Do you think I could be a Third Order Franciscan?


I try to live my life as simply as possible in accords with St. Francis; there’s really no material possessions that matter to me beyond some of my deceased father’s mementos and my wedding ring. I also try every day to pray every hour of the Divine Office and attend Holy Mass. I don’t really have any hobbies beyond studying the history of the Church.

Here is my concern. I mean this in no condescending or disrespectful way whatsoever, out of pure honesty – my wife seems to be less spiritually advanced than I am. She strongly desires material things like a nice house and furniture, and frequently she has become frustrated due to the fact that she does not always want to attend Mass on Sundays. I am earnestly praying for her. Do you think that the current state of my marriage would be an impediment to being an OFS?


Your wife’s spirituality shouldn’t affect your spirituality directly as long as your marriage is valid in the eyes of the Church. Other then normal discernment issues on whether OFS is right for you or not, the only thing that would be an issue is if your wife objected to you joining OFS. As long as she had no problem with you joining OFS you can explore the process further, contact your local fraternity and explorer whether it is the correct calling for you.

If your wife objects, that can be a problem. It is normal for spouses to have different spiritual journies. There is one couple in my fraternity where one is a Franciscan and the other spouse is a Jesuit. Before Pope Francis that was more unusual then it is now. Also if you eventually become a full member of OFS your promises do not obligate your wife/family in any way. You personally should look at things through a Franciscan perspective but you can’t obligate others that aren’t Franciscans to do the same thing.



being myself married to a non-Catholic, I understand what it means when two people are not at the same spiritual place, but I would seriously advise you to throttle back a little on the spiritual journey - at least the contemplative aspects of it - and concentrate more on your marriage. Do remember it is a sacrament in exactly the same way as holy orders, and it is entirely necessary as a Catholic (not just as a husband) to prioritize it. It sounds to me as if your wife is missing something in the relationship and it’s incumbent upon you to go as far as you can to see she gets it. If that means a little bit of materialism, so be it. It isn’t actually against the rules of the Church to have a nice home and take an occasional holiday. Just because you personally don’t need these things doesn’t mean she doesn’t. Meet her half way, and put the third order on hold for now. Praying for her is a good thing; talking to her is pretty good too. I know; it usually works when my non-Catholic wife doesn’t understand why I have to go to Mass on Sundays when we are away on holiday and she has something else she’d rather be doing. Nobody’s asking you to abandon God for Mammon; there is a medium in these things, and your journey is not that of St Francis. Wife first, but keep the rosary in your pocket.

Marauder, in your post you said, “There is one couple in my fraternity where one is a Franciscan and the other spouse is a Jesuit”. I wasn’t aware the Jesuits had a third order. I’m intrigued.


There isn’t a Jesuit Third Order. There are various Jesuit organizations for lay people and a few associate type groups, but no official Third Order.


I’m a third order Dominican; my wife is not. What matters is the shape of your spirituality. If you are deeply, and over time, enamored and desirous of it, if it calls to you, why not?

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