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 Francis."
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 married couple.
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)