Third Order Franciscans vs the Secular Franciscans Order


#1

What is the difference? Is anyone here a lay member of any of these groups?

Thanks.


#2

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:265235"]
What is the difference? Is anyone here a lay member of any of these groups?

Thanks.

[/quote]

The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is an arm of the Franciscan Third Order.

St. Francis founded three orders.

  1. Friars Minor

  2. Poor Sisters

  3. Brothers and Sisters of Penance

To each order he gave a rule with his vision for them and their mission in the world. The third order that he founded, Brothers and Sisters of Penance, was called The Third Order or Franciscan Third Order for short.

The Third Order was originally for secular Catholics. This included married people, single people, deacons, priests, bishops and popes. Any Catholic who was secular and qualified could join.

However, within 10 years after its foundation, a group of men who wanted to live the vowed life in a community of Franciscan penitents, emerged. They continued to be part of the Brother and Sisters of Penance.

As the Third Order grew, there were now secular and friars among them. These friars observed the rule of penance, not the rule of the Friars Minor, which is the rule of poverty. The Third Order became so large that the Church divided it into two groups.

The friars came to be known as the Third Order Regular (TOR) and the secular came to be known as the Third Order Secular Franciscan (TOSF). They continued to live by the same rule, but with separate governments.

Today, there are more friars and now we also have sisters who follow the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. These friars and sisters are grouped according to culture, country and apostolate. Their way of life is the same, but their work may vary. Each of the goes by a different name. But all are Third Order Franciscans.

The secular branch of the Franciscan Third Order shortened its name to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) in 1978. It's legal name is Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis (OFS) which is really Order of Franciscan Seculars. The rule is the same.

When you want to speak about all of the communities that follow the third rule of St. Francis, you say Third Order Franciscans.

When you want to speak about the secular communities that follow the third rule of St. Francis, you say Secular Franciscans.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#3

Thank you Brother Jay!

So one does not have to be a mendicant to be part of the SFO?


#4

[quote="TrueLight, post:1, topic:265235"]
What is the difference? Is anyone here a lay member of any of these groups?

Thanks.

[/quote]

I am a professed member of SFO. Brother JR can answer most questions about SFO. He probably should answer your mendicant question. I probably depends on what you mean by the word.

If you mean the official definition of mendicant, giving up all your possessions and begging for alms and doing the same thing I listed below, then SFO members are not required to do that.

If you mean someone that goes out into the world living the gospel. Being in the world but separate from the world, then yes all members of SFO are called to that.


#5

[quote="Marauder, post:4, topic:265235"]
I am a professed member of SFO. Brother JR can answer most questions about SFO. He probably should answer your mendicant question. I probably depends on what you mean by the word.

If you mean the official definition of mendicant, giving up all your possessions and begging for alms and doing the same thing I listed below, then SFO members are not required to do that.

If you mean someone that goes out into the world living the gospel. Being in the world but separate from the world, then yes all members of SFO are called to that.

[/quote]

Hi Marauder,

Can you go a little bit into what penance means for someone with a vocation to the SFO?


#6

[quote="TrueLight, post:5, topic:265235"]
Hi Marauder,

Can you go a little bit into what penance means for someone with a vocation to the SFO?

[/quote]

I have to be brief due to only being online for a few seconds, but briefly it can mean different things to people in different stages of the spiritual journey. Obviously it refers to frequent use of the sacrament of reconciliation. In addition to that it means continued conversion of every aspect of your life to be in accord with the wishes of God. As a member of SFO it is done using St. Francis as model. The method this takes can vary person to person and with time depending on what is going on in their life. It would probably be different for a young single person, a married person with kids and an elderly person. It is between them, God and/or a spiritual director to determine how this conversion takes place. Hopefully I can give a more complete answer tomorrow.

Pax et bonum,

Jim


#7

[quote="Marauder, post:6, topic:265235"]
I have to be brief due to only being online for a few seconds, but briefly it can mean different things to people in different stages of the spiritual journey. Obviously it refers to frequent use of the sacrament of reconciliation. In addition to that it means continued conversion of every aspect of your life to be in accord with the wishes of God. As a member of SFO it is done using St. Francis as model. The method this takes can vary person to person and with time depending on what is going on in their life. It would probably be different for a young single person, a married person with kids and an elderly person. It is between them, God and/or a spiritual director to determine how this conversion takes place. Hopefully I can give a more complete answer tomorrow.

Pax et bonum,

Jim

[/quote]

Thanks!


#8

It looks like per the lasted general chapter in October a document was published clarifying how the name of the Secular Franciscan Order should be used:

THE USE AND THE TRANSLATION OF THE NAME OF THE ORDER

  1. The official name of the Order is Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis.

  2. Translations of the name of the Order

2.1. The translation of the name of the Order is already made in the four official languages, and these are the ones to be used in these languages, namely in Italian, in English, in Spanish and in French.

2.2. The name can be translated into local languages only when the literal translation from Latin is easily understandable even by the civil society and does not change its meaning or substance.

2.3. When the translation into the national language distorts the meaning of the name, or is linguistically impossible to transfer the genuine meaning, Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis must always be used, which can be followed by expressions to clarify and make more understandable the nature of the Secular Franciscan Order to everyone in the local language.

