The Third Order of Saint Francis, is a third order in the Franciscan order. The preaching of Francis of
wanted to join the First Order (friars) or the Second Order (nuns), but this being incompatible with their state
of life, Francis found a middle way and in 1221 gave them a rule according to the Franciscan charisma.
Those following this rule became members of the Franciscan Third Order, sometimes called tertiaries. It
includes religious congregations of men and women, known as Third Order Regulars; and fraternities of
men and women, Third Order Seculars. The latter do not wear a religious habit, take vows, or live in
community. However, they do gather together in community on a regular basis. "They make profession to
live out the Gospel life and commit themselves to that living out the Gospel according to the example of
In 1978, the Third Order of Saint Francis was reorganised and given a new Rule of Life by Pope Paul VI.
With the new rule, the name used by the Third Order Secular was changed to the Secular Franciscan Order
Secular Franciscan Order, also known as Brothers and Sisters of Penance.
During his lifetime, many married men and women and even clergy and hermits were drawn to the vision
of life offered by Francis, but due to their life commitments they were not able to enter the Friars Minor or
the Poor Clare's. For this reason, he founded a way of life to which married men and women, as well as
the single and the secular clergy, could belong and live according to the Gospel. According to the
traditions of the Order, the original Rule was given by St. Francis in 1221 to a married couple, Luchesius
Modestini and his wife, Buonadonna, who wished to follow him but did not feel called to separate as a
One of the results of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church during the 19th century was the
re-establishment of religious orders, including some of Franciscan inspiration. The principal Anglican
communities in the Franciscan tradition are the Community of St. Francis (women, founded 1905), the
Poor Clare's of Reparation (PCR), the Society of Saint Francis (men, founded 1934), the Community of St.
Clare (women, enclosed), and the Order of St. Francis (men, founded in 2003). There is also a Third Order
known as the Third Order Society of St Francis (TSSF).
There is also an order of Sisters of St. Clare in the Puget Sound area of Washington state (Diocese of
Olympia), the Little Sisters of St. Clare.
There are also some small Franciscan communities within European Protestantism and the Old Catholic
Church. There are some Franciscan orders in Lutheran Churches, including the Order of Lutheran
Franciscans, the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, and the Evangelische Kanaan Franziskus-Bruderschaft
(Kanaan Franciscan Brothers). In addition, there are associations of Franciscan inspiration not connected
with a mainstream Christian tradition and describing themselves as ecumenical or dispersed.
In July 2020, the Archbishop Eric Michel postulate to be a member of the Order of Lesser Sisters and
Brothers to Br.Thomas OSFM Franciscan Friar. (Please read The Roots other site)
The Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers is a dispersed ecumenical community of men and women
who seek to live out the Franciscan lifestyle. The Order of Lesser Sisters and Brothers is a dispersed
ecumenical Franciscan community similar to the older Third Order model under which most members
live their everyday life in the world. They may be male or female, married, partnered or single, clergy or
lay. There is no discrimination of any sort. (Note on OLSB)
Copyright EMMI TOSF Ministry.
individuals who have taken vows and
are followers of a version of the
Franciscan rule but do not normally
live together in community.
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. They do
not live together in community, wear
habits; and as many secular
Franciscans have family and work
responsibilities, they do not follow
the rule of literal poverty that Francis
chose for himself and his friars minor.
It is divided into five provinces: Africa,
Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and