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The Third Order of St. Francis is a third order of the Roman Catholic Church, itself within the Franciscan family of religious orders. It includes both regular and secular congregations and both male and female tertiaries.

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Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order

It has been believed that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence is against such an opinion. For, besides similar institutions in some monastic orders in the twelfth century, we find, before the foundation of St. Francis, a Third Order, properly so called, among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201.[1]

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Early history

The Third Order of St. Francis was, and still is, the best known and most widely distributed and has the greatest influence. About its origin there are two opposite opinions. According to Karl Müller, Mandonnet, and others, the Secular Third Order is a survival of the original ideal of Francis of Assisi, viz. a lay confraternity of penitents, from which, through the influence of the Church, the First and Second Orders of the Friars Minor and the Poor Clares have been detached. According to others, St. Francis merely lent his name to pre-existing penitential lay-confraternities, without having any special connection with or influence on them. The two opinions are equally at variance with the best texts we have on the subject.[2] According to these sources, St. Francis really founded a Third Order and gave it a Rule. If we complete these notices with some early papal Bulls bearing on the penitential movement and with the account given by Mariano of Florence (end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century) we can state what follows:

The preaching of St. Francis, as well as his own living example and that of his first disciples, exercised such a powerful attraction on the people that many married men and women wanted to join the First or the Second Order.

Rule of St Francis

This being incompatible with their state of life, St. Francis found a middle way: he gave them a rule animated by the Franciscan spirit. In the composition of this rule St. Francis was assisted by his friend Cardinal Ugolino, later Gregory IX. As to the place where the Third Order was first introduced nothing certain is known. Of late however the preponderance of opinion is for Florence, chiefly on the authority of Mariano of Florence, or Faenza, for which the first papal Bull (Potthast, "Regesta Pontificum", 6736) known on the subject is given, whilst the "Fioretti" (ch. xvi), though not regarded as a historical authority, assigns Cannara, a small town two hours' walk from Porziuncola, as the birthplace of the Third Order. Mariano and the Bull for Faenza (16 December, 1221) point to 1221 as the earliest date of the institution of the Third Order, and in fact, besides these and other sources, the oldest preserved rule bears this date at its head.

This rule was published by P. Sabatier and H. Boehmer (see bibliography), and contained originally twelve chapters, to which at the time of Gregory IX (1227) a thirteenth was added. It prescribes simplicity in dress (1), considerable fasting and abstinence (2-3), the canonical office or other prayers instead (4-5), confession and communion thrice a year, and forbids carrying arms or taking solemn oaths without necessity (6); every month the brothers and sisters have to assemble in a church designated by the ministers, and a religious has to give them an instruction (7); they also exercise the works of charity with their brothers (8); whenever a member dies the whole confraternity has to be present at the funeral and to pray for the departed (9); everyone has to make his last will three months after his reception; dissensions among brothers and sisters or other persons are to be settled peaceably; if any troubles arise with local authorities the ministers ought to act with the counsel of the bishop (10). No heretic or anyone suspected of heresy can be received, and women only with the consent of their husbands (11); the ministers have to denounce shortcomings to the visitor, who will punish the culprits; every year two new ministers and a treasurer are to be elected; no point of the rule obliges under pain of sin (12). On account of the prohibition of arms and unnecessary oaths, the followers of this rule came into conflict with local authorities, a fact of which we have evidence in many papal Bulls all through the thirteenth century, issued to safeguard the privileges of the Tertiaries (see list of these Bulls in Mandonnet, "Les Règles", 146-47).

Wadding ("Annales Min." ad a. 1321, n. 13) gives another longer redaction of the rule, which is almost identical with the one solemnly confirmed by Nicholas IV through the Bull "Supra montem", 17 August 1289. This last form has for long been considered as the work of St. Francis, whilst Karl Müller denied any connection of St. Francis with it. If we compare the rule published and approved by Nicholas IV with the oldest text of 1221, we see that they substantially agree, slight modifications and different dispositions of chapters (here 20 in number) excepted. Through a most interesting text published by Golubovich (Arch. Franc. Hist., II, 1909, 20) we know now that this Rule of Nicholas IV was approved on the petition of some Italian Tertiaries. Another publication by Guerrini (Arch. Franc. Hist., I, 1908, 544 sq.) proves that there existed in the thirteenth century Third Order Confraternities with quite different rules. On the whole, it can safely be affirmed that until Nicholas IV there was no Rule of the Third Order generally observed, but besides the one quoted above, and probably the most widely spread, there were others of more local character. The same might be said as to the government of the confraternities. Besides their own officials, they had to have a visitor, who seems to have been usually appointed by the bishop. In 1247 Innocent IV ordered that the Friars Minor were to assume the direction of the Tertiaries in Italy and Sicily (Bull Franc. , I, 464), but about twenty years later when St. Bonaventure wrote his question: "Why do not the Friars Minor promote the Order of 'Penitents'?" (Op. om., VIII, 368) the contrary had practically prevailed. Nicholas IV introduced unity of rule and of direction into the Third Order, which henceforward was entrusted to the care of the Friars Minor.

If we except a few points, bearing especially on fasts and abstinence, mitigated by Clement VII in 1526 and Pope Paul III in 1547, the Rule as given by Nicholas IV remained in vigour till 1883, when Leo XIII, himself a tertiary, through the Apostolic Constitution "Misericors Dei Filius", modified the text, adapting it more to the modern state and needs of the society. All substantial points, however, remained; only the daily vocal prayers were reduced, as also the fasts and abstinences, whilst the former statute of confession and communion thrice a year was changed into monthly communion. Other points of the modified Rule of Leo XIII are of great social and religious importance, such as the prohibition of pomp in dressing, of frequenting theatres of doubtful character, and keeping and reading papers and books at variance with faith and morals. The direction is entrusted to the three branches of the First Order: Friars Minor, Conventuals, Capuchins, and to the Regular Third Order. By delegation, confraternities can be established and directed by any parish priest. Those who for serious reasons cannot join a confraternity may be received as single tertiaries. Finally, great spiritual privileges are granted to all members of the Third Order.

Influence; notable members

The beneficent influence of the secular Third Order of St. Francis cannot be highly enough appreciated. Through the prohibition against carrying arms a deadly blow was given to the feudal system and to the ever-fighting factions of Italian municipalities; through the admission of poor and rich, nobles and common people, the social classes were brought nearer each other.

How far the religious ideal of St. Francis was carried out by the secular Third Order we may judge from the great number of saints and blessed of every condition it has produced. It may suffice to mention: St. Elizabeth of Hungary; St. Louis, King of France; St. Ferdinand, King of Castile; St. Elizabeth of Portugal; St. Rosa of Viterbo; St. Margaret of Cortona; St. Thomas More; Blessed Umiliana Cerchi; Blessed Angela of Foligno; Blessed Raymond Lull; Blessed Luchesius of Poggibonsi, whom tradition holds to be the first tertiary received by St. Francis, later joined in the Order by his wife, Buonadonna, who chose not the follow the traditional method of conversion of life and separate to enter monasteries, but continued as a married couple; Ivo of Kermartin; Bl. Jean-Baptiste Vianney, the curé of Ars; of names celebrated in history for literature, arts, politics, inventions, etc., Dante, Giotto, Petrarch, Cola di Rienzo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Galvani, Volta, Garcia Moreno, Liszt, and Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII were members of the Third Order, as also was Pope Pius X.[citation needed]

20th century

Since the adaptation of the rule by Leo XIII, the Third Order has grown more active than ever. In the early 20th century total number of members was esteemed about two and a half millions, spread all over the world. National and local congresses have been held in different countries: seven in the period from 1894 to 1908 in France, others in Belgium, some in Italy, the first general congress in Assisi (1895), many local ones from 1909 to 1911; others have been held in Spain, the last one at Santiago in 1909; in Argentina the last one at Buenos Aires in 1906; in India, Canada, and in Germany and Austria, in the last two instances in connection with general congresses of Catholics. There exist almost in all civilized languages numerous monthly periodicals which, whilst keeping up the union amongst the different confraternities, serve also for the instruction and edification of its members. The "Acta Ordinis Frat. Min.", XXVI, Quaracchi, 1907, 255-58, gives the names of 122 such periodicals. French periodicals are indicated by P. B. Ginnet, O.F.M., "Le Tiers Ordre et le Prêtre", Vanves, 1911, p. 51 sq.; German periodicals by Moll, O.F.M. Cap., "Wegweiser in die Literatur des Dritten Ordens", Ratisbon, 1911. In Italy even a regular newspaper was founded, "Rinascita Francescana", Bologna, 1910; another in Germany, "Allgemeine deutsche Tertiaren-Zeitung", Wiesbaden, 1911.—We may mention also the special organs for directors of the Third Order, e.g. "Der Ordensdirektor", published at Innsbruck by the Tyrolese Franciscans, "Revue sacerdotale du Tiers-Ordre de Saint François", published by French Capuchins. Both reviews appear once every two months.

In 1978, under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, a new Rule of Life was written and approved. Under this new Rule, the tertiaries of the Franciscan movement were removed from under the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular, and set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. This was the first time in the nearly-eight hundred year history of the Third Order that they were fully independent and self-governing. The new Rule focused on the place of the Secular Franciscan as taking part of the work of spreading the Gospel as men and women fully engaged in the sphere of regular—usually married—life in the world. The current (2009) Minister General is Emmanuela del Pozo of Spain.

A new set of Constitutions were written and approved in 1990 by the General Chapter of the Order held in Madrid, Spain to clarify the new reality given through the revised Rule. These were done on an experimental basis, so that they could be disseminated through the Order and their viability be clarified. In A.D. 2000, the appropriate agencies of the Catholic Church, in the name of Pope John Paul II, gave the official approval to the final form of the Constitutions, with an effective date of February 8, 2001.

This process brought to a close the renewed status of the Order, now to be known as the Secular Franciscan Order (abbreviated as S.F.O. or O.F.S.) in compliance with the challenge of Vatican II. The present worldwide membership of the Order is estimated to be four hundred thousand.

Third Order Regular

Origin and development till Leo X

The origin of the Regular Third Order, both male and female, possibly was rooted in the lifetime of St. Francis. His first official biographer, Thomas of Celano, lists hermits as among the categories of lifestyle of those who flocked to follow the Saint. The organized form of this life, though, can be more reliably traced back to the second half of the thirteenth century, but no precise date can be indicated. It was organized, in different forms, in the Netherlands, in the south of France, in Germany, and in Italy. Probably some secular tertiaries, who in many cases had their house of meeting, gradually withdrew entirely from the world and so formed religious communities, but without the three substantial vows of religious orders. Other religious associations such as the Beguines (women) and Beghards (men) in the Low Countries, sometimes passed over to the Third Order, as has been clearly shown.

Towards the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century some suspicion of heretical opinions fell on some of these free religious unions of the Third Order (bizocchi), as we can infer from the Bull of John XXII "Sancta Romana", December, 1317 (Bull. Franc., V, 134). More than a century later St. John of Capistran (1456) had to defend the Tertiaries in a special treatise: "Defensorium tertii ordinis d. Francisci", printed with other minor works of the saint at Venice in 1580.

Throughout the fourteenth century, the regular tertiaries of both sexes had in the most cases no common organization; only in the following century we can observe single well-ordered religious communities with solemn vows and a common head. Pope Martin V submitted in 1428 all tertiaries, regular and secular, to the direction of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor (Bull. Franc., VII, 715), but this disposition was soon revoked by his successor Pope Eugene IV. We meet thus in the same fifteenth century with numerous independent male congregations of regular tertiaries with the three vows in Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and in the Netherlands. Contemporaneously there existed sister congregations of the Third Order with solemn vows, for instance, the Grey Sisters of the Third Order, serving in hospitals, spread in France and the Netherlands, whose remarkable statutes of 1483 have recently been published by Henri Lemaître in Arch. Franc. Hist. IV, 1911, 713-31, and the congregation--still existing--founded at Foligno in 1397 by Blessed Angelina of Marsciano (1435). Leo X, to introduce uniformity into the numerous congregations, gave in 1521 a new form to the Rule, now in ten chapters, retaining of the Rule as published by Nicholas IV all that could serve the purpose, adding new points, especially the three solemn vows, and insisting on subjection to the First Order of St. Francis. For this last disposition the Rule of Leo X met with resistance, and never was accepted by some congregations, whilst it serves till the present day as the basis of the constitutions of many later congregations, especially of numerous communities of sisters.

Single congregations after Leo X

The two Italian congregations, the Lombardic and Sicilian, which had constituted themselves in the course of the fifteenth century, were united by Pope Paul III, and since Sixtus V enjoyed entire independence from the First Order. It had then already 11 provinces.