  1. The acronym The acronym which refers to the name Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis is OFS and is always to be used regardless of the language. For example, when Secular Franciscans use the acronym after their name, they must use “OFS”.

Encarnación del Pozo, OFS
General Minister


#9

[quote="jm0rr0w, post:8, topic:265235"]
It looks like per the lasted general chapter in October a document was published clarifying how the name of the Secular Franciscan Order should be used:

[/quote]

Where did you find this, Jason? I know that this conversation has been going on at high levels in the Order, and it was mentioned in the Koinonia. I'd like to save this information.

The date on what you have was October 2011 or? (Trying to find the quote.)

[EDIT: Sorry, Jason. I misread your name on the first post. My apologies.]


#10

[quote="iloveangels, post:9, topic:265235"]
Where did you find this, Jim? I'd like to save this information.

[/quote]

I'm Jason. :) I received the document via an email from the national minister Deacon Tom Bello, OFS that was forwarded to my local fraternity. I'll see if I can attach the pdf:


#11

[quote="jm0rr0w, post:10, topic:265235"]
I'm Jason. :) I received the document via an email from the national minister Deacon Tom Bello, OFS that was forwarded to my local fraternity. I'll see if I can attach the pdf:

[/quote]

Thank you. I know that the fraternities using languages other than English were mostly using OFS already, but many English speakers were not. Not all, but many, particularly in the US.

This is brand new to see it in print as an instruction though. Glad to see it. Maybe it will reduce some of the confusion about the word "secular."


#12

[quote="iloveangels, post:11, topic:265235"]
Thank you. I know that the fraternities using languages other than English were mostly using OFS already, but many English speakers were not. Not all, but many, particularly in the US.

This is brand new to see it in print as an instruction though. Glad to see it. Maybe it will reduce some of the confusion about the word "secular."

[/quote]

It may help a bit. Only the use of the acronym after a persons name is changing if I am reading it correctly. The name of the order in English is still Secular Franciscan Order not Franciscan Order Secular etc. Folks will still be referred to as Secular Franciscans. Professed members just need to use OFS instead of SFO after their name.


#13

[quote="jm0rr0w, post:12, topic:265235"]
It may help a bit. Only the use of the acronym after a persons name is changing if I am reading it correctly. The name of the order in English is still Secular Franciscan Order not Franciscan Order Secular etc. Folks will still be referred to as Secular Franciscans. Professed members just need to use OFS instead of SFO after their name.

[/quote]

That's the way I read it too. It sounds like the translation for the name of the order in English is one of the 4 languages accepted because it's already been done. But the last instruction is very clear about the acronym after one's name. Very clear. OFS it is.

Well, thank you. I haven't seen this anywhere else yet although I did see some preliminary indications that it was being discussed and might happen. And it did.


#14

Interesting information. It will be interesting to see how/when/if this propagates out to the rest of us through "official" channels.


#15

I forwarded that pdf file to the writer of my fraternity’s newsletter and the minister of my fraternity. Guess who gets to write an introduction about this for next month’s fraternity newsletter. Our minister said she had heard about this and that there is some resistance for “the change is difficult especially for older people”. She said there has been an effort at the regional and national level to start dealing with this. I guess national will need to start the process since even the national web page and the Tau magazine still uses SFO after all the names.


#16

[quote="Marauder, post:15, topic:265235"]
I forwarded that pdf file to the writer of my fraternity's newsletter and the minister of my fraternity. Guess who gets to write an introduction about this for next month's fraternity newsletter. Our minister said she had heard about this and that there is some resistance for "the change is difficult especially for older people". She said there has been an effort at the regional and national level to start dealing with this. I guess national will need to start the process since even the national web page and the Tau magazine still uses SFO after all the names.

[/quote]

Yes, but it's brand new.

I think we can look at the bright side of this. The international fraternity is working to enhance the self-identity of members as Franciscans, and also their identification with the Order, thus the common acronym. They're also trying to upgrade formation to something befitting of a real order in the church. I think that's certainly a good thing.


#17

[quote="Marauder, post:15, topic:265235"]
I forwarded that pdf file to the writer of my fraternity's newsletter and the minister of my fraternity. Guess who gets to write an introduction about this for next month's fraternity newsletter. Our minister said she had heard about this and that there is some resistance for "the change is difficult especially for older people". She said there has been an effort at the regional and national level to start dealing with this. I guess national will need to start the process since even the national web page and the Tau magazine still uses SFO after all the names.

[/quote]

You volunteered information and got a job out of it, huh? :p Sorry about that. Nevertheless, it's good you'll be getting the word out.


#18

No problem. Its all about being a Franciscan. My minister asks me to do something, I say to myself “Does this involves sin?” Nope. I do it. The more information people have the better.

Already sent a preliminary copy of the introduction both to the editor of the newsletter and the minister.


#19

[quote="Marauder, post:18, topic:265235"]
No problem. Its all about being a Franciscan. My minister asks me to do something, I say to myself "Does this involves sin?" Nope. I do it. The more information people have the better.

Already sent a preliminary copy of the introduction both to the editor of the newsletter and the minister.

[/quote]

You are fast!

I see that Queen of Peace Regional Fraternity has this up on their website now, as of about 11AM this morning. They have a great website.


#20

Wait. Am I understanding correctly? It is now OFS? (which I like 1000 times better, BTW)


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