More secular third order questions

I understand that you are supposed to attend monthly meetings. what happens if you have to miss one of them?

not for frivilour reasons like not feeling like going but if you are away on a mission trip or family vacation, have to go out of town for work, that sort of thing.

I understand one of the promises is a detachment to money. so are you even allowed to go on vacation or out for dinner, things that aren’t just basic, urgent necessities?

and I know most orders encoure daily mass attendance as far as possible. what if a work schedule just doen’st allow for it though? would one daily mass per week be enough? or what if you just couldn’t at all?

I’ve never heard of any 3rd orders that are that strict. Why don’t you attend some gatherings & find out for yourself? I would think that all 3rd orders welcome visitors - I know ours does.

  1. One can miss meetings because one is ill or on holiday or for various reasons. It would be a matter of advising the chapter that you were going to be away. If it is while you are in actual formation, there should be a provision for you to make up what was missed. Each chapter has its own character and unique qualities…but I have not met one that was unreasonable or irrational.

  2. Yes, assuredly one can go on vacation or out to dinner. One undertakes a simple lifestyle but one is not, in fact, a Religious with the vow of poverty. You still control your assets and are expected to manage them. They are not involved with your finances…which is a different situation from being, for example, in a secular institute.

  3. As for the final question about Mass attendance…that can really depend upon the Order that you have chosen and various factors. I have seen different answers arrived at. As you note, the norm is that you are encouraged to go to daily Mass as often as possible. In everyone’s life, there will be times when it is not possible. If in fact it is never possible…rather like being in a situation in which it is impossible to pray the Office ever or fulfill the prayer requirement ever, one then has to discern whether or not one is called to this particular form of life. Not everyone is.

  4. Typically Benedictine Oblates do not have monthly meetings. There are monasteries throughout Canada.

  5. The only way one can really arrive at a discernment is by entering into a relationship with the Third Order/Oblature. One cannot make up one’s mind on one’s own until one is actually living the life and in contact with the group. They, also, have to discern on their side if this or is not your vocation.

I live in a remote area and have met some people who came here on vacation who belong to a Third Order out of St. Louis. I have wondered about whether there could be an opportunity to investigate the possibility of participating/joining myself. How do I find out if there is any group operating anywhere near enough for me to participate? I need a starting point, such as names of Third Orders, geographic locations, etc. I would consider up to a two hour drive in any direction to participate, explore the options.

Third orders can be pretty scarce in some places. We have a 1 1/2 hour drive to our Franciscan gathering - friends drive more than 2 hours to their Carmelite meeting.

To find out what 3rd orders are active in your diocese call the diocesan office - they should have a listing & contact information.

thanks for the information father.

yes, I have started contacting some groups though it has proven more difficult than anticipated

I don’t have a car so have to find something relatively close to me that’s accessible by transit. I’ve looked for Benedictine oblates but I don’t think there are any around here. the monasteries are usually not right in the city, I think.

I would have also discerened with a secular institute but they are all in eastern Canada

so far, I have heard from the secular Franciscans.

not much from the Carmelites or ocds, should I keep pursuing or just start with one?

is it best to try a few different ones to compare or is that not necessary?

Depends on whichever third order you’re talking about. We lay Dominicans are sometimes in an isolate situation, and we keep up with each other online. I’m not able to attend Mass daily, though I would like to. My son and I do well to make it to Sunday Mass.

Money is necessary for everyday life. I think one Franciscan tradition religious community makes a vow to never touch money. Is that what you’re thinking of?


If you are in the Ozark Mountains, perhaps you are not far from Subiaco Abbey, which is in Northwest Arkansas:

But not OFS - secular. We live in the world so handling money is necessary. We don’t make vows at all.

Since I don’t know where in Canada you are, there is not much advice I can really offer. I know there is a Benedictine Abbey in British Columbia and in Saskatchewan as well as, of course, Quebec; there is also a monastery of Benedictine nuns in BC and, of course, they also have oblates.