In the seventeenth century the congregations of Dalmatia and the Netherlands (of Zeppern) were united with the Italian family. In 1734 Clement XIII confirmed their statutes. Whilst the French Revolution swept away all similar congregations, the Italian survived with four provinces, of which one was in Dalmatia. In 1906 a small congregation of Tertiary lay brothers in the Balearic Islands and a little later two convents with colleges in the United States joined the same congregation, which in 1908 numbered about 360 members.

The dress is that of the Conventuals, from whom they can hardly be distinguished. The residence of the minister-general is at Rome, near the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. After the time of Pope Leo X, the Spanish congregation often had troubles on the question of its submission to the First Order. After Pius V (1568) had put the whole Third Order again under the care of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor, the superiors of the three provinces constituted in Spain could, after 1625, partake at the General Chapters of the Friars Minor and since 1670 they have had even a definitor-general to represent them.

The French congregation, named from their house at Paris "of Picpus", was reformed by V. Mussart (d. 1637), and maintained close ties with the First Order till its extinction in the French Revolution. A well-known member of this congregation is Hyppolit Helyot, the author of an important history of the religious orders. In 1768 it had four provinces with 61 convents and 494 religious.

Other congregations of Tertiaries existed after the fifteenth century in Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Ireland and England. They perished either at the time of the Reformation or in the French Revolution. We may mention also the Obregonians, the "Bons-Fils" 'Good Sons' in northern France founded in 1615, and the "Penitents gris" at Paris after the sixteenth century, all now extinct. In the nineteenth century some new congregations arose, e.g. the Poor Brothers of St. Francis, the Brothers of St. Francis at Waldbreitbach (Rhine) after 1860, the "Frati bigi", founded in 1884 at Naples by Ludovic of Casoria, O.F.M. The most of these modern tertiary communities consist only of lay brothers and depend on their diocesan bishop.

Congregations of Sisters

Whilst Leo X in the reform of the rule had left it free to the congregations to adopt papal enclosure or not, Pius V (1568) prescribed it to all convents of tertiary sisters with solemn vows. Still this order was not carried out everywhere. In this regard the custom prevailed that the Friars Minor refused to take the direction of those convents which had only episcopal enclosure. Besides those already mentioned above, we may add the different offshoots of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and France (there, under the name of Soeurs du Refuge, some of them still exist). The first Ursulines, also, founded by St. Angela Merici (1540), belonged to the Third Order.

In the nineteenth century many of the new congregations adopted the Rule of the Third Order, but most of them have no further connection with the First Order. Many of them have widely varying names; a good many are of mere local character, others again are of international importance. As to their activities, almost all dedicate themselves to works of charity, either in hospitals, homes, or ateliers; others work in schools, not a few are in foreign missions. We can give here scarcely more than a list of the names, with the dates of the foundation.

In Germany there are the Poor Sisters of St. Francis, founded 1845 (1851) by M. Schervier at Aachen, with some houses in America; the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, founded in 1857 at Eupen, Diocese of Cologne; the Franciscan Sisters, at Münster, Westphalia, founded in 1850; the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration, at Olpe, Diocese of Paderborn (1857); the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at Salzkotten, near Paderborn (1863); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order, at Thuine, Diocese of Osnabrück (1869); the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis, at Waldbreitbach, Diocese of Trier (1863); the Franciscan Sisters at Nonnenwerth, an island on the Rhine, founded in 1872 at Heythuizen in Holland; Franciscan Sisters of Maria-Stern, at Augsburg, whose first foundation can be followed back to the thirteenth century; Franciscan Sisters at Dillingen, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fourteenth century; the Poor Franciscan Sisters, at Mallersdorf, Diocese of Ratisbon (1855); the Congregation of Ursperg (1897); the Franciscan Sisters of Kaufbeuren, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fifteenth century, to which had belonged Blessed Crescentia Hess (1744). In the Diocese of Rottenburg, in Wurtemberg, we note the communities of Bonlanden near Erolzheim (1855); of Heiligenbronn (1857); of the Sisters of Christian Charity, at Reute, founded 1849 at the same place where in the fifteenth century Blessed Elizabeth of Reute, called also the "good Beta" (d. 1420), had professed the Third Order; the Franciscan Sisters of Sussen (1853). In Baden is noteworthy the Congregation of Gengenbach (1867), since 1876 also in the United States, Joliet, Illinois. At Mainz there is the Convent of Perpetual Adoration (1860).

In Austria-Hungary were the School Sisters of the Third Order (1723), with mother-houses at Hallein, Diocese of Salzburg, at Vienna (III), and at Judenau, Diocese of Sankt Pölten; the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Vienna (V), (1857); the Poor School Sisters at Voklabruck, Diocese of Linz (1850); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order of St. Francis at Troppau, Diocese of Olmütz (1853); Congregation of School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Mahrisch-Trubau, Diocese of Olmütz (1851); the School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Marburg on the Drau, Diocese of Lavant (1864); the Grey Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Prague (I), 1856; and three small communities in Tyrol.

In Luxembourg there is the Congregation of Pfaffental; the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis with the mother-house in Luxembourg City, and communities in Sweden and the Carolines. In Holland there are the Congregations of Roosendaal, of Breda, of Heythuizen, all of which have communities in foreign missions; lastly the Congregation of Heerlen. In Belgium there exist, besides the old congregation of the Grey Sisters of Hospitals (see above) at Antwerp, Zoutleeuw, Tienen, Hasselt, and Tongeren, the more recent communities of Ghent (founded 1701), of Hérines, Diocese of Mechelen, of Macon-lez-Chimay, of Opwijk, Diocese of Mechelen (1845).

In Switzerland there once existed many congregations of the Third Order, and even now there are several convents of strict enclosure. Of the active congregations the most noteworthy are the two founded by the Capuchin Theodosius Florentini, viz. the Sisters of the Holy Cross for schools, with mother-house at Menzingen (1844), with numerous convents outside Switzerland, and the Sisters of the Holy Cross for hospital work (1852), with mother-house at Ingenbohl.

In France, before the last suppression of convents, there were about fifty communities of the Third Order; the most important was that of the Missionaries of Mary, founded by Mother de Chapotin de Neuville (d.1904) in India, with actual mother-house at Rome, with communities spread all over the world.

In Italy there are the Stigmatins, founded near Florence by Mother Lapini (d. 1860); the Sisters of Egypt, for missionary work, with mother-house at Rome; the Sisters of Gemona, Italy; finally, the Sisters of the Child Jesus, with mother-house at Assisi. On the whole, the sisters professing the Rule of the Third Order amount at least to 50,000.

The Regular Third Order produced two saints, Hyacintha of Mariscotti, and Crescentia Hoss of Kaufbeuren, and four Blessed: Lucia of Callagirone, Elizabeth of Reute, Angelina of Marsciomo, Jeremias Lambertenghi.

Third Order of St. Francis in Canada

The Third Order of St. Francis was established by the Friars Minor Recollects at Quebec in 1671, and some years later at Three Rivers and Montreal. Considering the sparse population of the country, it was in a flourishing condition. In 1681 a Recollect notes that "many pious people of Quebec belong to the Third Order".

After the cession of Canada to England, the Third Order, deprived of its directors, the Recollects, seemed to have disappeared gradually, only to flourish anew thirty years after the death at Montreal, 1813, of the last Recollect priest.

The Third Order was re-established about 1840 by Mgr Ignatius Bourget, Bishop of Montreal. Fervent fellow-labourers helped the holy prelate to spread the Third Order in Montreal, notably Canon J.A. Paré and the Sulpicians C. E. Gilbert and A. Giband. Mgr Bourget established a fraternity of women, 6 May, 1863, and one of men, 13 June, 1866; both were directed by the Sulpicians till 1874, by Canon P. E. Dufresne from 1874 till 1881, by the Jesuits from 1881 till 1888, and by the Sulpicians from 1888 till 1890; since then by the Friars Minor. Mgr Fabre, successor to Bishop Bourget, in a letter (3 September, 1882) to the priests and faithful of his diocese, says: "We have in our midst the tertiaries of St. Francis, who are known to you all by the edification they give, and by the good odour of all the virtues which they practise in the world." The Third Order was reintroduced at Quebec almost at the same time as at Montreal. On 19 November, 1859, Father Flavian Durocher, O.M.I., received the profession of two women, after a year's novitiate. These were joined by others, until in 1876 Quebec possessed over 2000 tertiaries, while in the Province of Quebec several parishes had groups of tertiaries. Among priests zealous for the spread of the Third Order at this epoch we must name, besides the above-mentioned Montreal priests: Father Durocher, St. Sauveur, Quebec; L. N. Begin, now Archbishop of Quebec; James Sexton, Quebec; Oliver Caron, Vicar-General of Three Rivers; E. H. Guilbert, Léon Abel Provancher, and G. Fraser, all three of the Quebec diocese. Father Provancher was one of the most zealous. In 1866, having received faculties from the General of the Friars Minor, he established a very fervent fraternity in his parish of Portneuf. He propagated the Third Order by his writings. For two years he edited a review, in which he published nearly every month an article on the Third Order, or answered questions appertaining thereto. At that epoch (1876) the brothers' fraternity at Montreal counted 137 members; the sisters, a still greater number. At Three Rivers the tertiaries were less numerous—enough, however, to form a fraternity a little later. Quebec with its 200 tertiaries did not have a fraternity till 1882.

In 1881 the arrival in Canada of Father Frederic of Ghyvelde gave new spirit to the Third Order. He spent eight months in Canada, and worked actively for the Third Order. He began at Quebec, where he held the Holy Visit prescribed by the rule and admitted 100 new members. At Three Rivers he found "a numerous and fervent fraternity". His visit to the fraternities of Montreal was followed by a notable increase in membership. Shortly afterwards Leo XIII published his Encyclicals on the Third Order. The Canadian bishops, in obedience to the pope's wishes, recommended the Third Order to their clergy and faithful. But the Friars of the First Order alone could give the Third a fitting development; hence, when Father Frederic returned in 1888, several bishops, among them Bishop Louis-Francois Richer Lafleche of Three Rivers and Archbishop Taschereau, welcomed him as its promoter. The foundation of a convent of Friars Minor at Montreal in 1890 inaugurated a new era of prosperity for the Third Order. The Franciscans took over the direction of the Third Order at Montreal. The fraternities of other districts were visited regularly, and new ones were formed. The Third Order has since spread rapidly. To-day the Third Order in Canada numbers nearly 200 fraternities with over 50,000 members, under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor. The Capuchins have a small number of fraternities. The Friars Minor have also the direction of 20 fraternities with 5000 members in the Franco-Canadian centres of the United States. All these large numbers of isolated tertiaries give a total of nearly 60,000. These tertiaries are mostly French Canadians. There are very few fraternities for English-speaking tertiaries; of these there are two very flourishing ones at Montreal. It is in the Province of Quebec that the Third Order is most flourishing. Three monthly reviews, treating specially of the Third Order, are published in Canada: (1) "La Revue du Tiers Ordre", founded in 1884 by the tertiaries of Montreal, and directed since 1891 by the Friars Minor of that city; (2) "The Franciscan Review and St. Anthony's Record", founded in 1905 by the Friars Minor of Montreal; (3) "L'Echo de St. François", published since 1911 by the Capuchins of Ottawa. The principal social works of the Third Order in Canada are: three houses of the Third Order in Montreal and one in Quebec, directed by lady tertiaries; a lodging-house and an industrial school at Montreal, directed also by lady tertiaries; several work-rooms for the benefit of the poor; and public libraries, one in Quebec and two in Montreal.

The Third Order Regular is represented in Canada by three flourishing institutions:

A. Little Franciscan Sisters of Mary, founded at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1889 and transferred to Baie-St-Paul, Canada, in 1891; their constitutions were approved in 1903. They follow the Rule of the Third Order Regular. Their habit comprises a brown tunic and scapular, a white hood and wimple, and a white woollen cord; they wear a silver crucifix. Work.—Assistance of the sick, the poor, the aged, of orphans and instruction of the young—in a word, all the works of mercy. Development.—This congregation possesses 8 houses, nearly all in the United States. The mother house is at Baie-St-Paul, Province of Quebec, Canada. The institution numbers 150 professed sisters, 7 novices, 30 postulants, and 8 associates.

B. Franciscan missionaries of Mary, founded in India, and following the Rule of the Third Order Regular. They have six houses in Canada: (1) Quebec, founded 1892; novitiate, perpetual adoration, printing, embroidery, workshop, house of probation for aspirants, patronage, visiting the sick. (2) St. Anne of Beaupré (1894); patronage, workshop, hospitality for pilgrims, visiting the sick. (3) St. Lawrence, Manitoba (1897); boarding-school, parochial schools, dispensary, visiting the sick. (4) Pine Creek, Manitoba (1899); school, model farm, dispensary, visiting the sick. (5) St. Malo, Quebec (1902); day nursery, primary schools, school of domestic economy, dispensary, pharmacy, visiting the sick. (6) Winnipeg (1909); day nursery, embroidery, patronage, visiting the poor and the hospitals. These houses possess 150 sisters, novices included. Since its establishment in Canada, the congregation has had 290 Canadian members, many of whom are now engaged in mission work in China, Japan, India, Ceylon, Congo, Zululand, Natal, Mozambique, Madagascar, and South America. The mother-house of Quebec has founded six others in the United States: Woonsocket in 1904; New York and New Bedford in 1906; Boston in 1907; Providence in 1909; Fall River in 1910.

