I would welcome suggestions for learing about the various religious orders in order to help me discern... perhaps... lay association, oblate, third order, whatever it is called.
Please feel free to suggest resources for learning about other orders which I might associate myself. Books and websites would be welcome. I live near Atlanta so day trips and retreats to communities in surrounding states would not be out of the question. Even your own brief descriptions would be helpful. I know little about any other orders except the very basics - Franciscans work with the poor, Dominicans teach and preach - and that's about it.
I am very familiar with the Cistercian/Trappist monasticism in particilar and through it Benedictine monasticism in general. It is very attractive to me. I am in contact with the lay associates of a particular Cistercian monastery at this time. I have read Praying with Benedict, What Makes a Cistercian Monk, The Oblate Life, and The Cistercian Way, as well as the rule of St. Benedict.
Regarding others, I am interested in Dominican, Franciscan, and Carmelite but am not sure if there is any others I should be considering. What others have I missed? History of the various orders? The rule, especially how the rule is lived out for lay associate? Charism? Spirituality? What else do I need to know?
This is a general request, not about specific houses or communites, but the orders in general. Any sincere reply would be welcome.