Joining a Franciscan Third Order While Becoming a Benedictine Oblate

Hi all,

I am a Protestant discerning conversion. At the same time, I feel like God is calling me to a vocation. Like He’s holding out his hand and saying “I will make you mine.” I think I’m called to married life. I also think ecumenism might play a role in my vocation, so I prefer to join a group that accepts all denominations. I feel called to learn more about the Benedictines and the Franciscans. I feel attracted to the active life and works of charity that the Franciscans do on a regular basis. I also feel attracted to the contemplative life of a Benedictine. My question is this: is it possible to be a part of a Franciscan third order while also being a Benedictine Oblate? Would the promises/professions conflict with each other? Would it be too much of a commitment?

The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order precludes being a tertiary of another Order or, by extension, being an Oblate which would be comparable for purposes of their particular law.

The Secular Franciscan Order does not have a provision for non-Catholics.

Most Benedictine monasteries have a provision for non-Catholic Christians to be oblates. You would have to discuss that with the monastery you wished to be attached to as an oblate, since the monasteries are autonomous.

Should you choose that route, you should be aware that there are various opportunities to be engaged with the Franciscans at a level other than the Secular Franciscan Order, such as an associate program with a Franciscan community, belonging to a Franciscan confraternity, and such.

You should be aware that which are active and contemplative are not really as black and white as one can think. I know many Benedictine abbeys that have a very extensive outreach / charity / apostolic programs with monks even assuming the pastoral care of parishes on the one hand. On the other hand, I have made retreats with Franciscans, notably the Marytowns that emerge from Saint Maximilian Kolbe, where the friars chant the Office together and have an hour before the Blessed Sacrament exposed.

There are also ecumenical communities in which Catholics participate, such as Taize, with which laity can be affiliated.

St. Francis sent St. Clare to a Benedictine monastery for her founder’s novitiate before she started the Poor Ladies. After her death, they became known as the Poor Clares. If you know what you’re looking for, one can see the Benedictine influence in the Poor Clare rule. There are Poor Clares in your neck of the woods:

Alexandria: irl.solutiosoftware.com/profile-view?id=96
Barhamsville: poor-clares.org/

Benedictinism can be your “major” while Franciscanism can be your “minor.”

There are contemplative-active Benedictines. When I was reading your post, “Grace and Compassion Benedictines” came to mind.

graceandcompassionbenedictines.org.uk/

Missionary Benedictines of Tutzig (in Norfolk, VA): osbtutzing.org/

I’ve heard of a combination of Franciscan and Dominican, but not Franco-Benedictine. With the plethora of new orders coming on deck, I wouldn’t be surprised if one arose.

Ask Sts Benedict and Francis for their prayers in this matter. When one is a nun, one is mother of souls. It’s a spiritual form of “married with children.”

The difference between Protestants and Catholics is belief in the True Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. If you believe, then you’re likely called to be Catholic, and receive the fullness of the Gospel through the sacraments.

Have a blessed day.

Convert first.
Then see what happens.

Whenever I see people say “I feel called” I’m fairly skeptical as to whether this is truly a call or an invention of thought.
I wish you all the best, but please…enter into full communion with the Church FIRST…God likely IS calling you. He’s calling you home. What you do once yo get there is yet to be discerned.
You seem like a nice person from your previous posts. God bless you on your journey.

Well stated.

Yup. Must be Catholic to be in the OFS. Oblates have to be Christian (mostly).
Although, in St Thomas More’s day, you could be both (as he was).

Well, the blunt advice is sometimes the best advice. I’m also still trying to figure out whether this is me or God. So far, I’m pretty sure that it’s God because I would never have the strength to do a lot of this without him. I know that sometimes it feels like I’m slogging through doing liturgy of the hours, but when I pray the psalms out loud it gives me much joy. That’s what led me to be interested in the Benedictines. The interest in the Franciscans came up because of a family connection and because of my love of works of charity.

Please pray for me though. Got a few ‘fiery darts’ sent to me by my mother after announcing that I was meeting with the RCIA coordinator. Thank goodness for good, Catholic friends both online and offline who were there to offer prayers and consolation after what proved to be an awful fight.

Nothing really can replace the actual experience of participating in a reality, as opposed to thinking about it or considering it.

Since you are non-Catholic, at least for the moment, the route of the Secular Franciscans is not open but the path to the Benedictine Oblates is.

If you have a specific monastery in mind, you could reach out to them. It is a minimum of one year before one can make one’s definitive oblation – and that year is a time to explore if this is something to which you are called or not.

Should you, on reflecting, wish to pursue another path – and presuming you do eventually become Catholic – you could investigate then the path of the Franciscan Secular Order.

For sure, you will derive benefits from knowing more about Benedictine spirituality by being part of a formal programme; it will not be time or effort wasted. And not everyone who becomes an oblate novice goes forward to make final oblation.

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