C. Religious of St. Francis of Assisi, founded at Lyons, France, in 1838. Their object is the care of the sick and of orphans and the education of the young. They were introduced into Canada in 1904, and have at present 5 houses, comprising a hospital, a boarding-school for girls, and model and elementary schools.

Third Order of St. Francis in the United Kingdom

In its earlier structure, the Third Order Secular comprised ninety-six fraternities, of which forty were under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor and fifty-four under that of the Friars Minor Capuchin, with about 12,000 members, among whom included several diocesan bishops, a number of the clergy, and laity of all ranks. In their organization, the British tertiary congregations follow the common rule, but many of them add some corporal works of mercy, reclaiming negligent Catholics, and so forth.

All the tertiaries were governed by a Commissary Provincial, who would be appointed by the Minister Provincial of the friars of the First Order. His duty was to grant the necessary faculties to directors of congregations, to hold visitations, and generally supervise the affairs of the Third Order under his jurisdiction. A national conference of British tertiaries with a view to strengthening and consolidating the order, was held in 1898 at Liverpool in the hall attached to the Jesuit church, and was presided over by the bishop of the diocese. The opening address was delivered by the Archbishop of Paris. A second national conference was held at Leeds. Since the institution of the English national Catholic congress, in 1910, the tertiaries have taken part in these and have had their sectional meeting in the congress.

Today (2009), as with other regions of the world, the members of the Order are self-governing, under the auspices of a national fraternity. In 2006, Leon Davidson was elected as National Minister.

Of the Third Order in Great Britain in pre-Reformation days little is known. It is, however, certain that there existed in Scotland several houses of Sisters of the Third Order Regular. Blessed Thomas More is frequently spoken of as a tertiary of St. Francis, but there seems to be no historical evidence to support this statement.

The Third Order, however, was known in England in the penal days. Fr. William Staney, the first commissary of the order in England after the Dissolution, wrote "A Treatise of the Third Order of St. Francis" (Douai, 1617). An interesting fact in connection with the Third Order in England is the appointment in 1857, as Commissary General, of Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, by letters patent, dated 10 April, 1857, given by the Minister General of the Capuchin Friars Minor, empowering him to act as "Superior, visitor and Our Commissary of each and all the brothers and sisters of the Third Order Secular dwelling in England". Among notable English tertiaries of modern times, besides Cardinal Manning, may be mentioned Cardinal Vaughan, Lady Herbert of Lea, the late Earl of Denbigh, and the poet Coventry Patmore.

The Third Order Regular was represented in England in the early 20th century by nineteen convents of Sisters and in Scotland by six convents, with no communities of Brothers. These convents belong to various congregations, most of which are of English institution. They devote themselves either to education or to parochial works of mercy or to the foreign missions.

Most notable historically amongst these congregations are the convents at Taunton and Woodchester, which represent the English convent of the Third Order established at Brussels, Belgium, in 1621. Their founder was Father Gennings, the brother of the martyr Edmund Gennings. This was, in fact, the first convent of the Third Order Regular, enclosed, founded for English women. The community later on emigrated to Bruges, where it remained until 1794, when, owing to the troubles caused by the French Revolution, it crossed over into England and, after eleven years' residence at Winchester, settled finally at Taunton in Somerset. The congregation was under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor until 1837 when, owing to the dissolution of the Recollect province, it came under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. In 1860 a second foundation was made at Woodchester.

Third Order of St. Francis in Ireland

Unlike England and Scotland, the fraternities of the Third Order Secular in Ireland were almost exclusively attached to churches of the First Order. Under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor were, in the early 20th century, fourteen fraternities, with 9741 members, and subject to the Capuchin Friars Minor there were four fraternities with 5100 members.

No current data is available (2009), but a century ago, the Third Order Regular comprised of two houses of Brothers at Clara and Farragher, and eleven in the Archdiocese of Tuam, all devoted to educational work. At Drumshambo the sisters of the order had a convent where Perpetual Adoration was maintained day and night. There was also one convent of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary.

Third Order Regular of St. Francis in the United States

Congregations of men

Third Order Regular of St. Francis

In 1847 Bishop O'Connor of Pittsburgh obtained from the Irish congregation six brothers, who founded a monastery and college at Loretto, Pennsylvania. Pius IX, by a Rescript of 12 Nov., 1847, erected this foundation into an independent congregation under the obedience of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. This congregation in 1908 joined the Italian congregation, and together with the community at Spalding, Nebraska, which in 1906 had joined the Italian congregation, was erected into a province, 24 Sept., 1910. Houses, 4; colleges, 2; religious, 62; novices, 5. (See below.)

There are currently two provinces of the Order in the United States. The larger, that of the Sacred Heart, is headquarted in Loretto, Pennsylvania. It operates parishes throughout the nation, as well as the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

The other province, Immaculate Conception, has its headquarters in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. It too runs parishes nationwide.

Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross

Starting as a member of the Third Order Secular in Germany in 1862, Brother James Wirth founded this community as an outgrowth of his service to the local town, in order to educate orphans and to take care of the poor, the sick, the suffering and willingly respond to the needs of the time. The Brothers were invited to come to the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois (also home of the cartoon character Homer Simpson) in 1928 to establish a Monastery and a Trade School. As master craftsmen, they worked at laying the foundation of an industrial trade school.

This developed to the foundation of Brother James Court, which rose from the foundation laid by the early pioneer Franciscan Brothers to become what it is today. As an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled licensed by the State of Illinois, it serves as an integral part of the state’s continuum of care for meeting the needs of the developmentally disabled. Admission to Brother James Court is open to developmentally disabled adult males regardless of race, creed, or national origin.

Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York

Founded 31 May, 1858, by 2 brothers from the Irish congregation, Pius IX, by a Rescript of 15 Dec., 1859, erected it into an independent congregation. The ordinary of the Diocese of Brooklyn is the superior-general, and governs the congregation through a provincial superior with an assistant and ten consultors, chosen by the brothers from among themselves for a term of three years. Brothers, 67; novices, 8; academy, 1; college, 1; schools, 14; pupils, 9875. (See below.)

In 1989, the Pope raised the congregation to one of Pontifical Right, making them independent of the local bishop, almost entirely subject only to the Holy See. They currently are the largest congregation of Religious Brothers in the United States.

Franciscan Missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Founded in Poland in 1888, this congregation of Brothers focuses on medical care. They established a longterm medical care facility in the U.S. in 1927 to extend their service. Located in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, they now operate a hospital and nursing home for mentally disadvanted men and boys, as well as Price Memorial Hall, a nursing home open to both men and women.

Congregations of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis Seraphicus

Founded 25 Dec., 1857, at Aachen by John However for the protection and education of poor, homeless boys, it was introduced into the United States in 1866. Brothers, 43; novices, 5; postulants, 3; candidates, 13; homes for boys, 2.

Franciscan Brothers of Ireland

The Irish congregation of Brothers from which the friars of the T.O.R. sprang, has maintained a presence in the U.S. since the 1970's. Originally working both in the Bronx, New York and California, they now serve only on the West Coast.

Congregations of women

Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Oldenburg, Indiana. Founded in 1851 by Rev. F. J. Rudolf, its rules and constitutions were approved by the Holy See. Sisters, 536; novices, 41; postulants, 7; schools, 67; pupils, 12,273.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. St. Clare, Clinton, Iowa. Founded in 1867 by Rt. Rev. Bishop Lavialle of Louisville, Kentucky. Sisters, 130; novices and postulants, 40; hospital, 1; schools, 16; pupils, 2590.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with motherhouse at Glen Riddle (now Aston), Pennsylvania. Founded by the Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Philadelphia, who on 9 April, 1855, invested three devout women, Marianne Bachmann (Mother M. Francis), Barbara Boll (Sister M. Margaret), and Anna Dorn (Sister M. Bernardina), with the habit of St. Francis. In 1896 the mother-house was transferred from Philadelphia to Glen Riddle. This congregation is divided into three provinces. Houses, 80; sisters, 818; novices, 48; postulants, 15; academies, 4; seminaries, 2; orphan asylums, 9; hospitals, 12; schools, 42; schools for Indians and negroes, 8. By and from this congregation were established (i) Congregation with mother-house at 337 Pine Street, Buffalo, New York in 1861. Sisters, 277; novices, 30; postulants, 16; asylums for aged, 3; schools, 30; pupils, 6540; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 2. From this congregation were founded A. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. Alvernia, Millvale Station, Pennsylvania, in 1868. Sisters, 210; novices, 17; postulants, 13; schools, 14; pupils, 6429; orphan asylum, 1; hospital, 1; home for ladies, 1. B. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. Hope, Westchester Co., New York, 1893. Legal title: Sisters of St. Francis, Conventuals of the Third Order of the M.I.V. Sisters, 182; novices, 19; postulants, 9; academy, 1; schools, 6; (ii) Congregation with mother-house at St. Anthony's Convent, Syracuse, New York, 1862. Sisters, 173; novices, 9; candidates, 6; schools, 17; pupils, 4500; hospitals, 3; home for aged, 1; home for children, 1; convents at Hawaiian Islands, 4.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Hospital, Peoria, Illinois; founded in 1877 by Rt. Rev. John L. Spalding, Bishop of Peoria, and sisters from the House of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany. Sisters, 163; novices, 38; postulants, 26; hospitals, 10; patients, 5320.
  3. Congregation with mother-house at Tiffin, Ohio. Founded in 1867 by Rev. J. L. Bihn. Sisters, 56; novices, 9; postulants, 4; hospital, 1; orphan asylums, 2; homes for aged, 2; schools, 13.
  4. Congregation with provincial house at Peekskill, New York. Founded by Mother M. Gertrude and two sisters from the general mother-house, Gemona, Italy, who, at the request of Rev. Andrew Feifer, O.F.M., came to this country in 1865. Sisters, 284; novices, 18; postulants, 15; academy, 1; schools, 18; day nurseries, 3; institution for destitute children, 1; home for working girls, 1; children in charge of sisters, 7768.
  5. Congregation with mother-house at Bay Settlement, Wisconsin, founded 6 Dec., 1867. Sisters, 35.

Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.[3] Congregation with mother-house at St. Elizabeth's Convent, Allegany, New York. Founded in 1857 by Very Rev. Pamfilo di Magliano, O.F.M. Sisters, 300; novices, 25; postulants, 12; schools, 11; hospitals, 2; homes, 4.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Convent, Dubuque, Iowa. Founded in 1876 by Mother Xaveria Termehr and sisters from the house of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany, who on account of the infamous "May laws", were compelled to leave Germany. Sisters, 399; novices, 34; postulants, 20; orphan asylums, 2; industrial school, 1; academy, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 43; pupils, 6829.
  3. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Hospital, Maryville, Missouri. Founded with the approbation of Rt. Rev. M. F. Burke, Bishop of St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1894. Sisters, 45; novices, 7; postulants, 1; hospitals, 6.

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Stella Niagara, near Lewiston, New York. Established in 1874 by Mother M. Aloysia and three sisters from Nonnenwerth, near Rolandseck, Rhenish Prussia, Germany. Sisters 253; academies, 5; schools, 18; pupils, 6348; orphan asylum, 1; Indian schools, 2; pupils, 577; foundling-house, 1.

Franciscan Sisters

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Grand Avenue and Chippewa Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1872 by sisters from the general mother-house at Salzkotten, Germany. Sisters, 224; hospitals, 6, schools, 1; orphan asylums, 2; house of providence, 1; convent, 1;
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Mill Hill, London, England, for coloured missions. Introduced into the United States in 1881. Sisters, 58; industrial school, 1; parochial schools, 4; pupils, 765.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Mercy Hospital, Burlington, Iowa. Sisters, 22; hospital, 1.

Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Convent, Buffalo, New York. Sisters, 58; novices, 16; postulants, 21.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, M.C.

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis, Wisconsin. Founded in 1849 by sisters from Bavaria. Its rules and constitutions were compiled by Rev. M. Heiss in 1852, and approved by Rt. Rev. J. M. Henni, Bishop of Milwaukee. In June, 1873, this congregation was affiliated to the Order of Minor Conventuals, and Pius X on 6 Dec., 1911, gave it its definite approbation. Sisters, 303; novices, 22; postulants, 30; academy, 1; orphanage, 1; institute for deaf mutes, 1; for feeble minded, 1; schools, 36; pupils, 4500.

School Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Greenfield and Twenty-Second Avenues, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sisters conduct schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Oregon. There are two branch-houses of this congregation in Europe, one in Luxembourg, and other at Erlenbad, Baden. Sisters, 814.

Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Founded by six sisters from Bavaria, and rules compiled in 1853 by Most Rev. M. Heiss, Archbishop of Milwaukee. The Perpetual Adoration was introduced in 1878. Sisters, 420; novices, 42; postulants, 40; schools, 63; pupils, 8448; orphan asylums, 2; Indian school, 1; domestic science schools, 2.

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Holy Family Convent, Alverno, Wisconsin. Founded in 1869 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Rev. Joseph Fessler, it was affiliated to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual 19 March, 1900. Sisters, 303; novices, 40; postulants, 10; hospitals, 2; home for aged, 1; schools, 53; pupils, 8500.

Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Hospital, Joliet, Illinois. Founded in 1867 at Avilla, Indiana, by sisters from Germany. Sisters, 325; novices, 40; postulants, 12; hospitals, 10; home for aged, 1; orphan asylum, 1; schools, 9.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Convent, Nevada, Missouri. Established in 1893 by Sister M. John Hau and sisters from the mother-house at Grimmenstein, Switzerland. Sisters, 25; orphan asylum, 1.

Hospital Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with provincial house at St. John's Hospital, Springfield, Illinois. Founded in 1875 by sisters from the general mother-house, Münster, Germany. Sisters, 299; novices, 29; postulants, 11; hospitals, 12.

The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with provincial house at St. Francis Convent, Lafayette, Indiana. Introduced into this country in 1875 by sisters from the general mother-house at Olpe, Germany. Sisters, 613; novices, 35; postulants, 21; academies, 3; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 36; hospitals, 18; high schools, 2.

Franciscan Sisters of the Poor

Headquarted in Brooklyn, New York, these Sisters were established in this country in 1868, as part of the work of Blessed Mary Frances Schervier. Within seven years of the congregation's founding, they came to New York City and Ohio to serve the needs of the large German emigrant communities in those areas. In 1959, they separated from the European congregation to become an independent one.

They serve thoughout the Eastern and Midwestern region of the country, as well overseas.

Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda (Polish)

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1896. Sisters, 107; novices, 22; postulants, 18; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged and crippled, 1; day-nursery, 1; schools, 11; pupils, 2070.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Chicago Heights, Illinois. Foundation of English-speaking Franciscan Sisters. Sisters, 17.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1890. Sisters, 47; novices, 20; postulants, 17; schools, 6; homes, 2; asylum, 1.

Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Rome, Italy. The sisters conduct establishments in the Archdioceses of New York and Boston, the Diocese of Newark, Pittsburgh, and Savannah.

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Little Falls, Minnesota. Sisters, 60; postulants, 3; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 3.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Anthony's Hospital, Rock Island, Illinois. Sisters, 18; novices, 6.

Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

  1. Congregation was founded in St. Louis, Missouri on 29 May, 1901, by three women of faith,Sister Solana Leczna, Sister Ernestine Matz, and Sister Hilaria Matz, members of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Joliet, Illinois. Responding to the needs of the immigrants for Polish speaking Sisters, these three separated from the Joliet Franciscans to remain at St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis, a parish consisting of 2300 parishioners with over 600 children in the school.

In the early twentieth century, the vision of the Sisters’ broadened beyond only Polish-speaking parishes to include staffing other schools in predominantly rural parishes in Missouri and Illinois. In 1906, Mother Solana signed a court document giving the Sisterhood an official title the “Polish Franciscan School Sisters of St. Louis.” The community was known by that name for over twenty years.

From 1907 to 1957, the Sisters’ central headquarters was the Motherhouse at 3419 Gasconade Street in South St. Louis. Additions were made to accommodate the growing needs of a number of sisters. During those 50 years, the ministry expanded to include schools in all parts of the country.

By the early 1940s the Sisters ministered in elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana and New Mexico working with African American and Hispanic students, and teaching, counseling and social work with the impoverished families at the Catholic Indian Center in Gallup, New Mexico. The initial apostolate of education was expanded in 1953 to include work in the health care ministry with the acquisition of hospitals in Green Springs, Ohio, and Humboldt, Tennessee. In the early 1960s, the Sisters responded to an invitation from the Bishop of Thailand to teach English and provide religious instruction to children. The Sisters taught at the Star of the Sea (School for Girls), the Congregation’s first “foreign mission” in Phuket, Thailand for seven years.

In the 1990s, escalating retirement needs and costs, and the expansion of the airport influenced major decisions for the Sisters. Bound by a common heart rather than a common place or work, and in the poverty of spirit for the sake of mission, the Sisters divested of the Motherhouse and property in Ferguson. They built administrative offices in Kirkwood, Missouri, and the sisters moved into apartments, convents and homes, allowing the Sisters to live and work among God’s people.

The Sisters’ mission is to be a transforming presence in society through witnessing Gospel values. They strive to be prayerful women of faith, prophetic vision and courage. In the words of one of the foundresses, Mother Ernestine Matz, “There is no place too far, no service too humble, and no person too lowly.”

Currently, the congregational headquarters are at 335 S. Kirkwood Road, in Kirkwood Missouri, 63122. Website is www.franciscansisters-olph.org. 100 Sisters minister in 14 states in education, healthcare, social services and parish ministry.

Felician Sisters, O.S.F.

  1. Congregation with general mother-house, Cracow, Austria. Founded in 1855 by Sophia Truszkowska at Warsaw, Russia. Introduced into the United States in 1874.
  2. Western Province of the Presentation B.V.M. Mother-house, Detroit, Michigan. Sisters, 273; novices, 30; postulants, 55; candidates in preparatory course, 65; schools, 33; pupils, 12,500; orphan asylum, 1.
  3. Eastern Province. Mother-house at Buffalo, New York, established 20 Aug., 1900. Choir Sisters, 278; novices, 32; postulants, 93; lay sisters, 66; novices, 6; postulants, 21; candidates in preparatory course, 73; schools, 55; pupils, 21,556; orphan asylums, 2; home for aged, 1; emigrant home, 1; working-girls' home, 1; day nursery, 1.
  4. North-western Province of the Presentation B. V. M. Mother-house, St. Joseph's Orphanage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, established 1910. Sisters, 170; novices, 17; postulants, 27; schools, 24; pupils, 6482; orphan asylums, 3.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes

  1. Mother-house, Rochester, Minnesota. Established 1877 by sisters of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. Sisters, 336; novices, 9; postulants, 16; academies, 5; normal school, 1; schools, 20; pupils, 5767; hospitals, 1; nurses' training school, 1.

Mixed congregations

Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis was a third order founded in 1996 by members of the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minnesota.

Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prior to 1906, several communities of the Third Order existed in the United States, all lay institutes dedicated to teaching and other works of charity. Amongst these were three branches of Franciscan Brothers: at Brooklyn, New York; at Loretto, Pennsylvania; and at Spalding, Nebraska. The communities at Loretto and Brooklyn were founded more than half a century ago from Mount Bellew Monastery, Archdiocese of Tuam, Ireland; Spalding Institute was a branch of the Brooklyn community.

In 1905 Brother Linus Lynch, then superior of the institute, asked the ordinary of the diocese for permission to have some of his subjects ordained priests. This request the bishop refused, as the community had been introduced into the diocese for the care of parish schools, and he feared that in the event of its members becoming priests this work would suffer. A petition was then sent to the minister-general, Rt. Rev. Angelus de Mattia, asking for union with the third Order Regular; as this union could not be effected, some of the community determined to ask for a dispensation from their vows in order to enter the institute. In 1907 fifteen were dispensed; these, together with eleven novices, went to Spalding, Nebraska, where a small community of brothers had been united to the order in 1906. They were received by Very Rev. Dr. Stanislaus Dujmoric, commissary-general, and by dispensation of Pius X from the ordinary year of probation they made the vows of the order. A college was then opened at Spalding, giving the order its first house in the United States.

In 1908 the diocesan community of Franciscan Brothers at Loretto, Pennsylvania, were admitted to solemn profession, and eight young men were received into the novitiate.

In 1910-11 Rt. Rev. Eugene A. Garvey, D.D., Bishop of Altoona, requested the fathers to take charge of the Italian Church of St. Anthony of Padua at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Altoona, Pennsylvania. The four houses in the United States were erected into a province, 24 September, 1910, Very Rev. Dr. Jerome Zazzara being elected provincial. The Archbishop of Chicago later gave the fathers charge of Sts. Peter and Paul's Slavic Church in that city, and a new college was to be opened at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1912. The provincial mother-house is at St. Francis's College, Loretto, Pennsylvania. The American Province had five convents, two colleges, sixty-five professed members, and twenty novices and postulants.

The Third Order Secular of St. Francis

Established in the United States by the early Franciscan missionaries for the white settlers and soldiers and Indian converts, especially in the Southern and Southwestern states. A confraternity existed at Santa Fe long before 1680. Another confraternity existed in New Mexico almost from the time of the reconquest (1692-1695). The document stating this fact is a report of the Father custos, Jose Bernal, dated Santa Fe, 17 September, 1794. There is no documentary evidence of the existence of a Third Order for lay people as a regularly organized confraternity anywhere else, though we learn from documents that single individuals were termed tertiaries among the Indians. It is most probable, however, that a confraternity existed at St. Augustine, Florida, before the close of the sixteenth century, and at San Antonio, Texas, before the middle of the eighteenth century. The establishment of provinces of the order of Friars Minor brought about the establishment of many confraternities.

There were in the early 20th century 186 confraternities of Franciscan Tertiaries in the USA, with a membership of 35,605. Of these, 142 congregations with 27,805 members were under the direction of the Friars Minor, 32 with 6800 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Capuchin, and 12 congregations with 1000 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Conventual. Besides these, there were many hundreds of tertiaries throughout the US not belonging to any congregation.

Anglican order

The Society of St. Francis includes a sub-order of tertiaries, people who have taken vows and are followers of a version of the Franciscan Rule but do not live together in community.[4][5]

The Third Order, Society of St. Francis (TSSF), was founded in 1950. The TSSF consists of men and women, lay and ordained, married and single. It is divided into five provinces: Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Americas.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ See text in Tiraboschi, "Vetera humiliatorum monumenta", II, Milan, 1767, 128).
  2. ^ Such as Thomas of Celano, "Vita prima", I, 15; Julian of Speyer, "Office of St. Francis: Third Antiphon at Lauds"; Gregory IX, Bull of 7 June 1230 (Bull. Franc., I, 65); St. Bonaventure, "Leg. Maior", IV, 6; Bernard of Besse, in "Anal. Franc.", III, 686.
  3. ^ Franciscan Sisters of Allegany official website. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  4. ^ The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis; part 2: European Province. Wantage: Printed by St Mary's Press, 1975
  5. ^ Third Order, S.S.F., Chronicle: the journal of the European Province. Freeland, Oxon: printed by St Clare's Press. (2 issues a year)
  6. ^ The Third Order, Society of St. Francis, Province of the Americas

External links

Catholic

Anglican Communion


The Third Order of St. Francis is a third order of the Franciscan family of religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes both regular and secular congregations and both male and female tertiaries. A parallel tertiary Franciscan order exists alongside the 'Society of St Francis' and 'Community of St Francis,' the first order Franciscans in the Anglican Church.

Contents

Third Order Secular or Secular Franciscan Order

It has been believed that the Third Order of St. Francis was the oldest of all Third Orders, but historical evidence is against such an opinion. For, besides similar institutions in some monastic orders in the twelfth century, we find, before the foundation of St. Francis, a Third Order, properly so called, among the Humiliati, confirmed together with its rule by Innocent III in 1201.[1]

Early history

The Third Order of St. Francis was, and still is, the best known and most widely distributed and has the greatest influence. About its origin there are two opposite opinions. According to Karl Müller, Mandonnet, and others, the Secular Third Order is a survival of the original ideal of Francis of Assisi, viz. a lay confraternity of penitents, from which, through the influence of the Church, the First and Second Orders of the Friars Minor and the Poor Clares have been detached. According to others, St. Francis merely lent his name to pre-existing penitential lay-confraternities, without having any special connection with or influence on them. The two opinions are equally at variance with the best texts we have on the subject.[2] According to these sources, St. Francis really founded a Third Order and gave it a Rule. If we complete these notices with some early papal Bulls bearing on the penitential movement and with the account given by Mariano of Florence (end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century) we can state what follows:

The preaching of St. Francis, as well as his own living example and that of his first disciples, exercised such a powerful attraction on the people that many married men and women wanted to join the First or the Second Order.

