help deciding

I was wondering whether someone has had any previous experience trying to decide what to do in the following circumstances and i need a few questions answered

I want to join either the Third Order of St. Francis or be a Benedict Oblate but cant decide which one, i was wondering whether third of St Francis is attached to a friary or priory like it is with Benedict Oblate to a monastery or are they just group of lay people.also if they are joined can you become connected to the Franciscan Friars & Sisters of the Renewal, or are they all separate. I would like to be contacted to a priory, i cant become a nun as i have small children

Have you spoken with an Oblate or Secular Franciscan or attended a chapter meeting of either? If not, I encourage you to find one close to you and see if the spirituality matches your own. Each order, and in turn, each lay order, has a certain charism and you need basic formation with a director in the order to determine if you are really called to that certain order or not before you continue further. I’ve noticed several people here that are either SFO or Benedictine Oblates- hopefully they will see your post and be able to offer their advice or recommendations.

I’m not an expert on the Secular Franciscan Order, but my understanding is that it’s an attachment to the order itself, not to a specific community.

I did find this on Wikipedia:

In 1978, under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, a new Rule of Life was written and approved. Under this new Rule, the tertiaries of the Franciscan movement were removed from under the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular, and set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. This was the first time since the 15th century that the Order has been fully independent and self-governing, the first time it has had a single unified, international government.

On the other hand, we oblates are attached to a specific monastery, rather than the order. We share in the general charism of the order, but most specifically, in the charism of our specific monastery; Benedictine communities are highly independent and each has a specific charism. Some teach, but most are true to their contemplative vocation.

As oblates we make an “offering” (the Latin meaning of the word “oblate”) of ourselves to God, promising obedience, stability and conversion. We promise to live according to the spirit of the Rule of Saint Benedict as our life situation allows (it’s important not to fall into a strictly legalistic reading of the rule), directing our lives towards God in our families and our work. We can be married or single, lay or ordained (we have several priests and deacons who are oblates).

Hope that helps a bit. For Benedictines, the best thing is to find your nearest community of men or women, and visit them. For women, there are Benedictine nuns and sisters. The nuns live within the papal enclosure, a very strict enclosure; when you meet them, they will be behind a grille; the sisters typically have a more open arrangement. Men live in the simple enclosure, which is not as strict.

Hope this helps at least a bit!

not to sure about this but can i be a lay associate of the CFR and join the third order

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