Some abbeys do establish chapters of Oblates in nearby cities and some don’t. Typically, oblates have a very different relationship to the monastery they are attached to than tertiaries do to the First or Second Order of which they are a part.

You can call the chancery of your diocese to inquire about the third orders active or represented in your diocese.

The initial stage will be something synonymous with “inquirer stage.” This is a process that takes years from initial inquiry to final promises…so, yes, if you have any interest with the Secular Franciscans, I would urge you to explore it if that is an option. You will have plenty of time to figure out if this of interest to you – and if you are an apt candidate, from their perspective. It is, of course, a two way decision.

Since you were asking about going out to dinner and taking vacations, you may wish to even do more reading about the tertiary/oblate vocation in general in order to have a better sense of what it is … and what it is not.

Frankly, many times, people will have something in their minds that may be far removed from what the third order really is…and particularly as it is lived by any given chapter of tertiaries.

As with most things in life, one has to go and actually experience something of it in order to know if this is something you like or something you do not like…if it is something you find helpful or not helpful. Otherwise it remains abstract and little more than an idea in the mind.

Over the years of being a priest, I have seen many young (and not so young) men come for a vocational experience and quickly make a decision not to go forward because what they found was not whatever they had concocted in their minds.

As far as the secular institutes, they may be based elsewhere but it would be unusual to have no member at all in your province…I’ve presumed you are not in Nunavut.

My suggestion is working methodically with the vocation director of the diocese that you are in as far as what are concrete options for you.

yes, I plan to speak with the vocations director for sure.

I’ve perused the website for secular third orders, I did not see any in BC

I am in a suburb of Vancouver, I don’t think there are monasteries in the city itself

Dominicans of Queen of Peace

Poor Clares of Mission, BC:


But you have an extraordinary number of resources in your Archdiocese! My goodness. Wherever you have the presence of the First Order or Second Order, there will likely be at least one chapter of the Third Order.

Let us go down the list:

The Augustinians have a third order.

The Benedictines have Oblates affiliated with their abbeys. They typically can accommodate distance members more easily and you might go, for example, yearly to make a retreat for a few days rather than each month for a meeting. They may have a chapter of Oblates that meets in the city.

I would be stunned if the Discalced Carmelites have two parishes but no chapter of Secular Carmelites.

The Dominicans will have fraternities of Lay Dominicans. And it would be extraordinary to have a monastery and a parish with no presence of Lay Dominicans at all.

Both the OFMs and the Greymoor Franciscan Friars of the Atonement will have the Secular Order around them.

The Norbertines have a third order secular

Laity who are part of the Salesian Family are called Salesian Cooperators. It operates similar to a Third Order.

Opus Dei has various categories for lay people who affiliate themselves to the personal prelature.

*Among women, there are the Canossians *

Here is something of their third order, the Lay Canossians

And then

On this page you have three different congregations of Dominican Sisters…each of them should have at least one chapter of the Lay Dominicans, beyond the friars that I gave above

The Eudist Sistes of the Eleventh Hour accommodate women for consecrated life who are in non-traditional circumstances

The Missionaries of Charity of Saint Teresa of Calcutta have a third order for laity.

I am at a loss as to why you would think that there would be very little available.

Here is a list of OCDS communities in western Canada:

Angel - many of the communities Father references above would be very accessible by transit. I suppose it depends where you are in Metro Van, but transit is excellent in the core - there are multiple parishes, some staffed by religious, directly along the skytrain system. The Abbey in Mission is trickier but you could always make a day trip - take the West Coast Express if a weekday or buy a greyhound ticket on the weekend. If you don’t mind saying, which parish are you in? I’m sure your pastor would be a good resource as a starting point.

Thank you for the info. And the link. This is exactly what I was looking for. Within a two hour drive :slight_smile: I will pursue.

They are implied though, the same with the Benedictines. We are expecting to live in poverty, Chastity and Obedience.

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