Rule of St Francis

This being incompatible with their state of life, St. Francis found a middle way: he gave them a rule animated by the Franciscan spirit. In the composition of this rule St. Francis was assisted by his friend Cardinal Ugolino, later Gregory IX. As to the place where the Third Order was first introduced nothing certain is known. Of late however the preponderance of opinion is for Florence, chiefly on the authority of Mariano of Florence, or Faenza, for which the first papal Bull (Potthast, "Regesta Pontificum", 6736) known on the subject is given, whilst the "Fioretti" (ch. xvi), though not regarded as a historical authority, assigns Cannara, a small town two hours' walk from Porziuncola, as the birthplace of the Third Order. Mariano and the Bull for Faenza (16 December, 1221) point to 1221 as the earliest date of the institution of the Third Order, and in fact, besides these and other sources, the oldest preserved rule bears this date at its head.

This rule was published by P. Sabatier and H. Boehmer (see bibliography), and contained originally twelve chapters, to which at the time of Gregory IX (1227) a thirteenth was added. It prescribes simplicity in dress (1), considerable fasting and abstinence (2-3), the canonical office or other prayers instead (4-5), confession and communion thrice a year, and forbids carrying arms or taking solemn oaths without necessity (6); every month the brothers and sisters have to assemble in a church designated by the ministers, and a religious has to give them an instruction (7); they also exercise the works of charity with their brothers (8); whenever a member dies the whole confraternity has to be present at the funeral and to pray for the departed (9); everyone has to make his last will three months after his reception; dissensions among brothers and sisters or other persons are to be settled peaceably; if any troubles arise with local authorities the ministers ought to act with the counsel of the bishop (10). No heretic or anyone suspected of heresy can be received, and women only with the consent of their husbands (11); the ministers have to denounce shortcomings to the visitor, who will punish the culprits; every year two new ministers and a treasurer are to be elected; no point of the rule obliges under pain of sin (12). On account of the prohibition of arms and unnecessary oaths, the followers of this rule came into conflict with local authorities, a fact of which we have evidence in many papal Bulls all through the thirteenth century, issued to safeguard the privileges of the Tertiaries (see list of these Bulls in Mandonnet, "Les Règles", 146-47).

Wadding ("Annales Min." ad a. 1321, n. 13) gives another longer redaction of the rule, which is almost identical with the one solemnly confirmed by Nicholas IV through the Bull "Supra montem", 17 August 1289. This last form has for long been considered as the work of St. Francis, whilst Karl Müller denied any connection of St. Francis with it. If we compare the rule published and approved by Nicholas IV with the oldest text of 1221, we see that they substantially agree, slight modifications and different dispositions of chapters (here 20 in number) excepted. Through a most interesting text published by Golubovich (Arch. Franc. Hist., II, 1909, 20) we know now that this Rule of Nicholas IV was approved on the petition of some Italian Tertiaries. Another publication by Guerrini (Arch. Franc. Hist., I, 1908, 544 sq.) proves that there existed in the thirteenth century Third Order Confraternities with quite different rules. On the whole, it can safely be affirmed that until Nicholas IV there was no Rule of the Third Order generally observed, but besides the one quoted above, and probably the most widely spread, there were others of more local character. The same might be said as to the government of the confraternities. Besides their own officials, they had to have a visitor, who seems to have been usually appointed by the bishop. In 1247 Innocent IV ordered that the Friars Minor were to assume the direction of the Tertiaries in Italy and Sicily (Bull Franc. , I, 464), but about twenty years later when St. Bonaventure wrote his question: "Why do not the Friars Minor promote the Order of 'Penitents'?" (Op. om., VIII, 368) the contrary had practically prevailed. Nicholas IV introduced unity of rule and of direction into the Third Order, which henceforward was entrusted to the care of the Friars Minor.

If we except a few points, bearing especially on fasts and abstinence, mitigated by Clement VII in 1526 and Pope Paul III in 1547, the Rule as given by Nicholas IV remained in vigour till 1883, when Leo XIII, himself a tertiary, through the Apostolic Constitution "Misericors Dei Filius", modified the text, adapting it more to the modern state and needs of the society. All substantial points, however, remained; only the daily vocal prayers were reduced, as also the fasts and abstinences, whilst the former statute of confession and communion thrice a year was changed into monthly communion. Other points of the modified Rule of Leo XIII are of great social and religious importance, such as the prohibition of pomp in dressing, of frequenting theatres of doubtful character, and keeping and reading papers and books at variance with faith and morals. The direction is entrusted to the three branches of the First Order: Friars Minor, Conventuals, Capuchins, and to the Regular Third Order. By delegation, confraternities can be established and directed by any parish priest. Those who for serious reasons cannot join a confraternity may be received as single tertiaries. Finally, great spiritual privileges are granted to all members of the Third Order.

Influence; notable members

The beneficent influence of the secular Third Order of St. Francis cannot be highly enough appreciated. Through the prohibition against carrying arms a deadly blow was given to the feudal system and to the ever-fighting factions of Italian municipalities; through the admission of poor and rich, nobles and common people, the social classes were brought nearer each other.

How far the religious ideal of St. Francis was carried out by the secular Third Order we may judge from the great number of saints and blessed of every condition it has produced. It may suffice to mention: St. Elizabeth of Hungary; St. Louis, King of France; St. Ferdinand, King of Castile; St. Elizabeth of Portugal; St. Rosa of Viterbo; St. Margaret of Cortona; St. Thomas More; Blessed Umiliana Cerchi; Blessed Angela of Foligno; Blessed Raymond Lull; Blessed Luchesius of Poggibonsi, whom tradition holds to be the first tertiary received by St. Francis, later joined in the Order by his wife, Buonadonna, who chose not the follow the traditional method of conversion of life and separate to enter monasteries, but continued as a married couple; Ivo of Kermartin; Bl. Jean-Baptiste Vianney, the curé of Ars; of names celebrated in history for literature, arts, politics, inventions, etc., Dante, Giotto, Petrarch, Cola di Rienzo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Galvani, Volta, Garcia Moreno, Liszt, and Lady Georgiana Fullerton. Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII were members of the Third Order, as also was Pope Pius X.[citation needed]

20th century

Since the adaptation of the rule by Leo XIII, the Third Order has grown more active than ever. In the early 20th century total number of members was esteemed about two and a half millions, spread all over the world. National and local congresses have been held in different countries: seven in the period from 1894 to 1908 in France, others in Belgium, some in Italy, the first general congress in Assisi (1895), many local ones from 1909 to 1911; others have been held in Spain, the last one at Santiago in 1909; in Argentina the last one at Buenos Aires in 1906; in India, Canada, and in Germany and Austria, in the last two instances in connection with general congresses of Catholics. There exist almost in all civilized languages numerous monthly periodicals which, whilst keeping up the union amongst the different confraternities, serve also for the instruction and edification of its members. The "Acta Ordinis Frat. Min.", XXVI, Quaracchi, 1907, 255-58, gives the names of 122 such periodicals. French periodicals are indicated by P. B. Ginnet, O.F.M., "Le Tiers Ordre et le Prêtre", Vanves, 1911, p. 51 sq.; German periodicals by Moll, O.F.M. Cap., "Wegweiser in die Literatur des Dritten Ordens", Ratisbon, 1911. In Italy even a regular newspaper was founded, "Rinascita Francescana", Bologna, 1910; another in Germany, "Allgemeine deutsche Tertiaren-Zeitung", Wiesbaden, 1911.—We may mention also the special organs for directors of the Third Order, e.g. "Der Ordensdirektor", published at Innsbruck by the Tyrolese Franciscans, "Revue sacerdotale du Tiers-Ordre de Saint François", published by French Capuchins. Both reviews appear once every two months.

In 1978, under the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, a new Rule of Life was written and approved. Under this new Rule, the tertiaries of the Franciscan movement were removed from under the jurisdiction of the friars of the First Order and of the Third Order Regular, and set up as an autonomous Order, with their own Minister General as head of the Order. This was the first time in the nearly-eight hundred year history of the Third Order that they were fully independent and self-governing. The new Rule focused on the place of the Secular Franciscan as taking part of the work of spreading the Gospel as men and women fully engaged in the sphere of regular—usually married—life in the world. The current (2009) Minister General is Emmanuela del Pozo of Spain.

A new set of Constitutions were written and approved in 1990 by the General Chapter of the Order held in Madrid, Spain to clarify the new reality given through the revised Rule. These were done on an experimental basis, so that they could be disseminated through the Order and their viability be clarified. In A.D. 2000, the appropriate agencies of the Catholic Church, in the name of Pope John Paul II, gave the official approval to the final form of the Constitutions, with an effective date of February 8, 2001.

This process brought to a close the renewed status of the Order, now to be known as the Secular Franciscan Order (abbreviated as S.F.O. or O.F.S.) in compliance with the challenge of Vatican II. The present worldwide membership of the Order is estimated to be four hundred thousand.

Third Order Regular

Origin and development till Leo X

The origin of the Regular Third Order, both male and female, possibly was rooted in the lifetime of St. Francis. His first official biographer, Thomas of Celano, lists hermits as among the categories of lifestyle of those who flocked to follow the Saint. The organized form of this life, though, can be more reliably traced back to the second half of the thirteenth century, but no precise date can be indicated. It was organized, in different forms, in the Netherlands, in the south of France, in Germany, and in Italy. Probably some secular tertiaries, who in many cases had their house of meeting, gradually withdrew entirely from the world and so formed religious communities, but without the three substantial vows of religious orders. Other religious associations such as the Beguines (women) and Beghards (men) in the Low Countries, sometimes passed over to the Third Order, as has been clearly shown.

Towards the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth century some suspicion of heretical opinions fell on some of these free religious unions of the Third Order (bizocchi), as we can infer from the Bull of John XXII "Sancta Romana", December, 1317 (Bull. Franc., V, 134). More than a century later St. John of Capistran (1456) had to defend the Tertiaries in a special treatise: "Defensorium tertii ordinis d. Francisci", printed with other minor works of the saint at Venice in 1580.

Throughout the fourteenth century, the regular tertiaries of both sexes had in the most cases no common organization; only in the following century we can observe single well-ordered religious communities with solemn vows and a common head. Pope Martin V submitted in 1428 all tertiaries, regular and secular, to the direction of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor (Bull. Franc., VII, 715), but this disposition was soon revoked by his successor Pope Eugene IV. We meet thus in the same fifteenth century with numerous independent male congregations of regular tertiaries with the three vows in Italy, Sicily, Dalmatia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and in the Netherlands. Contemporaneously there existed sister congregations of the Third Order with solemn vows, for instance, the Grey Sisters of the Third Order, serving in hospitals, spread in France and the Netherlands, whose remarkable statutes of 1483 have recently been published by Henri Lemaître in Arch. Franc. Hist. IV, 1911, 713-31, and the congregation--still existing--founded at Foligno in 1397 by Blessed Angelina of Marsciano (1435). Leo X, to introduce uniformity into the numerous congregations, gave in 1521 a new form to the Rule, now in ten chapters, retaining of the Rule as published by Nicholas IV all that could serve the purpose, adding new points, especially the three solemn vows, and insisting on subjection to the First Order of St. Francis. For this last disposition the Rule of Leo X met with resistance, and never was accepted by some congregations, whilst it serves till the present day as the basis of the constitutions of many later congregations, especially of numerous communities of sisters.

Single congregations after Leo X

The two Italian congregations, the Lombardic and Sicilian, which had constituted themselves in the course of the fifteenth century, were united by Pope Paul III, and since Sixtus V enjoyed entire independence from the First Order. It had then already 11 provinces.

In the seventeenth century the congregations of Dalmatia and the Netherlands (of Zeppern) were united with the Italian family. In 1734 Clement XIII confirmed their statutes. Whilst the French Revolution swept away all similar congregations, the Italian survived with four provinces, of which one was in Dalmatia. In 1906 a small congregation of Tertiary lay brothers in the Balearic Islands and a little later two convents with colleges in the United States joined the same congregation, which in 1908 numbered about 360 members.

The dress is that of the Conventuals, from whom they can hardly be distinguished. The residence of the minister-general is at Rome, near the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian. After the time of Pope Leo X, the Spanish congregation often had troubles on the question of its submission to the First Order. After Pius V (1568) had put the whole Third Order again under the care of the Minister-General of the Friars Minor, the superiors of the three provinces constituted in Spain could, after 1625, partake at the General Chapters of the Friars Minor and since 1670 they have had even a definitor-general to represent them.

The French congregation, named from their house at Paris "of Picpus", was reformed by V. Mussart (d. 1637), and maintained close ties with the First Order till its extinction in the French Revolution. A well-known member of this congregation is Hyppolit Helyot, the author of an important history of the religious orders. In 1768 it had four provinces with 61 convents and 494 religious.

