What is a
Tertiary in the
Franciscan Order of the
Early in his ministry, Francis of Assisi recognized the need to include in his movement of reform and renewal, people from all walks of life. The work of following Christ in simplicity, love and joy, which is the vocation of all Christians, could not be restricted to the traditional religious life of the Friars and Sisters. This was true in the twelfth century and it remains so today.
The Third Order, a religious Order within
the Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion, consists of those
men or women, married or single, clergy or laity who,
though following the ordinary professions of life, are called to
dedication through lifelong discipline and vow. Like the Friars
of the First Order and Sisters of the Second Order, they dedicate themselves to our Lord as
instruments of His peace. They are called "Tertiaries".
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The Three Aims of the Third Order are:
The Ways Tertiaries Serve Our Lord:
Some form, of Morning, Noon, Evening and Night Prayers are selected to be included in the Rule of Life.
Since the Eucharist is seen as the heart of our prayer, we include frequent participation of this Sacrament.
The Tertiary spends time each day in personal prayer. to pray for others, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, prayers for the dead, and Franciscan prayers.
This part of the Rule concerns not only the daily meditation, but taking time during the year for retreats and quiet days.
This section of the Rule includes a commitment to simplicity in living, self-denial, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.
In this area, the Tertiary includes a commitment to a work in keeping with the Franciscan vocation, continuing study of the faith and the Holy Scriptures and obedience to the requirements of the Order (such as reporting timely).
Postulancy A Postulancy of no less than six months is served during which time the Rule is studied, and tried by the individual. At the end of the postulancy, there is a clothing ceremony and the individual becomes a novice.
Novitiate A novice continues to study the faith and practice of the Rule. Monthly reports are sent to the Guardian of the Third Order on the keeping of the Rule and any problems which may occur.
After a suitable period (generally no less than a year or two), the novice may request to make the profession.
The traditional monastic vow of poverty is expressed by the Tertiaries as Simplicity. Although they possess property and earn money to support themselves and their families, they aim to stay free from all attachment to wealth, keeping in mind the poverty inthe world. Spending is limited to what is necessary for the health and well being of themselves and their families.
The traditional vow of chastity is expressed through Purity. This involves the respect of the integrity and worth of all people. This is achieved in a spirit of chastity which sees others as belonging to God and not as a means of self-fulfilment.
The vow of obedience is accomplished, by Fidelity. The chief aim is to make Christ known in obedience to his command in the Gospel. By imitating those closest to Christ, Tertiaries, by work and example, by fidelity to their Rule and the Holy Catholic Faith, and by obedience to the Order fulfil the vow.