Questions about third/lay orders


Does one have to live within the city or archdiocese to join the order? I found 4 chapters around me, but all are more than two hours a away and half aren’t even in my archdiocese. I was wondering if someone could better explain the process of joining one to me. And anything you think one would need to know…



Which order do you feel called to? Each has a distinct charism or spirit, and it is important to discern where you belong. Additionally, there are different “varieties” of some of the bigger orders, such as the Franciscans. There are a lot of resources online, which should help you discern. Location should not be the most important consideration.

Becoming a member of an order, secular or otherwise, is a serious commitment. Both you and the order are involved in the process, which generally takes several years. Blessings to you, but do some research and, if possible, talk with your pastor or another spiritual director as you proceed.


i am in the processing of joining the Carmelites as a lay. will let you know


You don’t typically have to be in the local community in order to be an oblate/third order lay religious, although many communities have requirements that you attend meetings and retreats from time to time. As you discern the charism and community you wish to belong to see what is being asked in terms of being active in the community. Pax Christi!


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