Other congregations of Tertiaries existed after the fifteenth century in Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Ireland and England. They perished either at the time of the Reformation or in the French Revolution. We may mention also the Obregonians, the "Bons-Fils" 'Good Sons' in northern France founded in 1615, and the "Penitents gris" at Paris after the sixteenth century, all now extinct. In the nineteenth century some new congregations arose, e.g. the Poor Brothers of St. Francis, the Brothers of St. Francis at Waldbreitbach (Rhine) after 1860, the Grey Friars of Charity ("Frati Bigi"), founded in 1884 at Naples by Ludovic of Casoria, O.F.M. (suppressed by the Vatican in 1971). Most of these modern tertiary communities consist only of lay brothers and depend on their diocesan bishop.

Congregations of Sisters

Whilst Leo X in the reform of the rule had left it free to the congregations to adopt papal enclosure or not, Pius V (1568) prescribed it to all convents of tertiary sisters with solemn vows. Still this order was not carried out everywhere. In this regard the custom prevailed that the Friars Minor refused to take the direction of those convents which had only episcopal enclosure. Besides those already mentioned above, we may add the different offshoots of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and France (there, under the name of Soeurs du Refuge, some of them still exist). The first Ursulines, also, founded by St. Angela Merici (1540), belonged to the Third Order.

In the nineteenth century many of the new congregations adopted the Rule of the Third Order, but most of them have no further connection with the First Order. Many of them have widely varying names; a good many are of mere local character, others again are of international importance. As to their activities, almost all dedicate themselves to works of charity, either in hospitals, homes, or ateliers; others work in schools, not a few are in foreign missions. We can give here scarcely more than a list of the names, with the dates of the foundation.

In Germany there are the Poor Sisters of St. Francis, founded 1845 (1851) by M. Schervier at Aachen, with some houses in America; the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family, founded in 1857 at Eupen, Diocese of Cologne; the Franciscan Sisters, at Münster, Westphalia, founded in 1850; the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration, at Olpe, Diocese of Paderborn (1857); the Poor Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at Salzkotten, near Paderborn (1863); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order, at Thuine, Diocese of Osnabrück (1869); the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis, at Waldbreitbach, Diocese of Trier (1863); the Franciscan Sisters at Nonnenwerth, an island on the Rhine, founded in 1872 at Heythuizen in Holland; Franciscan Sisters of Maria-Stern, at Augsburg, whose first foundation can be followed back to the thirteenth century; Franciscan Sisters at Dillingen, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fourteenth century; the Poor Franciscan Sisters, at Mallersdorf, Diocese of Ratisbon (1855); the Congregation of Ursperg (1897); the Franciscan Sisters of Kaufbeuren, Diocese of Augsburg, founded in the fifteenth century, to which had belonged Blessed Crescentia Hess (1744). In the Diocese of Rottenburg, in Wurtemberg, we note the communities of Bonlanden near Erolzheim (1855); of Heiligenbronn (1857); of the Sisters of Christian Charity, at Reute, founded 1849 at the same place where in the fifteenth century Blessed Elizabeth of Reute, called also the "good Beta" (d. 1420), had professed the Third Order; the Franciscan Sisters of Sussen (1853). In Baden is noteworthy the Congregation of Gengenbach (1867), since 1876 also in the United States, Joliet, Illinois. At Mainz there is the Convent of Perpetual Adoration (1860).

In Austria-Hungary were the School Sisters of the Third Order (1723), with mother-houses at Hallein, Diocese of Salzburg, at Vienna (III), and at Judenau, Diocese of Sankt Pölten; the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Vienna (V), (1857); the Poor School Sisters at Voklabruck, Diocese of Linz (1850); the Sisters of Mercy of the Third Order of St. Francis at Troppau, Diocese of Olmütz (1853); Congregation of School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Mahrisch-Trubau, Diocese of Olmütz (1851); the School Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis at Marburg on the Drau, Diocese of Lavant (1864); the Grey Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, at Prague (I), 1856; and three small communities in Tyrol.

In Luxembourg there is the Congregation of Pfaffental; the Sisters of Mercy of St. Francis with the mother-house in Luxembourg City, and communities in Sweden and the Carolines. In Holland there are the Congregations of Roosendaal, of Breda, of Heythuizen, all of which have communities in foreign missions; lastly the Congregation of Heerlen. In Belgium there exist, besides the old congregation of the Grey Sisters of Hospitals (see above) at Antwerp, Zoutleeuw, Tienen, Hasselt, and Tongeren, the more recent communities of Ghent (founded 1701), of Hérines, Diocese of Mechelen, of Macon-lez-Chimay, of Opwijk, Diocese of Mechelen (1845).

In Switzerland there once existed many congregations of the Third Order, and even now there are several convents of strict enclosure. Of the active congregations the most noteworthy are the two founded by the Capuchin Theodosius Florentini, viz. the Sisters of the Holy Cross for schools, with mother-house at Menzingen (1844), with numerous convents outside Switzerland, and the Sisters of the Holy Cross for hospital work (1852), with mother-house at Ingenbohl.

In France, before the last suppression of convents, there were about fifty communities of the Third Order; the most important was that of the Missionaries of Mary, founded by Mother de Chapotin de Neuville (d.1904) in India, with actual mother-house at Rome, with communities spread all over the world.

In Italy there are the Stigmatins, founded near Florence by Mother Lapini (d. 1860); the Sisters of Egypt, for missionary work, with mother-house at Rome; the Sisters of Gemona, Italy; finally, the Sisters of the Child Jesus, with mother-house at Assisi. On the whole, the sisters professing the Rule of the Third Order amount at least to 50,000.

The Regular Third Order produced two saints, Hyacintha of Mariscotti, and Crescentia Hoss of Kaufbeuren, and four Blessed: Lucia of Callagirone, Elizabeth of Reute, Angelina of Marsciomo, Jeremias Lambertenghi.

Third Order of St. Francis in Canada

The Third Order of St. Francis was established by the Friars Minor Recollects at Quebec in 1671, and some years later at Three Rivers and Montreal. Considering the sparse population of the country, it was in a flourishing condition. In 1681 a Recollect notes that "many pious people of Quebec belong to the Third Order".

After the cession of Canada to England, the Third Order, deprived of its directors, the Recollects, seemed to have disappeared gradually, only to flourish anew thirty years after the death at Montreal, 1813, of the last Recollect priest.

The Third Order was re-established about 1840 by Mgr Ignatius Bourget, Bishop of Montreal. Fervent fellow-labourers helped the holy prelate to spread the Third Order in Montreal, notably Canon J.A. Paré and the Sulpicians C. E. Gilbert and A. Giband. Mgr Bourget established a fraternity of women, 6 May, 1863, and one of men, 13 June, 1866; both were directed by the Sulpicians till 1874, by Canon P. E. Dufresne from 1874 till 1881, by the Jesuits from 1881 till 1888, and by the Sulpicians from 1888 till 1890; since then by the Friars Minor. Mgr Fabre, successor to Bishop Bourget, in a letter (3 September, 1882) to the priests and faithful of his diocese, says: "We have in our midst the tertiaries of St. Francis, who are known to you all by the edification they give, and by the good odour of all the virtues which they practise in the world." The Third Order was reintroduced at Quebec almost at the same time as at Montreal. On 19 November, 1859, Father Flavian Durocher, O.M.I., received the profession of two women, after a year's novitiate. These were joined by others, until in 1876 Quebec possessed over 2000 tertiaries, while in the Province of Quebec several parishes had groups of tertiaries. Among priests zealous for the spread of the Third Order at this epoch we must name, besides the above-mentioned Montreal priests: Father Durocher, St. Sauveur, Quebec; L. N. Begin, now Archbishop of Quebec; James Sexton, Quebec; Oliver Caron, Vicar-General of Three Rivers; E. H. Guilbert, Léon Abel Provancher, and G. Fraser, all three of the Quebec diocese. Father Provancher was one of the most zealous. In 1866, having received faculties from the General of the Friars Minor, he established a very fervent fraternity in his parish of Portneuf. He propagated the Third Order by his writings. For two years he edited a review, in which he published nearly every month an article on the Third Order, or answered questions appertaining thereto. At that epoch (1876) the brothers' fraternity at Montreal counted 137 members; the sisters, a still greater number. At Three Rivers the tertiaries were less numerous—enough, however, to form a fraternity a little later. Quebec with its 200 tertiaries did not have a fraternity till 1882.

In 1881 the arrival in Canada of Father Frederic of Ghyvelde gave new spirit to the Third Order. He spent eight months in Canada, and worked actively for the Third Order. He began at Quebec, where he held the Holy Visit prescribed by the rule and admitted 100 new members. At Three Rivers he found "a numerous and fervent fraternity". His visit to the fraternities of Montreal was followed by a notable increase in membership. Shortly afterwards Leo XIII published his Encyclicals on the Third Order. The Canadian bishops, in obedience to the pope's wishes, recommended the Third Order to their clergy and faithful. But the Friars of the First Order alone could give the Third a fitting development; hence, when Father Frederic returned in 1888, several bishops, among them Bishop Louis-Francois Richer Lafleche of Three Rivers and Archbishop Taschereau, welcomed him as its promoter. The foundation of a convent of Friars Minor at Montreal in 1890 inaugurated a new era of prosperity for the Third Order. The Franciscans took over the direction of the Third Order at Montreal. The fraternities of other districts were visited regularly, and new ones were formed. The Third Order has since spread rapidly. To-day the Third Order in Canada numbers nearly 200 fraternities with over 50,000 members, under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor. The Capuchins have a small number of fraternities. The Friars Minor have also the direction of 20 fraternities with 5000 members in the Franco-Canadian centres of the United States. All these large numbers of isolated tertiaries give a total of nearly 60,000. These tertiaries are mostly French Canadians. There are very few fraternities for English-speaking tertiaries; of these there are two very flourishing ones at Montreal. It is in the Province of Quebec that the Third Order is most flourishing. Three monthly reviews, treating specially of the Third Order, are published in Canada: (1) "La Revue du Tiers Ordre", founded in 1884 by the tertiaries of Montreal, and directed since 1891 by the Friars Minor of that city; (2) "The Franciscan Review and St. Anthony's Record", founded in 1905 by the Friars Minor of Montreal; (3) "L'Echo de St. François", published since 1911 by the Capuchins of Ottawa. The principal social works of the Third Order in Canada are: three houses of the Third Order in Montreal and one in Quebec, directed by lady tertiaries; a lodging-house and an industrial school at Montreal, directed also by lady tertiaries; several work-rooms for the benefit of the poor; and public libraries, one in Quebec and two in Montreal.

The Third Order Regular is represented in Canada by three flourishing institutions:

A. Little Franciscan Sisters of Mary, founded at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1889 and transferred to Baie-St-Paul, Canada, in 1891; their constitutions were approved in 1903. They follow the Rule of the Third Order Regular. Their habit comprises a brown tunic and scapular, a white hood and wimple, and a white woollen cord; they wear a silver crucifix. Work.—Assistance of the sick, the poor, the aged, of orphans and instruction of the young—in a word, all the works of mercy. Development.—This congregation possesses 8 houses, nearly all in the United States. The mother house is at Baie-St-Paul, Province of Quebec, Canada. The institution numbers 150 professed sisters, 7 novices, 30 postulants, and 8 associates.

B. Franciscan missionaries of Mary, founded in India, and following the Rule of the Third Order Regular. They have six houses in Canada: (1) Quebec, founded 1892; novitiate, perpetual adoration, printing, embroidery, workshop, house of probation for aspirants, patronage, visiting the sick. (2) St. Anne of Beaupré (1894); patronage, workshop, hospitality for pilgrims, visiting the sick. (3) St. Lawrence, Manitoba (1897); boarding-school, parochial schools, dispensary, visiting the sick. (4) Pine Creek, Manitoba (1899); school, model farm, dispensary, visiting the sick. (5) St. Malo, Quebec (1902); day nursery, primary schools, school of domestic economy, dispensary, pharmacy, visiting the sick. (6) Winnipeg (1909); day nursery, embroidery, patronage, visiting the poor and the hospitals. These houses possess 150 sisters, novices included. Since its establishment in Canada, the congregation has had 290 Canadian members, many of whom are now engaged in mission work in China, Japan, India, Ceylon, Congo, Zululand, Natal, Mozambique, Madagascar, and South America. The mother-house of Quebec has founded six others in the United States: Woonsocket in 1904; New York and New Bedford in 1906; Boston in 1907; Providence in 1909; Fall River in 1910.

C. Religious of St. Francis of Assisi, founded at Lyons, France, in 1838. Their object is the care of the sick and of orphans and the education of the young. They were introduced into Canada in 1904, and have at present 5 houses, comprising a hospital, a boarding-school for girls, and model and elementary schools.

