Third order vocation

So pretty much all of my life i have kind of had an inkling that i had a vocation for religious life, but as the strong willed child i am i balked and did what ever i could to go the other direction. I married an agnostic man and now we have a beautiful daughter. But the problem is i am still feeling this call. So i have been thinking about third orders which may be the answer to the call i am feeling ? Any thoughts ? I am thinking about third order Dominican’s or carmelite.

  • thanks

This is a an interesting question for a couple of reasons:
a) A third order vocation is a vocation in its own right. It’s not a replacement for a missed 1st or 2nd order vocation, and it’s extremely important to realize this.
b) It may very well be that what you had wasn’t really a 1st or 2nd order vocation in the first place, but rather a third order vocation or something else you haven’t yet discovered!

That said, the best way to find out is to start looking at the details of the various 3rd orders until you can pick out 2 or 3 you like, and then schedule a visit with each of them and find out what you think. And pray about it, of course.

If you use the search in CAF, you can find out a lot about the various 3rd orders. There are also groups dedicated to them and you can get to those by using the tool bar across the top where it says “Groups.” There are members of each of the most common third orders in CAF and they’ll often talk about their orders with people who are interested in them. Also search this forum using “Carmelite” and “Dominican” as search terms.

After you’ve done that, though, nothing replaces visiting the actual orders in your own geographical area.

Good luck and peace to you.

Historical Third Orders

Secular Franciscan Order (Franciscan Tertiaries)
Lay Dominicans ( Dominican Tertiaries)
Secular Order of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinitarian Tertiaries)
Mercedarian Third Order (Mercedarian Tertiaries)
Lay Carmelite Third Order (Carmelite Tertiaries)
Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (Discalced Carmelite Tertiaries)
Secular Servites (Servite Tertiaries)
Secular Augustinians (Augustinian Tertiaries)
Secular Augustinian Recollects (Augustinian Recollect Tertiaries)
Minims Third Order
Praemonstrian Third Order

Some Orders that have only one branch today…had more than one in history. Such as a discalced branch. The above however all exist currently.

As you can see above, there are 2 kinds of Carmelites, OCDS and TOC. There are also a couple of kinds of Franciscans now. And a couple of kinds of Benedictines too. Premonstratensians are also called Norbertines, same thing.

Some of these are only located in certain regions and some are pretty well distributed geographically. That probably is going to be a factor. It usually is because third orders generally expect you to be at meetings.

IF you’re on facebook, it can be immensely informative and helpful to join the facebook groups for each third order and you can compare them in action. :thumbsup:

Hi there!

There are dozens of good and informative third order and religious spiritualities threads on the forum which are worth a look. I will link the ones I have been a part of or just subscribed to below, but you might consider some searches to help you find ones which I am not aware of. There is a ton of good information in many of these threads.

Happy reading!

Peace of Christ,

What are the differences between types like TOC and OCDS ?

Thanks for the responses you guys really have been helpful :smiley:

There are 2 branches of the carmelite order, the Discalced (OCD) and the Ancient Observance (O’Carm). The Ancient Observance was the original; the Discalced was a reform movement within the Ancient Observance. This all happened a couple of hundred years ago. The distinction remains, but doesn’t mean as much as it used to and the 2 branches work together on many things.

Each of these branches has a third order, though.

OCD = OCDS for Order of Carmelites Discalced Secular

O’Carm = TOC for Third Order Carmelite

They’re a little different. Some people feel more at home in one, and some feel more at home in the other. You’ll probably want to look into both of them if you are interested in Carmelites.

Good luck in your search. I am making my Right of Admission into the Secular Franciscan Order this coming Sunday. God bless,


BTW, didn’t the initials for the Secular Franciscans get changed back to OFS instead of SFO? I saw it in your signature block and was curious.


I know it is now OFS after the name, but I am not sure about the actual order. I just also have not changed my signature block. I would ask one of the professed members that questions.

Read their respective statutes/constitutions/rule

A small correction the OFS (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis) no longer goes by the letters SFO.

It is now know as the OFS (ie, in Latin) in the entire world. :slight_smile:

I would imagine we are now know as Franciscan seculars, not Secular Franciscans.:slight_smile:

Actually the official English translation is still Secular Franciscan Order. If you look at the letter from the General Minster talking about the initials he still uses “Secular Franciscan Order” when giving the official English name. Basically when you need to use the initials in “official” things like signatures, letterhead, etc. you are supposed to use OFS. In unofficial things you can still use SFO or you can use OFS, it is really up to you. Depending on what you are writing and the intended audience you could use either abbreviation. It is a little confusing. I am sure after doing this for awhile things will eventually make sense.

No matter what, when saying the full name in English you are still supposed to say, Secular Franciscan Order.

I appreciate the clarification, fratello :slight_smile:

It is a big deal for me, as I grew tired of people asking me if I worked at San Francisco International Airport:eek::mad::smiley:


Congratulations!!! :thumbsup:


Congratulations, joanofarc2008!

Pax et bonum

Thanks everyone.

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