day of the retreat several O.C.D. members were clothed in their order's large ceremonial scapular, which included a secular priest, (parish priest in the area), who wants to immerse himself in Carmelite spirituality. The large ceremonial scapulars are worn at our monthly meetings, and other special gatherings.

Blessed John Paul II was an O.C.D. third order member.

[/quote]

My own Lay Carmelite community is blessed to have a retired diocesan priest (a monsignor, at that!) as a full-fledged, professed member. Technically, he would be referred to as a Third Order Carmelite as he is obviously not "lay," being ordained clergy. On a note also related to this thread, he originally professed with the OCDS, but after retiring to an area in which no OCDS community existed, he chose to transfer to the TOC's rather than be an isolate in OCDS.


#18

[quote="drforjc, post:17, topic:259405"]
My own Lay Carmelite community is blessed to have a retired diocesan priest (a monsignor, at that!) as a full-fledged, professed member. Technically, he would be referred to as a Third Order Carmelite as he is obviously not "lay," being ordained clergy. On a note also related to this thread, he originally professed with the OCDS, but after retiring to an area in which no OCDS community existed, he chose to transfer to the TOC's rather than be an isolate in OCDS.

[/quote]

There is a deacon in our area who is an O.C.D. member before he came here, and he attends our meetings when he can, but he hasn't officially transferred. He gave us a wonderful talk on silence at a Day of Reflection we had a few years ago.


#19

[quote="TrueLight, post:5, topic:259405"]
But surely there is a difference as lay are not considered "religious".

Why would someone who is not too old to enter the priesthood or religious order choose a third order. Is it because ties such as marriage/children or job?

[/quote]

Being a secular Franciscan isn't something you choose because you can't do something else. It's a vocation in itself with characteristic features of its own. It's both as fully Franciscan as any other Franciscan vocation, and secular, meaning not living in a convent etc, but rather living as a Franciscan in the world with all the cares, community obligations and attachments and responsibility that entails. We belong to fraternities with other secular Franciscans, and fraternal community is highly important to secular Franciscans as it is to all Franciscans. The importance of fraternal community is one of the marks of the Franciscan charism.

The SFO is more than 800 years old now. It was founded by St. Francis himself. Even though we answer to the pope himself and always have, and only the pope can rewrite the rule, it has been done a few times, the latest in 1978, I believe. Although the legal classifications have changed in the 20th century re religious orders, we are still a religious order and we are autonomous--not dependent upon the other branches of the order, such as the friars, for our administration, which is unique among the 3rd orders.


#20

[quote="iloveangels, post:19, topic:259405"]
Being a secular Franciscan isn't something you choose because you can't do something else. It's a vocation in itself with characteristic features of its own. It's both as fully Franciscan as any other Franciscan vocation, and secular, meaning not living in a convent etc, but rather living as a Franciscan in the world with all the cares, community obligations and attachments and responsibility that entails. We belong to fraternities with other secular Franciscans, and fraternal community is highly important to secular Franciscans as it is to all Franciscans. The importance of fraternal community is one of the marks of the Franciscan charism.

The SFO is more than 800 years old now. It was founded by St. Francis himself. Even though we answer to the pope himself and always have, and only the pope can rewrite the rule, it has been done a few times, the latest in 1978, I believe. Although the legal classifications have changed in the 20th century re religious orders, we are still a religious order and we are autonomous--not dependent upon the other branches of the order, such as the friars, for our administration, which is unique among the 3rd orders.

[/quote]

Thank you.

I'm reading Such is the Power of Love, which means I am seriously loving St Francis right now. :D


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.