Third Order of St. Francis in the United Kingdom

In its earlier structure, the Third Order Secular comprised ninety-six fraternities, of which forty were under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor and fifty-four under that of the Friars Minor Capuchin, with about 12,000 members, among whom included several diocesan bishops, a number of the clergy, and laity of all ranks. In their organization, the British tertiary congregations follow the common rule, but many of them add some corporal works of mercy, reclaiming negligent Catholics, and so forth.

All the tertiaries were governed by a Commissary Provincial, who would be appointed by the Minister Provincial of the friars of the First Order. His duty was to grant the necessary faculties to directors of congregations, to hold visitations, and generally supervise the affairs of the Third Order under his jurisdiction. A national conference of British tertiaries with a view to strengthening and consolidating the order, was held in 1898 at Liverpool in the hall attached to the Jesuit church, and was presided over by the bishop of the diocese. The opening address was delivered by the Archbishop of Paris. A second national conference was held at Leeds. Since the institution of the English national Catholic congress, in 1910, the tertiaries have taken part in these and have had their sectional meeting in the congress.

Today (2009), as with other regions of the world, the members of the Order are self-governing, under the auspices of a national fraternity. In 2006, Leon Davidson was elected as National Minister.

Of the Third Order in Great Britain in pre-Reformation days little is known. It is, however, certain that there existed in Scotland several houses of Sisters of the Third Order Regular. Blessed Thomas More is frequently spoken of as a tertiary of St. Francis, but there seems to be no historical evidence to support this statement.

The Third Order, however, was known in England in the penal days. Fr. William Staney, the first commissary of the order in England after the Dissolution, wrote "A Treatise of the Third Order of St. Francis" (Douai, 1617). An interesting fact in connection with the Third Order in England is the appointment in 1857, as Commissary General, of Dr. (afterwards Cardinal) Manning, by letters patent, dated 10 April, 1857, given by the Minister General of the Capuchin Friars Minor, empowering him to act as "Superior, visitor and Our Commissary of each and all the brothers and sisters of the Third Order Secular dwelling in England". Among notable English tertiaries of modern times, besides Cardinal Manning, may be mentioned Cardinal Vaughan, Lady Herbert of Lea, the late Earl of Denbigh, and the poet Coventry Patmore.

The Third Order Regular was represented in England in the early 20th century by nineteen convents of Sisters and in Scotland by six convents, with no communities of Brothers. These convents belong to various congregations, most of which are of English institution. They devote themselves either to education or to parochial works of mercy or to the foreign missions.

Most notable historically amongst these congregations are the convents at Taunton and Woodchester, which represent the English convent of the Third Order established at Brussels, Belgium, in 1621. Their founder was Father Gennings, the brother of the martyr Edmund Gennings. This was, in fact, the first convent of the Third Order Regular, enclosed, founded for English women. The community later on emigrated to Bruges, where it remained until 1794, when, owing to the troubles caused by the French Revolution, it crossed over into England and, after eleven years' residence at Winchester, settled finally at Taunton in Somerset. The congregation was under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor until 1837 when, owing to the dissolution of the Recollect province, it came under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop. In 1860 a second foundation was made at Woodchester.

Third Order of St. Francis in Ireland

Unlike England and Scotland, the fraternities of the Third Order Secular in Ireland were almost exclusively attached to churches of the First Order. Under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor were, in the early 20th century, fourteen fraternities, with 9741 members, and subject to the Capuchin Friars Minor there were four fraternities with 5100 members.

No current data is available (2009), but a century ago, the Third Order Regular comprised two houses of Brothers at Clara and Farragher, and eleven in the Archdiocese of Tuam, all devoted to educational work. At Drumshambo the sisters of the order had a convent where Perpetual Adoration was maintained day and night. There was also one convent of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary.

Third Order Regular of St. Francis in the United States

Congregations of men

Third Order Regular of St. Francis

In 1847 Bishop O'Connor of Pittsburgh obtained from the Irish congregation six brothers, who founded a monastery and college at Loretto, Pennsylvania. Pius IX, by a Rescript of 12 Nov., 1847, erected this foundation into an independent congregation under the obedience of the Bishop of Pittsburgh. This congregation in 1908 joined the Italian congregation, and together with the community at Spalding, Nebraska, which in 1906 had joined the Italian congregation, was erected into a province, 24 Sept., 1910. Houses, 4; colleges, 2; religious, 62; novices, 5. (See below.)

There are currently two provinces of the Order in the United States. The larger, that of the Sacred Heart, is headquarted in Loretto, Pennsylvania. It operates parishes throughout the nation, as well as the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

The other province, Immaculate Conception, has its headquarters in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. It too runs parishes nationwide.

Congregation of the Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis

Founded Christmas Day 1857, at Aachen by John However for the protection and education of poor, homeless boys, it was introduced into the United States in 1866.

Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, New York

Founded 31 May, 1858, by two brothers from the Irish congregation, Pope Pius IX, by a Rescript of 15 Dec., 1859, erected the community into an independent religious congregation. While they existed as a diocesan congregation, the bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn served for over a century as their Superior General. They run a college, several high schools and teach at a number of elementary schools, as well as a retreat house and summer day camp in both the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre, which together serve Long Island.

In 1989, the Pope raised the congregation to one of Pontifical Right, making them independent of the local bishop, almost entirely subject only to the Holy See. As a result, they have begun to serve in other parts of the United States. They currently are the largest congregation of lay Brothers in the United States.

Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross

Starting as a member of the Third Order Secular in Germany in 1862, Brother James Wirth founded this community as an outgrowth of his service to the local town, Niederbreitbach, in order to educate orphans and to take care of the poor, the sick, the suffering and willingly respond to the needs of the time. The Brothers were invited to come to the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois in 1928 to establish a Monastery and a Trade School. As master craftsmen, they worked at laying the foundation of an industrial trade school.

This developed to the foundation of Brother James Court, which rose from the foundation laid by the early pioneer Franciscan Brothers to become what it is today. As an intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled licensed by the State of Illinois, it serves as an integral part of the state’s continuum of care for meeting the needs of the developmentally disabled.

Franciscan Missionary Brothers of the Sacred Heart

Founded in Poland in 1888, this congregation of Brothers focuses on medical care. They established a longterm medical care facility in the U.S. in 1927 to extend their service. Located in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, they now operate a hospital and nursing home for mentally disadvanted men and boys, as well as Price Memorial Hall, a nursing home open to both men and women.

Franciscan Brothers of Ireland

The Irish congregation of Brothers from which the friars of the T.O.R. sprang, has maintained a presence in the U.S. since the 1970's. Originally working both in the Bronx, New York and California, they now serve only on the West Coast.

Little Brothers of St. Francis

Founded in Boston, Massachusetts by Brother James Curren in 1970, this small community arose from Brother James' desire to combine an outreach to the homeless of the city with his desire for a contemplative life among the poor. He was determined to do this as a lay Brother, in a community of Brothers.

This foundation was quickly approved by his archbishop, Cardinal Medeiros, and slowly grew to a national presence for this type of innovative expression.

Franciscan Brothers of Peace

The Franciscan Brothers of Peace were founded in 1982 by Brother Michael Gaworski, who desired to live an authentic and radical form of Religious life. Joined by another student at his seminary, he became active in the Pro-Life movement. Their common interests and desire to protect the innocent led to a close friendship. Their efforts led to their co-founding a new Pro-Life organization called Pro-Life Action Ministries in 1981, which grew to become one of the largest direct–action, pro–life apostolates in the United States. Being a tremendously gifted orator, Brother Michael became a nationally recognized Pro-Life speaker and was respected for his spiritual insight regarding right to life and sanctity of life issues.

In 1982, he attended a Charismatic conference, where he felt called to a vocation in a religious community. This led Brother Michael and a companion to seek a place to start their community. As their site says, they stumbled upon an apartment, where the previous occupant had left a plaque saying,

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.

This was taken as a sign that they were start their community there. Similar to the Little Brothers in Boston, they followed a life of prayer and community service in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist

Founded as a companion community to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist (themselves founded in 1973), the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist engage in manual labor, working with our hands, working with the earth, sharing the work of land maintenance and creative work projects with one another and with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and lay associates.

Each Brother is assigned to work in a professional field suited to his personal talents and education. In this way, the mission of the Brothers is carried out to the people with whom the brothers work. As the community grows, we envision Brothers collaborating with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist in each of their centers and apostolates in the U.S and abroad.

We see work - whether manual, intellectual or professional - as an opportunity to share as co-creators in building the Church. As we expend energy by giving ourselves to hard work, we in turn become energized through the transforming power of communal effort and interaction with the elements of creation.[3]

Congregations of women

Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Oldenburg, Indiana. Founded in 1851 by Rev. F. J. Rudolf, its rules and constitutions were approved by the Holy See. Sisters, 536; novices, 41; postulants, 7; schools, 67; pupils, 12,273.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. St. Clare, Clinton, Iowa. Founded in 1867 by Rt. Rev. Bishop Lavialle of Louisville, Kentucky. Sisters, 130; novices and postulants, 40; hospital, 1; schools, 16; pupils, 2590.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with motherhouse at Glen Riddle (now Aston), Pennsylvania. Founded by the Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Philadelphia, who on 9 April, 1855, invested three devout women, Marianne Bachmann (Mother M. Francis), Barbara Boll (Sister M. Margaret), and Anna Dorn (Sister M. Bernardina), with the habit of St. Francis. In 1896 the mother-house was transferred from Philadelphia to Glen Riddle. This congregation is divided into three provinces. Houses, 80; sisters, 818; novices, 48; postulants, 15; academies, 4; seminaries, 2; orphan asylums, 9; hospitals, 12; schools, 42; schools for Indians and negroes, 8. By and from this congregation were established (i) Congregation with mother-house at 337 Pine Street, Buffalo, New York in 1861. Sisters, 277; novices, 30; postulants, 16; asylums for aged, 3; schools, 30; pupils, 6540; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 2. From this congregation were founded A. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. Alvernia, Millvale Station, Pennsylvania, in 1868. Sisters, 210; novices, 17; postulants, 13; schools, 14; pupils, 6429; orphan asylum, 1; hospital, 1; home for ladies, 1. B. Congregation with mother-house at Mt. Hope, Westchester Co., New York, 1893. Legal title: Sisters of St. Francis, Conventuals of the Third Order of the M.I.V. Sisters, 182; novices, 19; postulants, 9; academy, 1; schools, 6; (ii) Congregation with mother-house at St. Anthony's Convent, Syracuse, New York, 1862. Sisters, 173; novices, 9; candidates, 6; schools, 17; pupils, 4500; hospitals, 3; home for aged, 1; home for children, 1; convents at Hawaiian Islands, 4.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Hospital, Peoria, Illinois; founded in 1877 by Rt. Rev. John L. Spalding, Bishop of Peoria, and sisters from the House of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany. Sisters, 163; novices, 38; postulants, 26; hospitals, 10; patients, 5320.
  3. Congregation with mother-house at Tiffin, Ohio. Founded in 1867 by Rev. J. L. Bihn. Sisters, 56; novices, 9; postulants, 4; hospital, 1; orphan asylums, 2; homes for aged, 2; schools, 13.
  4. Congregation with provincial house at Peekskill, New York. Founded by Mother M. Gertrude and two sisters from the general mother-house, Gemona, Italy, who, at the request of Rev. Andrew Feifer, O.F.M., came to this country in 1865. Sisters, 284; novices, 18; postulants, 15; academy, 1; schools, 18; day nurseries, 3; institution for destitute children, 1; home for working girls, 1; children in charge of sisters, 7768.
  5. Congregation with mother-house at Bay Settlement, Wisconsin, founded 6 Dec., 1867. Sisters, 35.

Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Franciscan Sisters of Allegany.[4] Congregation with mother-house at St. Elizabeth's Convent, Allegany, New York. Founded in 1857 by Very Rev. Pamfilo di Magliano, O.F.M. Sisters, 300; novices, 25; postulants, 12; schools, 11; hospitals, 2; homes, 4.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Convent, Dubuque, Iowa. Founded in 1876 by Mother Xaveria Termehr and sisters from the house of Bethlehem, Herford, Germany, who on account of the infamous "May laws", were compelled to leave Germany. Sisters, 399; novices, 34; postulants, 20; orphan asylums, 2; industrial school, 1; academy, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 43; pupils, 6829.
  3. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Hospital, Maryville, Missouri. Founded with the approbation of Rt. Rev. M. F. Burke, Bishop of St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1894. Sisters, 45; novices, 7; postulants, 1; hospitals, 6.

Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Stella Niagara, near Lewiston, New York. Established in 1874 by Mother M. Aloysia and three sisters from Nonnenwerth, near Rolandseck, Rhenish Prussia, Germany. Sisters 253; academies, 5; schools, 18; pupils, 6348; orphan asylum, 1; Indian schools, 2; pupils, 577; foundling-house, 1.

