In 1205, Francis of Assisi was called by God to rebuild the Church. Early in his ministry, Francis recognized the need to include men and women from all walks of life within his movement of reform and renewal. The work of following Christ in humility, love and joy, believed Francis, could not be restricted to the traditional life of the Friars and Sisters. The lay Third Order was created by Francis some 800 years ago.
As members of the Third Order, we are neither wanna be nuns or friars, a pious guild nor a devotional society. We serve God as we are called, in the ordinary occupations of life. We do not live together in community, wear habits, or follow the rule of literal poverty that Francis chose for himself. We make a commitment to follow Francis in prayer and action by striving to be peacemakers, working for social justice, and deepening our relationship with God. We share Francis concerns for the well-being of the earth, the poor, and the marginalized.
Today, there are estimated to be over a half-million Franciscans worldwide in the various denominations of the Christian family. Anglican Franciscans are divided among five provinces worldwide. The Province of the Americas (which includes the United States, Central and South America, the West Indies and Guam) was founded in 1917.
The Three Aims of the Third Order:
To make our Lord known and loved everywhere.
By word and example, Tertiaries witness to Christ in their daily lives. By prayer and sacrifice, we help forward God work wherever He has called us.
To spread the spirit of fellowship.
By working happily with people of different races, colors, creeds, education and opportunity, Tertiaries seek to break down the divisions in the world. We try to live in the spirit of the St. Francis prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
To live simply.
Acknowledging that everything belongs to God, we seek to use His gifts wisely and to be good stewards of this fragile earth, never destroying or wasting what God has made. We provide the things necessary for ourselves and our families without demanding luxuries. We seek never to forget the needs of others.
For more information about the Third Order and our Franciscan Family, please visit the website of The Third Order Society of St. Francis Province of the Americas