Curious about Secular Third Orders - How Do I Find Information?

Hello, I’ll be 30 in a month and a have, and am married with my first baby on the way. In about a year, I’ll most likely be a stay at home dad :). I’m a convert of two years in the Church (I came from Calivinism), and I want to get more deeply involved in the inner life of the Church. I have a passion for the Truth and, as my wife (who crossed the Tiber with me) and her brother and his wife (whom we just sponsored this most-recent Easter :extrahappy:) would tell you, I’m kind of developing a gift (possibly?) for teaching the faith (although it may just be that God is developing that gift so I can better homeschool the wee one(s) :shrug:).

Anyway, I’m mostly just trying to discern how I might serve the Church and I’m specifically curious about what Secular Third Orders there are out there, what the charisms of each are, and what would be required of a member of the Secular branch of those Orders. All I’ve been able to find so far is the fact that such secular orders exist and vague references to them on wikipedia, but I’d like to know what my options are and I’d especially like to be able to investigate them “from the horse’s mouth” so to speak, rather than from semi-trustwothy and vague second-hand sources like wikipedia. :confused:

Thanks to all of you for your help. :thumbsup:
God bless you!

Please also consider being an Oblate. :slight_smile: If there is a monastery near you, contact them. If not the monastery at Norcia accepts “long distance” Oblates.

The monks have been a huge blessing in my life.:slight_smile:

Here is a link to your local Diocese that will help.

God Bless:)

go to the information stickies on the Vocations forum, above, and click on the link to lay associations and third orders, there are contacts for most of those types of groups.

The Dominicans have a third order. Their charim is preaching/teaching. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the link! What does it mean to be an oblate? I’ve heard the word, but never had it explained to me. How is it different from being in a secular third order?

Hey Jim, Thanks so much! I was trying to find this on the Diocesan website earlier and I just couldn’t figure out where to look. (When I looked and saw “Oblates of St. Francis de Sales” I was like, “Ooo!!” because he’s sort of my secondary patron saint.:D)

An oblate is sort of the equivalent of a Benedictine Third Order. The major difference is that an oblate is attached to a specific monastery. The third orders attached to the Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians (who did I miss? :o ) are “attached” to a local group, but are considered a part of the entire order.

So I, as an Oblate, am attached to XYZ Monastery.

A third order Franciscan-for example- (not called that anymore, sadly–now they are know as Secular Franciscans) are part of a local fraternity in (as an example) Austin, TX , but are a part of the entire SFO in the United States and in the world.

Aha. Thanks for the explanation. That helps a lot. :slight_smile:

My pleasure. :slight_smile:

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), called by our Holy Father Francis the ‘Brothers and Sisters of Penance.’

The US National:

Third Order Franciscan is an old shorthand and in it’s self not a Franciscan usage. Also its does not distinguish between the SFO and TOR.

We embrace the word ‘Secular’ because we are in the world, in communities that we find ourselves in – our family, work place, neighborhood, parish, etc. we are called to be followers of Christ, loyal Catholics in unity and conformity to the Church. We live our faith, our vocation in how we witness to the world, not necessarily through words but always actions. No matter who the person is, we, as SFO, are called to recognize and celebrate Christ in that person, bring peace to our communities, to discern the call of the Spirit, and to alway recognize our need to be brothers and sisters of penance. That a lot and there’s more :smiley:

My advice while you explore what’s out there is to pray and be open to where the Spirit directs.

May the Lord bless you in your search.

Here is a link to contact information for the Secular Discalced Carmelite Communities in Michigan (including Ann Arbor)

I belong to this province–but in New York

Cool, I didn’t realize they accepted long-distance oblates. I spent a month there in 2009. The monks are indeed a huge blessing, to many. I hope to visit again someday.

Yes. I inquired about their oblate program and this was their reply:

Thank you for contacting the monastery regarding becoming an oblate.

We have oblates all around the world, but mostly in the US and Italy, so it would be no problem for you to become an oblate, but live in the US. Furthermore, our oblates are also married, with children; some are religious, and some are single. Being an oblate really means that you have a spiritual connection with a particular monastery, in this case, the Monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia. And fortunately for our oblates, we make Vespers and Holy Mass available every day through our website.

The first thing I’d do, is sign up for our newsletter. By doing that, you’d be able to more intimately come to learn about the monastic community. And, have you had a chance to physically visit? If not, then a virtual visit will have to suffice.

We hope to have more information about becoming oblates in the next few months, so I’ll keep you up-to-date on those matters.

Have a blessed Lent,

Bryan C. Gonzalez
Director of Development
Monks of Norcia

Monastero di San Benedetto
Norcia, Italy

Ok here you go from top of my head…I included all the historical ones which still exist (some official names may be a wee bit off they change and have had different names down through the centuries):

Secular Franciscans (Franciscan Tertiaries)
Lay Dominicans ( Dominican Tertiaries)
Secular Order of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinitarian Tertiaries)
Mercedarian Third Order (Mercedarian Tertiaries)
Lay Carmelite Third Order (Carmelite Tertiaries)
Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (Discalced Carmelite Tertiaries)
Secular Servites (Servite Tertiaries)
Secular Augustinians (Augustinian Tertiaries)
Secular Augustinian Recollects (Augustinian Recollect Tertiaries)
premonstratensian third order

Some others existed in the past…for some Orders that have only one branch today…had more than one in history. Such as a discalced branch. The above however all exist currently.

(oblates of various Benedictine monasteries of course also exist…but they are not tertiaries …they are oblates)

Canon Law:

Can. 303 Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute are called third orders or some other appropriate name.

Here are some links:

:slight_smile: Same here, but in North Carolina.

Email them :slight_smile:

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