Franciscan Sisters

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Grand Avenue and Chippewa Street, St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1872 by sisters from the general mother-house at Salzkotten, Germany. Sisters, 224; hospitals, 6, schools, 1; orphan asylums, 2; house of providence, 1; convent, 1;
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Mill Hill, London, England, for coloured missions. Introduced into the United States in 1881. Sisters, 58; industrial school, 1; parochial schools, 4; pupils, 765.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Sacred Heart

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Mercy Hospital, Burlington, Iowa. Sisters, 22; hospital, 1.

Franciscan Sisters, Minor Conventuals

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Convent, Buffalo, New York. Sisters, 58; novices, 16; postulants, 21.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, M.C.

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis, Wisconsin. Founded in 1849 by sisters from Bavaria. Its rules and constitutions were compiled by Rev. M. Heiss in 1852, and approved by Rt. Rev. J. M. Henni, Bishop of Milwaukee. In June, 1873, this congregation was affiliated to the Order of Minor Conventuals, and Pius X on 6 Dec., 1911, gave it its definite approbation. Sisters, 303; novices, 22; postulants, 30; academy, 1; orphanage, 1; institute for deaf mutes, 1; for feeble minded, 1; schools, 36; pupils, 4500.

School Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Greenfield and Twenty-Second Avenues, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sisters conduct schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Oregon. There are two branch-houses of this congregation in Europe, one in Luxembourg, and other at Erlenbad, Baden. Sisters, 814.

Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Rose Convent, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Founded by six sisters from Bavaria, and rules compiled in 1853 by Most Rev. M. Heiss, Archbishop of Milwaukee. The Perpetual Adoration was introduced in 1878. Sisters, 420; novices, 42; postulants, 40; schools, 63; pupils, 8448; orphan asylums, 2; Indian school, 1; domestic science schools, 2.

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Holy Family Convent, Alverno, Wisconsin. Founded in 1869 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Rev. Joseph Fessler, it was affiliated to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual 19 March, 1900. Sisters, 303; novices, 40; postulants, 10; hospitals, 2; home for aged, 1; schools, 53; pupils, 8500.

Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Joseph's Hospital, Joliet, Illinois. Founded in 1867 at Avilla, Indiana, by sisters from Germany. Sisters, 325; novices, 40; postulants, 12; hospitals, 10; home for aged, 1; orphan asylum, 1; schools, 9.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with mother-house at St. Francis's Convent, Nevada, Missouri. Established in 1893 by Sister M. John Hau and sisters from the mother-house at Grimmenstein, Switzerland. Sisters, 25; orphan asylum, 1.

Hospital Sisters of St. Francis

  1. Congregation with provincial house at St. John's Hospital, Springfield, Illinois. Founded in 1875 by sisters from the general mother-house, Münster, Germany. Sisters, 299; novices, 29; postulants, 11; hospitals, 12.

The Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph of the Perpetual Adoration

  1. Congregation with provincial house at St. Francis Convent, Lafayette, Indiana. Introduced into this country in 1875 by sisters from the general mother-house at Olpe, Germany. Founded by Venerable Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel on July 20, 1863. Sisters, 613; novices, 35; postulants, 21; academies, 3; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged, 1; schools, 36; hospitals, 18; high schools, 2.

Website: www.ssfpa.org

Franciscan Sisters of the Poor

Headquarted in Brooklyn, New York, these Sisters were established in this country in 1868, as part of the work of Blessed Mary Frances Schervier. Within seven years of the congregation's founding, they came to New York City and Ohio to serve the needs of the large German emigrant communities in those areas. In 1959, they separated from the European congregation to become an independent one.

They serve throughout the Eastern and Midwestern region of the country, as well overseas.

Franciscan Sisters of St. Kunegunda (Polish)

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1896. Sisters, 107; novices, 22; postulants, 18; orphan asylum, 1; home for aged and crippled, 1; day-nursery, 1; schools, 11; pupils, 2070.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at Chicago Heights, Illinois. Foundation of English-speaking Franciscan Sisters. Sisters, 17.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Peoria, Illinois. Founded in 1890. Sisters, 47; novices, 20; postulants, 17; schools, 6; homes, 2; asylum, 1.

Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house, Rome, Italy. The sisters conduct establishments in the Archdioceses of New York and Boston, the Diocese of Newark, Pittsburgh, and Savannah.

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception

  1. Congregation with mother-house at Little Falls, Minnesota. Sisters, 60; postulants, 3; orphan asylum, 1; hospitals, 3.
  2. Congregation with mother-house at St. Anthony's Hospital, Rock Island, Illinois. Sisters, 18; novices, 6.

Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

  1. Congregation was founded in St. Louis, Missouri on 29 May, 1901, by three women of faith,Sister Solana Leczna, Sister Ernestine Matz, and Sister Hilaria Matz, members of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Joliet, Illinois. Responding to the needs of the immigrants for Polish speaking Sisters, these three separated from the Joliet Franciscans to remain at St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis, a parish consisting of 2300 parishioners with over 600 children in the school.

In the early twentieth century, the vision of the Sisters’ broadened beyond only Polish-speaking parishes to include staffing other schools in predominantly rural parishes in Missouri and Illinois. In 1906, Mother Solana signed a court document giving the Sisterhood an official title the “Polish Franciscan School Sisters of St. Louis.” The community was known by that name for over twenty years.

From 1907 to 1957, the Sisters’ central headquarters was the Motherhouse at 3419 Gasconade Street in South St. Louis. Additions were made to accommodate the growing needs of a number of sisters. During those 50 years, the ministry expanded to include schools in all parts of the country.

By the early 1940s the Sisters ministered in elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana and New Mexico working with African American and Hispanic students, and teaching, counseling and social work with the impoverished families at the Catholic Indian Center in Gallup, New Mexico. The initial apostolate of education was expanded in 1953 to include work in the health care ministry with the acquisition of hospitals in Green Springs, Ohio, and Humboldt, Tennessee. In the early 1960s, the Sisters responded to an invitation from the Bishop of Thailand to teach English and provide religious instruction to children. The Sisters taught at the Star of the Sea (School for Girls), the Congregation’s first “foreign mission” in Phuket, Thailand for seven years.

In the 1990s, escalating retirement needs and costs, and the expansion of the airport influenced major decisions for the Sisters. Bound by a common heart rather than a common place or work, and in the poverty of spirit for the sake of mission, the Sisters divested of the Motherhouse and property in Ferguson. They built administrative offices in Kirkwood, Missouri, and the sisters moved into apartments, convents and homes, allowing the Sisters to live and work among God’s people.

The Sisters’ mission is to be a transforming presence in society through witnessing Gospel values. They strive to be prayerful women of faith, prophetic vision and courage. In the words of one of the foundresses, Mother Ernestine Matz, “There is no place too far, no service too humble, and no person too lowly.”

Currently, the congregational headquarters are at 335 S. Kirkwood Road, in Kirkwood Missouri, 63122. Website is www.franciscansisters-olph.org. 100 Sisters minister in 14 states in education, healthcare, social services and parish ministry.

Felician Sisters, O.S.F.

  1. Congregation with general mother-house, Cracow, Austria. Founded in 1855 by Sophia Truszkowska at Warsaw, Russia. Introduced into the United States in 1874.
  2. Western Province of the Presentation B.V.M. Mother-house, Detroit, Michigan. Sisters, 273; novices, 30; postulants, 55; candidates in preparatory course, 65; schools, 33; pupils, 12,500; orphan asylum, 1.
  3. Eastern Province. Mother-house at Buffalo, New York, established 20 Aug., 1900. Choir Sisters, 278; novices, 32; postulants, 93; lay sisters, 66; novices, 6; postulants, 21; candidates in preparatory course, 73; schools, 55; pupils, 21,556; orphan asylums, 2; home for aged, 1; emigrant home, 1; working-girls' home, 1; day nursery, 1.
  4. North-western Province of the Presentation B. V. M. Mother-house, St. Joseph's Orphanage, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, established 1910. Sisters, 170; novices, 17; postulants, 27; schools, 24; pupils, 6482; orphan asylums, 3.

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes

  1. Mother-house, Rochester, Minnesota. Established 1877 by sisters of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. Sisters, 336; novices, 9; postulants, 16; academies, 5; normal school, 1; schools, 20; pupils, 5767; hospitals, 1; nurses' training school, 1.

Mixed congregations

Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis was a third order founded in 1996 by members of the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minnesota.

Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Prior to 1906, several communities of the Third Order existed in the United States, all lay institutes dedicated to teaching and other works of charity. Amongst these were three branches of Franciscan Brothers: at Brooklyn, New York; at Loretto, Pennsylvania; and at Spalding, Nebraska. The communities at Loretto and Brooklyn were founded more than half a century ago from Mount Bellew Monastery, Archdiocese of Tuam, Ireland; Spalding Institute was a branch of the Brooklyn community.

In 1905 Brother Linus Lynch, then superior of the institute, asked the ordinary of the diocese for permission to have some of his subjects ordained priests. This request the bishop refused, as the community had been introduced into the diocese for the care of parish schools, and he feared that in the event of its members becoming priests this work would suffer. A petition was then sent to the minister-general, Rt. Rev. Angelus de Mattia, asking for union with the third Order Regular; as this union could not be effected, some of the community determined to ask for a dispensation from their vows in order to enter the institute. In 1907 fifteen were dispensed; these, together with eleven novices, went to Spalding, Nebraska, where a small community of brothers had been united to the order in 1906. They were received by Very Rev. Dr. Stanislaus Dujmoric, commissary-general, and by dispensation of Pius X from the ordinary year of probation they made the vows of the order. A college was then opened at Spalding, giving the order its first house in the United States.

In 1908 the diocesan community of Franciscan Brothers at Loretto, Pennsylvania, were admitted to solemn profession, and eight young men were received into the novitiate.

In 1910-11 Rt. Rev. Eugene A. Garvey, D.D., Bishop of Altoona, requested the fathers to take charge of the Italian Church of St. Anthony of Padua at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Altoona, Pennsylvania. The four houses in the United States were erected into a province, 24 September, 1910, Very Rev. Dr. Jerome Zazzara being elected provincial. The Archbishop of Chicago later gave the fathers charge of Sts. Peter and Paul's Slavic Church in that city, and a new college was to be opened at Sioux City, Iowa, in 1912. The provincial mother-house is at St. Francis's College, Loretto, Pennsylvania. The American Province had five convents, two colleges, sixty-five professed members, and twenty novices and postulants.

The Third Order Secular of St. Francis

Established in the United States by the early Franciscan missionaries for the white settlers and soldiers and Indian converts, especially in the Southern and Southwestern states. A confraternity existed at Santa Fe long before 1680. Another confraternity existed in New Mexico almost from the time of the reconquest (1692-1695). The document stating this fact is a report of the Father custos, Jose Bernal, dated Santa Fe, 17 September, 1794. There is no documentary evidence of the existence of a Third Order for lay people as a regularly organized confraternity anywhere else, though we learn from documents that single individuals were termed tertiaries among the Indians. It is most probable, however, that a confraternity existed at St. Augustine, Florida, before the close of the sixteenth century, and at San Antonio, Texas, before the middle of the eighteenth century. The establishment of provinces of the order of Friars Minor brought about the establishment of many confraternities.

There were in the early 20th century 186 confraternities of Franciscan Tertiaries in the USA, with a membership of 35,605. Of these, 142 congregations with 27,805 members were under the direction of the Friars Minor, 32 with 6800 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Capuchin, and 12 congregations with 1000 members under the direction of the Friars Minor Conventual. Besides these, there were many hundreds of tertiaries throughout the US not belonging to any congregation.

Anglican order

The Society of St. Francis includes a sub-order of tertiaries, people who have taken vows and are followers of a version of the Franciscan Rule but do not live together in community.[5][6]

The Third Order, Society of St. Francis (TSSF), was founded in 1950. The TSSF consists of men and women, lay and ordained, married and single. It is divided into five provinces: Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Americas.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ See text in Tiraboschi, "Vetera humiliatorum monumenta", II, Milan, 1767, 128).
  2. ^ Such as Thomas of Celano, "Vita prima", I, 15; Julian of Speyer, "Office of St. Francis: Third Antiphon at Lauds"; Gregory IX, Bull of 7 June 1230 (Bull. Franc., I, 65); St. Bonaventure, "Leg. Maior", IV, 6; Bernard of Besse, in "Anal. Franc.", III, 686.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Franciscan Sisters of Allegany official website. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  5. ^ The Manual of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis; part 2: European Province. Wantage: Printed by St Mary's Press, 1975
  6. ^ Third Order, S.S.F., Chronicle: the journal of the European Province. Freeland, Oxon: printed by St Clare's Press. (2 issues a year)
  7. ^ The Third Order, Society of St. Francis, Province of the Americas

External links

Catholic

Anglican Communion


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