Interested in Franciscan Third Order


I have a deep respect for Saint Francis of Assisi and I’ve been trying to find out what would be expected in day-to-day life of a member of a Secular Franciscan Third Order, on the basis that I’d like to consider if it’s something that’s for me. I’m not considering becoming a professed Friar / Brother and living in community, just the ‘lay’ ‘in the world’ version, but other than that things are arranged in ‘local fraternities’ I’m at a loss to find out what members actually do - either at fraternal meetings or in daily life.

Is anyone a Third Order Franciscan who could tell me how they live their lives in this context?


We just got a name change, so we are now the Order of Francis Secular - OFS.

The basics are praying from the Christian Prayer daily, attending meetings & participating in them, and living to the best of one’s ability the Franciscan life. That last one can vary wildly. :slight_smile:

You will want to read the rule - one place it is at is I’m assuming you’re somewhere in the UK, so there would be a national fraternity there, but I’ve no idea what the name would be.

In our fraternity, quite a few are involved in pro-life activites, I volunteer with a cat health group & helping people preserve food safely. Some larger fraternities have organized to distribute food & clothing to the poor.

If you can find a fraternity near you, visit for several months to see if it’s a good fit for you. Even better, if there are several fraternities, visit each one. You will find that each one will have a different “flavor.”

Hope you find a spiritual home! :thumbsup:

Good advice from Bonnie.

Some individuals feel drawn to do a service for their brothers and sisters who are in need. They find themselves at charities or soup kitchens helping out, or after visiting a friend at the hospital, they are inclined to stop at the hospital lounge to chat with an ill stranger to boost their spirit. They tend to be spontaneous when a task is urgent and take the initiative. While they are doing Christ’s work in emulation of him, you will always find these people with a smile and content in doing their contribution. They will politely refuse any compensation, but their hearts find joy if they receive a simple thank you.

I feel these are more attuned to a calling to the order. They have the seed of a particular charism that needs to be expressed, and experiences shared among other Sons of God such as found in the Franciscan order. Indeed, we are so because our mandate is to emulate Christ in every way.

The meetings, even though they may be monthly, are the summation of the “days” work as it was in Francis’s time. We get together and share our experience and talk about our private revelations, or about how a certain scriptural passage moves us. We sit in a circle around our candle placed in the center of the circle. For us it is our hearth of those years gone by. It is also that central “tongue of fire” where the Holy Spirit presides. One has a musical instrument and we sing along spiritual songs. We talk about what needs to be done in the world,(the Franciscan Job Jar), and our accomplishments and what other fraternities are organizing. These are just a few of the typical proceedings at the meetings, and of course not to forget a little snack and coffee later. :wink:

The Lord as graced us by assigning as it’s protector, of all the Saints, the Holy Mother herself, and we look forward in celebrating her feast day and offering our prayers to her.

I would suggest that you simply come for visits and just see for yourself. Everyone is welcome. Perhaps in time you will find it is exactly what you wanted.

I hope so. :slight_smile:

Yes! Definitely the coffee. I need it to be alert. Last month the heater was too much for the circuit breaker & it took a while for us to realize why the coffee wasn’t getting hot!

A simple ‘thank you’ has always been my most treasured reward and I have always believed strongly in the maxim “it is in giving that we receive” and I only today put two and two together and realised that that in itself is a Franciscan ideal and I’ve been believing in it for years… I was probably taught it as such as a child and had long since lost the connection… Silly of me, huh?

Actually the name didn’t recently change (unless you count the change from Third Order Franciscan Secular in the 70’s as recent). In English the proper translation of the entire name is still Secular Franciscan Order. It is just that the General Minister finally cleared up a misunderstanding among many within English speaking countries (mainly the US) that the proper initials that should be used throughout the world are OFS based on the official name in Latin. Most other countries always used OFS.

Bonnie pretty much summed up the Secular Franciscan life. It is trying to live ones life in the manner of St. Francis as closely as possible depending on your state in life. Participating in the Liturgy of the Church, usually involving the Liturgy of the Hours. Frequent attendance at Mass and frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Please check our website:

Founded in 1981, we are a Third Order Penitent community of vowed and professed men and women, married and single, living our lives in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi in accordance to a common rule, centered around prayer, work, study and outreach ministries. We are a Public Association of the Faithful headquartered in the Albany NY Roman Catholic Diocese, with strict loyalty to the Magesterium, under the protection of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Our Mother House is located in Peteresburgh, NY. We have prayer cells and communities located around the United States and Canada. We continually seek members in all countries who wish to live the lifestyle of a Third Order Penitent.

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